What has McNeil Engineering been up to so far this year? Part II

Project HighlightsWelcome back to Part II in our blog series looking at what we’ve been up to this year. We recently came out with our spring 2022 newsletter and we wanted to highlight some of our proudest projects to illustrate the scope and scale of our work.

1. North Union Landscape Architecture

Our overall objective for the North Union apartments was to create a unique, urban environment for residents and the public that plays off the design of the building but also fits the area. The intersection of 900 East and 7220 South is very heavily trafficked and loud. However, it’s also a major crossing point for students from the nearby high school.

After visiting the site and analyzing the area, we wanted to create a design that allows us to buffer the plaza area and creates small, more intimate gathering spaces and seating areas to be enjoyed by residents and the public. With this in mind, we designed custom black powder-coated steel planters in distinctive shapes that will be planted with our water-wise plant palette.

We designed the complex’s roof deck to be functional for a variety of uses. Black steel planters and cast-in-place concert planters and seat walls, create private seating areas and social gathering spaces with BBQs and inviting spaces to hang out. Native plant material was used for low water usage and for a natural vibe that will be able to sustainable during the heat of summer.

Our design team worked with the developer and architect to include many amenities as possible in the project such as walking paths, interesting seating areas, a zen rooftop pool, and a dog park. Huge shoutout to Scott Schoonover, landscape architect manager on this project.

2. Post Malone Home

As more information is publicly released, we’re happy to share that we had the opportunity to work in-depth on Post Malone’s new home. It was an incredible project, read more below!

The original home was constructed in 1986. The existing construction was primarily of timber framing on a concrete foundation. The new owner wanted to convert the existing living space into a sound studio. The first task was to take out one elevation of the original seismic resisting exterior walls and extend the rear of the home by approximately 30 feet. The new exterior consisted of all glass with no walls so special seismic-resistant moment frames were used to resist the seismic forces. The original design of the structure’s interior had gravity resisting bearing walls. These walls were taken out and replaced with steel beams and steel posts.

The house was constructed on a hillside lot. On the uphill side of the lot, a new cast-in-place underground concrete basement area was designed with a concrete tunnel connecting the main existing house with the new basement. Several tall cantilever concrete walls were constructed on the site to extend the flat areas of the lot for the new construction of a pool house with a new pool. Also on the site is a two-story partially buried 12-car garage with a recreational deck as a roof. Being partially buried, the garage walls were as much as 2’-6” at the base.

McNeil Engineering performed the structural design for the approximately 3000 sq. ft pool house. Constructed of timber framing members and concrete walls, the structure was built on a mat slab foundation to help minimize differential settlement. The pool house has rooms for sleeping and entertaining, including a “man-cave,” which also stores the pool equipment. Some of the most interesting features of this structure are walls that rotate upward so as to give full, open-end access to the pool deck.

McNeil Engineering also performed the structural design for a two-story concrete garage. The rear wall of the garage retains the uphill soil and boulders to carve out a portion of the mountainside for storage and display of the client’s vehicles. A steel-framed second-story open rail mezzanine allows full views of the cars below (or at eye level) thanks to a multi-car lift in the garage. We have to give a shout-out to Matt Roblez, our structural engineer on the project!

We hope you have enjoyed this look back at some of our important and notable projects this year. We would like to end this series of blog posts with a note from our president:

As we approach the 40-year mark of being in business in Utah and the Intermountain Region, I know I speak for our entire team at McNeil Engineering when I say thank you! Reflecting on experiences over my 27 years at McNeil Engineering, it has been truly enriching. From a small team of engineers and a survey crew to the full-service firm that we have become today. We do not take that growth for granted and it wouldn’t be possible without our friends and colleagues. Please enjoy this Spring issue of our quarterly newsletter and know that we appreciate your business and your friendship. Here’s to many more years of working together to help make Utah great!

Mike Hoffman
President


What has McNeil Engineering been up to so far this year? Part I

McNeil Recent WorkWelcome to a look at some of our big jobs from the former part of 2022. We wanted to take a moment to highlight our recent work so you can get a better idea of our capabilities.

1. Larkin Cemetery

For more than 20 years our team has had a great relationship with the Larkin family and their incredible team at Larkin Mortuary. The scope of our work includes civil engineering projects, helping lay the foundation for their current headquarters as well as surveying their properties to prepare for future growth.

Led by Surveying Department Manager Mike Hoffman, our team has been involved in surveying and mapping both Larkin Cemetery locations using state-of-the-art technology to help them transition to a new cemetery management software system.

Through the use of drones and ultra-high-resolution cameras, our team was able to provide them with sophisticated imagery including a complete point cloud image of both locations. We sent both to Dan Cable and the team at EDA Land Planning, a firm acting as their go-to landscape architect overseeing our cemetery development.

