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:

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.”

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

What are beams and columns in structural engineering?

structural engineeringFrom the ancient Pyramids of Giza to modern-day Borj Khalifa, we have accomplished several civil engineering feats in our relatively short history. But when you think about it, this progress hinges on our ability to understand structural mechanisms.

You see, everything civil engineering you can think of – from huts to skyscrapers and bridges – all require structural elements to keep them standing.

Beams and columns are two such important structural elements, and they’ve been used for thousands of years. They play an important role in creating a safe load path to transfer the weight and forces acting on a structure to the foundation and into the ground.

In this article, we delve deeper into what they’re all about.


Beams are horizontal structural elements that withstand vertical loads, shear forces, and bending moments. Beams transfer loads imposed along their horizontal length to endpoints, such as columns, walls, and foundations.

To give you a concrete example, let’s examine a bridge. During the construction of a bridge, giant structural elements are erected into the floor. These structural elements are referred to as columns – but more on that later.

Then, long horizontal elements (typically made of reinforced concrete or steel) are placed between the ends of the columns. These horizontal elements are referred to as beams. In the case of a bridge, they carry the weight of the vehicles moving on the bridge and transfer it to the columns.

Another good example of a beam would be the balancing beam in gymnastics. A 15-feet long beam is supported at both ends. Now, when the gymnastics perform her stunts on the beam, she is acting downwards perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the beam.

In buildings, beams are used to support the weight of ceilings, roofs, and floors.

Design of Beams

The design of beams involves the selection of the proper beam size, area, and material that will carry the applied load without failing or deflecting excessively. Coming to the right conclusion requires an adept understanding of physics and engineering statics.

Structural engineers are trained to analyze loads, forces, and stresses acting on beams. And they use their insight to determine the best material, size, and shape.


The most common types of materials used for beams include:

1) Reinforced concrete

2) Steel

3) Grouted masonry

4) Wood

All materials have their pros and cons. For instance, steel beams are recyclable, durable, and rust-resistant. But on the downside, they have high maintenance costs, are less resistant to fire, and are difficult to maneuver.

But at the end of the day, the final selection of material is usually based on cost, size, and functional purpose.

Size and Shape

The dimension of a beam is directly proportional to its load-bearing properties. The thicker the beam, the bigger the load it can carry without failing.


By now, you should have a good idea of what a column is. But here’s the formal definition. A column is a vertical structural member intended to transfer compressive load.

To give a basic example, consider a four-legged table. The four legs of the table can be seen as columns. And the weights of the wooden slab and objects on the table are transferred to the legs, which in turn transfers them to the floor as compression.

If you transfer this idea to a tall building, the columns at the bottom floor help carry the cumulative weight of all the floors above it.


To attain the best load distribution, columns should be spaced consistently throughout all floors. That’s precisely why the columns in bridges are usually spaced equally.

But sometimes, the proposed architectural design on a structure might put practical limitations in following this rule. When that’s the case, the structural engineer has to work closely with the architect to determine the ideal column layout given the design constraints.


In modern construction, columns are primarily made from two types of materials:

1) Steel

Steel columns can be classified into three types. They are C-section, I-section, and hollow section.

2) Reinforced concrete

Reinforced concrete is typically design as rectangular or circular sections.

In classical architecture, stones were popularly used as columns.


When designing the columns of a new building, the structural engineer considers several things. First, they calculate the weight of the floors/roof and other loads extruding vertical forces supported by these columns.

What’s more, the effects of lateral forces due to earthquakes and wind must also be taken into account. Based on the resulting values, the structural engineer determines the ideal material, size, and shape.

Wrap Up

Without beams and columns, structures would be unable to stand uprightly. And although there’s a lot more to structural elements, you should now have at least a rudimentary idea of what they’re all about.

Contact us here today for more information. We look forward to working with you on your next project!

How to become a structural engineer

Structural SteelStructural engineers are engineering professionals responsible for the analysis, design, and construction of physical structures that support or resist loads. They ensure the integrity of structural elements, such as columns, beams, floors, and foundations.

From the construction of roads to bridges to tunnels to sky scrappers, structural engineers play important roles in a wide variety of construction projects that advance the course of human civilization.

Little wonder structural engineering is an exciting profession. Working as a structural engineer is also fulfilling and financially rewarding. But what exactly does it take to become a successful structural engineer? This article uncovers the steps you can take to become a successful structural engineer.

Know your strengths

Before you decide to opt for a career in structural engineering, it’s important to know your strengths. To succeed in this field, you need to be pretty darn good in math and physics. Structural engineers use math and physics to perform sophisticated calculations to determine stresses and pressures.

Earn the minimum education requirement

If you’d like to become a structural engineer, then you’ll need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in structural engineering or civil engineering.

Like several other engineering disciplines, pursuing a civil engineering degree isn’t going to be easy. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you’d do great.

Some of the core subjects you will study include engineering mathematics, structural analysis, fluid mechanics, the strength of materials, earthquake engineering, surveying, concrete technology, design of reinforced concrete structures, and more.