This information allows their team to ensure accuracy and precision when taking inventory of their current land assets. Plus, it helps them plan for the future with confidence. We look forward to continuing to work with the team at Larkin Mortuary, it’s always a pleasure. Big thanks to Michael D. Hoffman for acting as survey manager on this important project!

2. Draper Innovation

No matter how many roofing or paving projects we manage, it’s never lost on our team how different each project is, and how important it is to keep a keen eye for small details to ensure that each project is successful and that their roofs and parking lots are built to last!

The Draper Innovation Center is no exception to that rule. Across a large lot, this multi-structure complex is an exciting new addition to the area that is nearing completion with one building finished and the other expected to be complete this summer.

As part of our responsibilities as the consultant and project manager our team reviewed plans and specifications for the owner and commented on what details needed to be revised and issues that could be avoided before construction started. We also reviewed material submittals and shop drawings to make sure they lined up with the plans and specifications and took our findings to preconstruction meetings for both buildings to review with the contractor while verifying his material submittals, shop drawings, and construction schedule. Throughout this process, our team worked closely with the general contractor to ensure that there were no conflicts with other trades.

For the duration of the project, our team observes the roofing production twice a week to make sure that the roof is being installed as per the plans and specifications and sends a report with photos to the owner. We also work with the roofing contractor on any field changes that need to be made. Once the project is finished our team will perform the final inspection with the manufacturer and send out a punch list to the roofing contractor with any final adjustments. As part of this process, we verify that owner receives the final warranty documentation. Big thanks to Carl Greene, consulting manager on the project.

3. North Union

In coordination with our very own Structural Engineering, Landscape Architecture, and Surveying departments, our Civil Engineering team had the pleasure of working on the exciting new North Union Apartments project! It really was a blast working in-house across so many departments and disciplines to bring this awesome complex to life which is now entering the final stages of construction.

The key responsibilities of our Civil Engineering team were fairly standard for this type of project as we coordinated with the architects to locate the building on-site and designed all new utility services.

The project was designed to meet city ordinances which are always changing, as well as the new state stormwater codes to recharge our aquifers during an increasingly difficult period of drought for our state! As part of the parking structure, surface improvements were designed to access two separate levels of parking to alleviate congestion at the parking garage entries which is an awesome and welcome change for future residents and helps avoid the traditional hang-up of trying to find somewhere to park at your apartment!

As we see the Draper area and really the entire Salt Lake Valley continues to grow, we’re excited to have a part in preparing the structures and laying the groundwork for future communities! Thank you to Robert Poirier, civil engineering manager on this project!

We hope you have enjoyed this look back at some of our big projects of the year (so far). Join us in our next blog post as we finish out our look at a couple more projects and feature an employee spotlight!


Top innovations in structural engineering

Structural EngineeringStructural engineers working today have access to some pretty incredible tools. Innovation in structural engineering is changing the way the practice gets done. From computer science to robotics and smart materials, structural engineering is changing. Recent innovations in the field are solving some big challenges facing the discipline. Some of these innovations are in the fields of safety, sustainability, and intricate structural design techniques. Let’s take a look at some of the top advances in structural engineering.

1. Modular Engineering

We are moving away from the days when building a home or commercial building required lots of manpower and traditional methodologies. Why? Because prefabricated building materials provide a number of advantages over traditional structures. Not only do prefab structures create less waste, but they also go up quicker and require far less manpower and complexity.

Generally, prefab modules are constructed off-site and then transported to the job site. Once there, they are unloaded and then assembled into a finished structure. This happens in a fraction of the amount of time it would take to assemble a structure the traditional way.

Modular engineering can also allow for better build quality. This may seem counterintuitive, but prefab OEMs are building each piece in a controlled environment with advanced tools and technologies. This allows them to harness the power of advanced materials and technologies to build better buildings.

2. Advanced Safety Technologies

The construction sector remains one of the most dangerous employment sectors in the United States. Whether it be due to heights, high-voltage cable, heavy machinery, or otherwise – these all represent safety risks for engineers and construction workers. Fortunately, new safety technologies are changing this paradigm.

One example is in the area of wearable devices, which can track workers and deliver real-time health and safety information. Smart backup systems and RFID tags can be used to detect workers who may be in the path of construction machinery. And virtual and augmented reality training programs provide new ways for engineers and construction workers to do their jobs.

Advanced safety technologies are also interoperable with more traditional safety systems and designs. From fences to body harnesses, helmets, gloves, and more – new safety technologies are designed to work seamlessly with legacy systems and materials.

3. Drone Technologies

It’s no secret that drones are being used to change the way a lot of industries work. And the construction sector is no exception. A growing number of construction and engineering firms now use drones to survey construction sites. But they use them for more than just surveying before, during, and after the building process.