Get your Fundamental Engineering (FE) Certification

To become a structural engineer, you need to go through the Engineer in Training (EIT) program. But to qualify for the EIT program, you need to get the FE certification.

The exam for FE certification is usually taken upon completion of the third year of your degree program. The goal of this six-hour long exam is to test your understanding of basic engineering concepts. This is the first of several steps towards becoming a licensed engineer.

Start the EIT program.

The Engineer in Training program provides a means for aspiring structural engineers to gain hands-on experience in the field. It is essentially the start of your career as a structural engineer.

During the EIT program, you get to learn how to approach structural analysis in the real world. You also get to master several Engineering Software like Autocad, Revit, ETABS, SAFE, and SAP2000, among many others.

Note that EIT can only be undertaken with an accredited employer, and it lasts for about four to five years.

Complete your licensure

After working for four years as an EIT, you are now eligible to take the certification exam for the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) license. The certification is given through the National Council of Structural Engineers Association to only professionals that pass the exam.

The PE license signifies that you’ve mastered the principles of structural engineering and you are now qualified to render services to the public.

But that’s not all. You also need to get your Structural Engineering (SE) license. This licence was introduced to increase the standards for structural engineers to ensure the improved safety of structures. This license is awarded through the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Get engaged in professional structural engineering organizations

No one builds a successful structural engineering career in isolation. That’s why it’s important to network with other professionals in your field. Expanding your network exposes you to more opportunities, and you get access to a robust support system.

Examples of professional bodies to consider include the Institute of Structural Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the National Council of Structural Engineers Association.

Apply for your dream structural engineering positions

After you’ve gained your education, certifications, and licenses, it’s time to practice as a full-fledged professional. But you need to go through the job hunting phase.

For starters, you need to prepare a solid resume. Make sure that your resume highlights your education, skills, training, and certifications. Place special emphasis on the experience you gained during your EIT program and more importantly, what value you can add to prospective employers.

You can easily find out about structural engineering openings through your network or online job postings. When applying, make sure that you read the job description properly to see if you’re a good fit. Make sure that your application – your resume in particular – is tailored to each job role so you can position yourself as a strong candidate.

Pursue post-graduate studies

To give your career as a structural engineer an extra boost, it’s a good idea to pursue a master’s or doctorate. Having this extra qualification in your profile opens you up to more opportunities.

Note that you can also choose to pursue post-graduate studies immediately after you complete your Bachelor’s degree.


Becoming a successful structural engineer requires hard work, patience and consistency. However, the fulfilment and financial gain that comes with it makes the journey worth it.

Contact us today for more information!

McNeil Engineering’s Spring 2021 Recap

2021 Recap“Bringing science to life” is Engineering in its simplest form. And we are proud to be doing that and more for our customers. The past year was not the easiest; still, we cannot but appreciate our invaluable teams and clients as we rose to the challenges and got better every season.

Our spring was even better than we expected. There was a change in leadership at the top; we took on many amazing projects and saw our discipline and standards pay off in other numerous projects. There are few better ways to express our appreciation than celebrating;

  • Thank you, Outgoing President Ted!

Our utmost appreciation and debt go to Ted Didas as he steps down from the role he volunteered for a decade. Ted has been a sturdy, innovative, and savvy president, and his leadership years were nothing but exemplary. As he proceeds to head the Civil Engineering team, the board has chosen Michael Hoffman to replace him.

Michael has climbed doggedly through many ladders since joining the company in 1995 to become a licensed land surveyor, a bachelor’s degree holder in Civil Engineering (2006). He has until now managed our Survey department for the past 20 years.

  • The tale of the “Father-Son” Bridges

Special moments are never far in McNeil Engineering projects; you only have to look closely.

Structural and Dept. Manager Matt Roblez found his when he got a job to expand on a bridge designed by his father in 1969 (shortly after his birth). More of a generational bridge many would call it.

So here Matt was, expanding the Gunsight Bridge at St George. It begins to get sweeter when he says he got loads of insight from his father, Victor Roblez’s original “hand-calculated” plans/designs.

Matt’s father, Victor, passed on on December 19, 2019. He was a recognized member of the Utah branch of the ASCE as a “Landmark Engineer.”

  • The move to freestanding pads

While the Covid-19 proved challenging, we were always available to help our clients. And of the new trends, consequent of the pandemic was an increase of freestanding pads for business models, including the housing restaurants, coffee shops, and so on.

The freestanding pad innovation has a vast application that exceeds its primary purpose. Our excited client, where our Civil engineering team headed by Rob Poirier has perfected this project, includes; Slim Chicken’s in Herriman, Lehi and Shake Shack in Murray, and co.

The addition is proving useful to dine-in, drive-through, pick-up orders. In the end, we are only improvising like we promise our customers.

  • We went to Texas to LiDAR Scan!

Laser scans and usage are not uncommon in Engineering. Here, unlike some we have undertaken in the past, Savage Sulfur in Galveston requested our services. Michael hopped on the next fight to assess the work to be done.