Drone mapping services allow a highly detailed and accurate view of a job site. Drones can gather all types of information, from elevation levels to earthworks and building foundations. Drones can also be used to conduct structural inspections during and after the construction process is completed. Structural engineers can use drones for tasks that might be difficult for a human crew to perform.

Drones also free up workers for other tasks. Inspectors can use them to spot dangerous aspects of the job site, from the risk of exposure to toxic elements or instability in structures. Drones are no longer a surprise to construction professionals and engineers.

4. Digital Simulation Technologies

Digital engineering provides engineers with new ways to simulate job sites and structural designs. Digital engineering technology is more effective and allows for advanced prototyping of structures. Digital simulation tools allow structural engineers to simulate the structural integrity of a building before the first shovel hits the dirt.

Digital simulation tools of this type also allow engineers to keep aesthetics in mind even as they pay close attention to the structure’s potential structural integrity. The use of design software helps engineers identify the main structural members. In turn, they can use more detailed digital processing to assess the building’s final look and structural performance.

Simulation tools like these are becoming ever more important as buildings become more complex. Intricate structures built with novel new materials can be planned out digitally and evaluated with advanced simulation methods.

5. 3D Printing

If there is one technology that has upended the way many different industries build products and structures, it is 3D printing. Additive manufacturing, as it is called, can be used to build entire structures. Using 3D printing significantly reduces the amount of labor required on a project.

Additive manufacturing is also great for creating components that otherwise would be difficult to manufacture with traditional methods. Advanced 3D printing machines can build structures using all sorts of materials, from steel to composite materials. This kind of flexibility gives designers and engineers more flexibility in their designs.

Here at McNeil Engineering, we stand at the forefront of engineering technology and design. For more information on how we can help you with your next big project, get in touch with us today!


A comprehensive look at what we do at McNeil Engineering

McNeil Engineering BusinessHere at McNeil Engineering, we’re proud to have more than 30 years of experience doing what we do. But what exactly is it that we do? Sure, we are engineers, but we also offer a wide array of services to clients of many different types and sizes. From large companies to municipalities, we’re a trusted partner in Utah and beyond.

In short, we provide comprehensive design services including civil engineering, structural engineering, land surveying, high-definition scanning (HDS), landscape architecture and consulting services to the private and public sectors. Today, we’re going to dig deeper into each of those services to properly explain exactly what it is we do and how we do it. Let’s start with our bread and butter: civil engineering.

1. Civil Engineering

Civil engineering represents the design and construction of public works projects. These could include dams, bridges, roadways, tunnels, and other large infrastructure projects. Civil engineering is one of the oldest branches of engineering. Civil engineers were there back when the Roman Coliseum was created, even if they weren’t called that at the time.

Civil engineers are involved in every process of making permanent settlements livable. Whether it be for waste disposal, irrigation ditches, clean water, or otherwise — civil engineers have a hand in all of it. Civil engineers have been involved in some of the greatest projects of the modern era, from the Panama Canal to Hoover Dam.

2. Structural Engineering

Structural engineering is related to civil engineering in that it is a specialty that deals in various aspects of structure building and demolition. Structural engineers focus on:

  • Research
  • Planning
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Inspection
  • Evaluation
  • Monitoring
  • Maintenance

Structural engineers also evaluate the various technical, environmental, and aesthetic aspects of the projects they work on. Structural engineers are responsible for ensuring whatever is being constructed doesn’t collapse or sustain damage in the event of a natural disaster. They specialize in evaluating structural loads, materials, components, and connections involved in a structure. In the end, it’s their job to properly plan the construction sequence the rest of the team carries out. They also prepare plans and drawings to ensure specifications are up to code.

3. Land Surveying

Do you ever notice people on the road looking through those strange tripod-type devices. We’ll give you a hint— those aren’t telescopes. These individuals are land surveyors. A land surveyor’s job is to determine the terrestrial and three-dimensional positions of points and distances and the angles between them. This process is mainly used to establish maps and boundaries for a construction project.

Land surveyors use physics, mathematics, engineering, and local laws to establish boundaries on a construction project. They also use various types of equipment to do their job, much like the aforementioned tripod-like device. These types of equipment include robotic total stations, prisms, GPS receivers, radios, 3D scanners, and other types of surveying software used on handheld tablets and computers. Land surveying is a critical aspect of any development process as a construction project is being planned.

5. High-Definition Scanning

High-definition surveying or HDS laser scanning is a method of mapping positional data on a job site. Laser scanning represents one of the most efficient and accurate ways to survey a project. Not only does it provide a lot more data than older survey methods, but it requires a lot less manpower to complete.

The HDS laser scanning process uses a rotating laser to measure millions of points around a job site. Advanced software and — in some cases — machine learning, is used to produce a highly accurate 3D representation of the conditions and measurements of a project site. The HDS operator will place the laser at a series of locations around the site and then let the device do its job. Laser scanning also provides accurate positional data regarding existing topography and structures.

6. Landscape Architecture

As we have discussed before, landscaping and landscape architecture are two totally different things. Landscape architecture is essentially the science and art of design, planning, management and stewardship of land or a particular project. Successful landscape architecture utilizes scientific knowledge, environmental know-how, and a concern for resource conservation.

Landscape architecture covers projects both large and small. But it’s also used in the design and management of public spaces. Landscape architects play a specific role in designing the landscape around a particular project. They play a complementary role to the landscape contractor and others involved in project installation.

7. Consulting Services

Are you a large company, contractor, or construction firm planning a big project? We have been proudly serving the Salt Lake City area and beyond for many decades. We are available to consult on your construction project and provide comprehensive advice and planning in all the services listed above. Learn more about the projects we have completed in the past and then give us a call. Let’s work together!


A wide range of engineering services

Engineering ServicesHere at McNeil Engineering, we provide comprehensive design services that include civil engineering, structural engineering, land surveying, high-definition scanning (HDS), landscape architecture and consulting services to the private and public sectors. We also offer consulting services for cities, urban designers, urban planners, and others in the Utah construction market. With so much on offer, we figured now would be a good time to go into greater detail regarding our services and what they entail.

Civil Engineering in Utah and other states

Let’s start with the core of what we do. We are civil engineers first and foremost. But what exactly is it that civil engineers do? Well, in short, civil engineers work closely with others in the construction industry, from architects to contractors, to ensure construction projects progress as they should. Many of their tasks include site surveying ground condition tests, inventory, and materials and equipment maintenance and support. Civil engineers are also responsible for coming up with solutions that take the weather and other geologic factors into account.

Structural Engineering for Long-Lasting Projects

Structural engineering of the type we do fits specifically into the wheelhouse of civil engineering. Structural engineering in this context focuses mainly on the framework of a structure. Engineers design the structures to ensure they can withstand whatever stresses or pressures they may encounter in their environment. The key for structural engineers on projects like ours is to ensure that the buildings and structures we work on remain safe, reliable, and secure at all times.

Land Surveying Where You Need It

Another big part of what we do is land surveying. It’s a critical part of any construction project. There are different types of land surveying, but civil engineers utilize this technique in specific ways. Surveying in civil engineering represents the collection and analysis of specific data regarding the land under survey. Specific measurements of the horizontal and vertical lengths between points will also be recorded. Details will be documented regarding specific aspects of the land, such as size, shape, formation, and soil. Quality and accurate land surveys can set the foundation for a successful project.

Landscape Architecture for Beautiful Grounds

Another important aspect of what we do includes landscape architecture. Put simply, landscape architecture is described as designing specific outdoor spaces that integrate well within an overall project. In our case, we design large landscape architecture projects, such as those for green spaces, a town square, municipal playground, and so much more. Keep in mind there are significant differences between landscape architecture and landscape design. Landscape architects have a degree and they generally work on larger public works projects, whereas a landscape designer often works on residential and smaller-scale projects. Landscape architects are experts in their field.

Consultation Services for Companies Who Need an Expert

We also provide a wide range of consulting services to companies that require a committed and knowledgeable professional to help them with their engineering needs. These are often companies that do not have the in-house expertise they need to get the job done successfully. Our consulting civil engineers advise our clients on the design, development, and construction of projects of all shapes and sizes. We pride ourselves on offering consulting services that ensure safe, efficient, and fully resourced project completion. When you need a consultant you can count on McNeil Engineering.

Other Services We Offer

Now that you’ve learned more about the human aspect of our resources, take a few minutes to learn about some of the other services we offer. We provide a wide range of engineering, surveying, and consulting services. But these services would not be nearly as effective were not for our technologies. We use the latest technologies suitable for engineering projects.

One such example is laser scanning. 3D laser scanning has become an industry norm. Advancements in hardware, software, and workflows have made laser scanning a viable option for projects of all sizes. Laser scanning allows our surveyors to collect tremendous amounts of precise data at high speeds. We use the most advanced, high-definition laser scanners, total stations, and modeling and point cloud software to provide comprehensive, record surveys, 3D CAD models and detailed 2D isometric drawings.

We also have extensive expertise in BIM 3D modeling. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is essentially a technological solution that allows engineers to view a digital representation of a building as well as specific characteristics of its functionality. BIM is a model-based process that provides insight to help you plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

And guess what? That’s not all. If you need consulting services for roofing, paving, and even construction administration, we have the people and experience you need to ensure the job gets done right the first time, every time. We invite you to take a moment to peruse the various projects we have completed in Utah and around the country. Let’s work together!


McNeil’s different types of engineers

Engineer TypesAs our name, McNeil Engineering, suggests, we specialize in engineering and are proud to have a well-rounded staff of specialized engineers for all different types of projects. That being said, we realize that people in need of an engineer’s professional assistance for a project might not immediately understand what kind of engineer the best fit for the job would be!

Of course, any potential client of McNeil can always contact us for more information on what kinds of engineering services we offer. However, we also thought it might be useful to potential clients to understand a little bit more about a few types of engineering we have staff specializing in, what the differences are between them, and what type of projects each type may accompany best!

Of course, there is quite a bit of overlap between these specializations, but there are key differences that mean more than you might think! So, without further ado, read on for 3 different examples of special engineering that McNeal is proud to offer.

1. Civil Engineering

Let’s begin with civil engineering, because it is probably the most well-known and commonly used term out of this list! This is because “civil engineering” is often used as an umbrella term for any commercial engineering project that has to do with infrastructure. This is not entirely accurate, though it is based in truth. Civil engineers have their own specialized place in projects. So, what is that place, and what does a civil engineer do? Civil engineers have the incredibly important and sometimes daunting task of evaluating a construction project or plan in terms of how effective it will be in relation to the area surrounding it.

Civil engineering often has to do with transportation. For example, imagine a small coffee shop in a big city quickly gains popularity and has the means to open a new location. A civil engineer’s touch on the plan can make that coffee shop’s second location a step towards a booming franchise. In this scenario, it would be a civil engineer’s job to do research to optimize the location of the new shop by, say, a high commute traffic area where people might like to stop for a coffee before work? Also, a civil engineer would make sure that the location is optimized or everything important to a coffee shop, like Wi-Fi, water, and electrical reliability. This coffee shop example is just a small example to show what kinds of jobs civil engineers are responsible for. Often, they are tasked with much more pressing tasks like new roads, airports, housing and apartment complexes and much, much more.

2. Structural Engineering

Structural engineering does have a lot of overlap with civil engineering when it comes to what kinds of projects they can work on, however a structural engineer has an equally important but very different focus. While a civil engineer’s job is to optimize and plan a project like a building, for example, the structural engineer’s job is to make sure that building stays standing. Civil engineers are mostly involved in the planning stages of a project. Structural engineers are absolutely involved in the planning of projects because they are experts in planning a project to be structurally sound before construction even starts. Structural engineers are often sent plans for projects after they are mostly finished to be evaluated for potential structural issues. One of a structural engineer’s most important jobs, however, is to be present at a construction site to make sure that the construction is going to plan structurally to, again, make sure that once that building or structure goes up, it stays up.

3. BIM engineers

AT McNeil we are proud to employ skilled and trained BIM engineers. We truly believe that BIM is revolutionizing the infrastructure and engineering industries and we are so excited to have the latest in BIM technology. For the uninformed, BIM stands for “business information modeling” which is, basically, the process of digitally planning a project in full before beginning construction. This involves much more than just written planning. BIM engineers are experts in BIM software and can fully digitally model projects before ground is even broken. These #D models and plans can then be evaluation by either or preferably both the aforementioned types of engineers to make sure that a project is ready to begin construction. This process minimizes any mistakes made during the construction process. At McNeil we specialize in BIM because we want your project to go as smoothly as possible!

If you are part of a company or organization that is planning a project that could benefit from this kind of assistance, or if you are looking to learn more about our services, please contact us here:

McNeil Engineering Direct Contacts | Our Team of Engineers in SLC Utah

We hope now you understand a little better the differences between the types of engineers we employ!


McNeil Engineering builds long-lasting client relationships

Client RelationshipsAt McNeil Engineering, we’re always in search of new projects, but we also like to make sure that our clients know that we are available to them after the completion of their first project. We like to build lasting relationships with the people and companies that hire us for any of our services, including structural engineering, civil engineering, landscape architecture, building information modeling, laser scanning, and roofing consultation.

A firm foundation of trust

A wonderful example of a landscaping architecture client we have a close relationship with is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We have been the prime consultant on new church constructions for the LDS Church all over the western United States. We built their trust by creating award-winning drought-tolerant designs for their churches in desert areas so that their members can see their home churches as comfortable and safe places to be. Because of this, they now continue to trust us to work on new designs for them, and we hope to continue to fulfill their engineering and consulting needs for a long time.

Helping craft first impressions

Another example of a long-term client is Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. We started our relationship with them by being contracted to help redesign the entrance to the Student Services Center, which is the first part of WSU that potential students encounter We created an open, welcoming design that gave students a glimpse of how comfortable and homey WSU could be, and the success that they could have there. Since then, we have been working with WSU throughout the years to redesign most of their campus to present themselves to students visibly as the wonderful university they are.

A partner you can trust

If you’re an architect or a developer, or if you own a business, we at MeNeil want to build a close professional relationship with you, because we believe that is the best way that we can help you make your structural and architectural plans come alive and have your building (or whatever structure we’re helping you with) help to present the intended message. We want to take whatever you have in mind and use our expertise to help make it safe, structurally sound, environmentally friendly, and beautiful.

At McNeil Engineering we also specialize in building information modeling, which means that we have the best technology to be able to help you plan and visualize your project before it is constructed. This helps to minimize having to make expensive corrections once construction has started. Building Information Modeling is one of the reasons we like to keep clients long-term because once you work on a project assisted by BIM, we think you’ll want to keep using it.

Getting to know each other

Of course, another reason we like to make ourselves available as long-term partners to our clients is that the longer we work with a client or corporation, the better we can understand them. The more projects we assist you with, the better we understand your goals, mission, and preferred aesthetic. And, as we get to know you better, you get to know us better as well, and we hope that makes you feel at ease and comfortable trusting us to help with your projects. Building professional relationships is important to us because we know how difficult it can be to get into the groove of working with someone new, especially when you’re passionate about the project at hand. Architects, we know your designs are like your children, and you would probably rather leave your child with a babysitter you know than a random one you found on Facebook!

Bringing your vision to life

Basically, if you’re in need of landscape architecture or civil and structural engineers for a project, we would like you to know that we’ll do our very best to help you bring your vision to life, whether you plan to only have us help with one project, or you plan to work with us indefinitely. However, we hope we can show you that if you have long-term design goals, we can absolutely be a long-term asset to each of them.

Ultimately, at McNeil Engineering, our clients are our top priority, and we want to be able to do the best work for them we possibly can. We want to be an asset in creating beautiful spaces and growing infrastructure in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, safe, structurally sound long-term, and respectful to the natural landscape. If that resonates with you, that already gives us a head-start on understanding each other, and we can only grow together from here.

If you’re interested in viewing some of the designs we’ve created for long-term clients, please feel free to check out the Landscape Architecture Projects page on our website here. We welcome your questions and inquiries.


History’s most famous structural engineers

When we think of the incredible engineering feats of the world, we often think of mighty dams, towering buildings and expansive bridges. These images may also concur with architects who drew up these plans or the brave construction workers who risked their lives during the building. ut we sometimes forget about the unsung heroes of the projects — the structural engineers.

What is a structural engineer?

Structural Engineering is a specialty within Civil Engineering. These professionals are responsible for several critical aspects of projects.

They’re designers. They’re the individuals who design strong, supportive, and stable buildings to withstand natural elements like wind and storms.

They’re also safety experts. They make sure buildings are safe for everyday use and withstand the worst elements like hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes.

And they’re problem solvers. They’re tasked with using everything from basic math calculations to cutting-edge tech.

In fact, the term engineering comes from the Latin words “Ingenium” meaning cleverness and “ingeniare” meaning to devise.

They create drawings and specifications, perform calculations, write reports and evaluations, and observe construction sites. They work on the most beautiful, awe-inspiring architecture problems, bridges, skyscrapers, homes, artwork and even rollercoasters.

Their work is so varied they may be tasked with making sure a bridge can support hundreds of tons of steel and ensuring a dance floor doesn’t vibrate when people jump on it.

For centuries these experts have used a combination of creativity and design and intelligence to solve problems.

You may know some of their work, but do you know the most famous structural engineers of all time? We want to highlight a few of the most impactful structural engineers of the last century. Without them, our most iconic structures would not be possible.

Holmer Malcolm

You may not have heard of Holmer Malcolm. But you’ve seen his greatest creation— the Empire State Building.

This iconic Manhattan structure is 102 stories and 1,250 feet tall, making it one of the world’s tallest buildings for over 40 years. It uses more than 200,000 cubic feet of limestone and granite.

This impressive feat would not be possible without Malcolm. Malcolm designed the building during the early 20th century. Malcolm was called a genius after taking just over one year to build. It was hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World during its 1931 debut and became one of the most recognizable skyscrapers in the world.

The structure also put New York on the map within the structural engineer community, proving engineers in the city were daring and imaginative.

Malcolm’s design advanced several innovative design concepts during his building design. For example, he made tall buildings stable and safe when exposed to lateral forces. He also began an expert in wind stresses on high-rises, designing unique foundations that eliminated vibrations in structures.

Today, many of his methods are still considered design and engineering standards.

Peter Rice

In Peter Rice’s obituary, author Jonathan Glancey wrote, “Rice was, perhaps, the James Joyce of structural engineering.”

Some called Rice one of the most imaginative and gifted structural engineers of the 20th century. He was known for his adventurous designs and ingenious buildings.

Rice combined geometry, analysis, and a computer program for the Sydney Opera House roof for his first project.

The Sydney Opera House is instantly recognizable. Considered a masterpiece of architecture, it uses unique and unparalleled design and cutting-edge architectural and technological achievements.

As a gifted mathematician, Rice did most of the geometrical work for the roof. Rice took over the project when his partner, Ian MacKenzie, fell ill. He went on to work with the well-known engineering firm Ove Arup who used his intellectual insight and boundary-pushing ideas for numerous architectural projects.

Gustave Eiffel

You can probably guess Gustave Eiffel’s most famous creation. But, of course, he was the engineer who designed and oversaw construction on the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable and beloved feats of architecture. It combines strength and airy lightness.

Even 125 years after its development, it stands as a symbol of structural engineering. During its construction, it pushed architectural and structural boundaries. It’s twice as tall as the Great Pyramid in Egypt. Its design created and symbolized advancement in the engineering industry, developed new construction materials and techniques and helped cement better structural engineering knowledge and experience.

Today, it is one of the most-visited places in the world.

Eiffel was responsible for advancing these ideas. He was known for engineering the sound support frame structure. He used the same idea to create the Statue of Liberty and the iron framing for the Notre Dame cathedral. His goal was to build simultaneously lighter, cheaper, and stronger structures.

Ready to start your own structural engineering project?

Our expert structural engineering staff, backed by many years of experience, are uniquely qualified to offer specialized expertise in the planning, designing, and constructing structures for buildings and civil works projects.

We analyze and design specialized structures and solve structural and foundation problems. We provide an unprecedented level of professionalism, understanding of the construction process and a commitment to quality. This gives our clients the most efficient, economical and safe structures.

We provide design services for structures involving low to mid-rise commercial, institutional, medical, residential and governmental buildings. Visit our website to learn more about our work: https://mcneilengineering.com


Structural Engineering Feats: Rush Street Restaurant and Sugarhouse Crossing

Structural Engineering Feats: Rush Street Restaurant and Sugarhouse CrossingEngineer: Someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.

Jokes aside, we know probably more than anyone that engineering can feel complex. (After all, it’s what we live and breathe every single day.) For those who don’t work in the engineering world, it might seem a little confusing that engineering isn’t a one-size-fits-all industry. In fact, numerous disciplines fall under the engineering umbrella – civil, mining, mechanical, biomechanical, electrical, landscape – and they are all different. The stark truth for businesses that need to contract an engineering firm is that hiring the right kind of engineer with the right experience and level of licensure is the key to a successful project. You wouldn’t want a biomechanical engineer designing and overseeing the plans for your school, apartment complex or hospital, right?

Of course, the complexities don’t stop there. Even within each engineering discipline, there are specialties and advanced licensures that are important to understand. We want to make things simple for you, so today we want to focus on just one sub-specialty – Structural Engineering.

What is Structural Engineering?

Structural engineering is a specialty within the civil engineering field. Where a civil engineer has the education, certifications and experience to plan, design, construct, maintain and operate infrastructure, structural engineers take things a step further. Structural engineers must have several years of professional experience post-graduation and are required to take and pass the Professional Engineer’s license test in order to practice. In many states, a specific Structural Engineer’s license is also required.

This engineering specialty “focuses on the framework of structures, and on designing those structures to withstand the stresses and pressures of their environment and remain safe, stable and secure throughout their use.” LiveScience.com

Basically, while we tend to take simple things, like buildings and bridges not collapsing, for granted, the truth is every single day we have structural engineers to thank for the integrity of the infrastructure around us.

Structural Engineering at McNeil Engineering

Now that you have a basic understanding of structural engineering, you have a little more insight into how critical it can be for your project. The good news is, at McNeil Engineering, we are professionals in this arena.

Along with our sterling architectural engineering consultation services, we are also more than qualified to provide stakeholders and their various properties with structural engineering consultation services as well.

Rather than just tell you about what we can do, we’d love to show you by taking a look at two of our past projects: The Rush Street Restaurant in Los Angeles, California, and Sugarhouse Crossing in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Rush Street Restaurant in Los Angeles

The Rush Street Restaurant project in LA involved the conversion of a 75-year-old sign/welding shop into a high-end restaurant. We were able to investigate the site in order to determine the existing building’s structural elements – along with carrying out a seismic structural analysis of the 75-year-old un-reinforced masonry structure. It was a challenging project with a limited budget and due to a change in occupancy, the entire structure had to be retrofitted to meet building codes. We performed these while staying in compliance with various municipal requirements.

Sugarhouse Crossing in Salt Lake City

As for the Sugarhouse Crossing project in Salt Lake City, Utah – this mixed-use structure has three levels of below-grade parking, one level at grade commercial with 5 levels of apartments (200 in total).
The design team here at McNeil Engineering used CAD software (Revit) – in order to create a usable analytic model for complete Building Information Modeling (BIM).
This Sugarhouse Crossing project was thus constructed with post-tensioned floors for the parking structure and commercial areas with concrete walls and columns and 2x timber walls with plywood web joists for the upper floors and prefabricated trusses for the roof structure.

Are you looking for Structural Engineering Consultation Services?

Of course, these are just two examples of projects we’ve been privileged to be part of. Want to see more? Click here.

If you are seeking structural engineering consultation services, McNeil Engineering has you covered! While it is true, we are regionally famous within the western United States as architectural engineering consultation experts, this is far from the only consultation service we are currently able to provide.

We would be happy to sit down and discuss your structural engineering needs. This is in addition to any development, redevelopment, and/or civil engineering projects you and/or your various properties require as well. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to us, and then sit back and relax in the comfort and confidence of knowing that your group’s various properties are in good hands.


The Eiffel Tower: A 19th-century feat of structural engineering

If you’ve ever traveled to Paris, chances are good you’ve visited the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is still an impressive feat of engineering, even more than 130 years after its inauguration. But what you might not know about this landmark is that it became famous even before its opening.

Erected in 1889 on Champs de Mars in Paris for the Fourth World Exposition, this technical advancement became synonymous with the city of Paris, France at large, and what can happen when humans dream bigger than they have before. People, for centuries, had attempted to build structures taller than the Great Pyramid in Giza. It was thought impossible until the Eiffel Tower stood twice as tall as these ancient ruins.

A first of its kind

Fast forward to today. It’s the most visited monument in the world. Yes, you read that right! More than six million people make the trek to the Parisian park to see this amazing structure in all its glory. As a result, the tower, the subject of much debate and discussion during its planning and construction, is now among the world’s most prominent monuments.

You might ask yourself why this tower is so popular. While it is easy to understand its appeal, it’s perhaps more challenging to explain its modern appeal due to its novelty alone. Since its completion, we have erected structures that are larger in size and scope as a global society. Many experts will tell you that it’s more than the sum of its parts. In addition to its architectural prowess, the Eiffel Tower represents a masterpiece of imagination of human effort.

An engineering marvel

Let’s dive deeper. Eiffel’s design office required more than 5,000 drawings for the tower and its 18,038 elements. Builders used more than 7,000 tons of wrought iron connected by 2.5 million rivets.

Consider the complexities associated with horse-drawn carts transporting pre-assembled parts of the structure from the company workshop near Paris to the site. More than 100 workers came on the site to offer technical support, and another 300 in the workshop had a hand in fabrication and erection.

The construction started on January 28, 1887, and was completed in only two years on March 31, 1889. At its debut, the tower clocked in at 300.65 meters (986 feet). The tower’s base is square, 125 meters (410 feet) per side. In 1957, an antenna was added, bringing the total height to 320.75 meters (1,052 feet). In 2000, the tower’s height reached 324 meters (1,063 feet) upon the installation of another antenna.

A symbolic and practical structure

But beyond being an aesthetic force, it seems Gustave Eiffel was well aware of the implications of his architectural contributions.

“It would symbolize not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living, and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the Revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France’s gratitude,” Eiffel said.

Eiffel also took a pragmatic view of this project, encouraging multiple uses of the tower beyond mere entertainment. For instance, he was personally interested in using it to study wind forces and velocity as well as meteorological observations. On a related note, there’s no danger of the tower being damaged by high winds since it’s designed to withstand movements easily five times beyond those produced by the highest winds documented. Today, the movements are monitored by a system.

Another fact: The tower leans very slightly in bright sunlight, as one side is heated by the sun and expands slightly. Over the years, the tower has been used for transmitting radio signals and used more recently for television broadcasting.

More than a century later, the Eiffel Tower still takes our breath away. Why? The design in and of itself captivates the human spirit. Its elegant and slender form simultaneously evokes a feeling of strength and stability, almost a contradiction. This combination is a characteristic of the few truly great structures in the world, and the Eiffel Tower definitely warrants a spot at the top of this special list. As it straddles the past, present and future, we as structural engineers continue to be inspired by its magnitude.

Structural engineering is our bread and butter at McNeil Engineering. We may be biased but we believe the roles of structural engineering and structural engineers cannot be overstated in the 21st century. Ultimately, structural engineers help ensure that all the buildings and structures we see around are safe to use. Whether constructing a world-famous monument like the Eiffel Tower or a government building, safety is always at the front and center of our profession.

Feel free to reach out to us here for more information. We look forward to working with you on your next project. (801) 225-7700