LiDar scanning services are one of the numerous things our survey team does. And there at Savage Sulfur, we once again employed our efficiency and accuracy to measure existing pipes and the overall structure of the sulfur processing plants. This information will be beneficial to them as they plan an expansion of the facility. We would love to appreciate Michael Hoffman, PLS, who supervised the entire project.

LiDAR scanning is a form of remote sensing technology that gives smaller images of laser scans to create 3D models of objects, maps, and environments.

  • How important is a planned Landscape?

Beautiful things are hardly by accident. And we are happy to transform a mundane community into the best of paradise. Landscape architecture is a growing area in the field that includes prioritizing the space around which we live, work, shop, and play.

Your building can only be as beautiful as its surrounding. How beautiful is your “between buildings”?

Our Landscape architecture team, led by Scott Schoonover (PLA, ASLA), gives the best in all the projects they undertake. We are not only set to plan and transform an area, but we create a perfect interface where humans, nature, technology, and animals blend into a beautiful and “healthy” environment.

Restoring the roof of the Central Utah correctional facility

Nothing bites harder than an inadequate roof. And that is why we have undertaken this project with clear alacrity.

The Central Utah correctional facility is seeing a growing number of inmates across its three housing units. Most of these units also offer multiple services to the community apart from housing the inmates.

Another thing that makes this project special is the fact that new buildings construction are running parallel to the renovation of older ones. However, with Carl Greene (consulting manager at McNeil) in charge of the project, there has been ongoing headway.

At last, the CUCF will get a working roof as soon as possible.

Wrapping Up

The spring has always been a great one for everyone, and not in the least McNeil Engineering. We always appreciate our old and new clients for trusting us with delivery, innovation, and science. Respect, healthy work environments, and growth are priorities here, and that is what makes us great as a family!

Reach out to us today for more information.

What is Structural Engineering and what do Structural Engineers do?

Structural SteelEver since the dawn of civilization, humans have built structures for several purposes – ranging from residential houses to the Great Pyramids. Even today, our lives revolve around structures – from buildings to bridges to canals to skyscrapers and more.

Although we rarely think about it, these constructions have internal structures that enable them to stand as a collapse may prove catastrophic. In this article, we examine the facet of engineering that tries to understand the mechanism of building reliable and safe structures.

What is Structural Engineering?

Structural engineering is a sub-discipline of civil engineering that involves the application of mathematical principles, the laws of physics, and empirical knowledge to design, construct and maintain the ‘bones’ or load-bearing elements of man-made structures.

Specializations in Structural Engineering

Structural engineering can be subdivided into several specializations. Some of which include:

  • Building structures
  • Earthquake engineering structures
  • Civil engineering structures, like bridges, dams, railways, waterways, and more.
  • Mechanical structures like cranes, elevators, marine vessels, and more
  • Aerospace structures
  • Nanoscale structures

Who are Structural Engineers?

Structural engineers are trained professionals that focus on the physical integrity and design of projects such as bridges, buildings, and waterways. They help ensure that these structures are safe, stable, and able to withstand external loads.

They accomplish this by applying their technical knowledge to specify the appropriate construction materials to use, as well as their shapes, geometry, and arrangement. All with the end goal of ensuring the structure withstand external stresses like gravity loads, earthquakes, and storms.

Stages in Structural Engineering Design

The structural design process of a building typically involves three stages: load calculation, structural analysis, and design.

  • Load calculation

The initial step is to determine all the loads that will act on the structure upon completion. The functional purpose of the building in addition to building standards and codes are used to estimate the building’s weight, as well as external forces – like snow, earthquake, and wind – that will act on the building.

  • Structural analysis

After all such loads have been determined, their impact on the structure itself is carefully studied to answer important questions like: Would a particular beam bulk under full capacity or thermal expansion? How would the building react to an earthquake of a particular magnitude? And more.

There is an engineering software that makes it easy to carry out this analysis. Thereafter, the results from the software are verified using first principle knowledge and simple structural analysis formula.

  • Design

The stresses and forces derived from the analysis stage are used to design the structural elements of the building, like the foundation, floor system, vertical supports, load-bearing beams, and other parts of the building.

When Do You Need a Structural Engineer?

Structural engineers play significant roles in several building projects. Some of which include:

  • Building new structures

Most people know they need an architectural plan before building a home. What they don’t realize is a structural engineer is often required in the planning stage. They help in designing the structural framework that will help support the aesthetic conception of the architect.

  • Renovation projects

Renovation usually involves making changes to the structural component of a building. A major renovation might be extending your building by including a patio. While a minor renovation might be something like removing the wall between the kitchen and a room.

A structural engineer is needed to analyze how these changes will affect the load-bearing elements of the body. Hence, the right actions can be taken (like replacing the wall being removed with a beam and column system) to preserve the structural integrity of the building.

A renovation might also be needed after significant damage has been done to a building, typically by factors like an earthquake, fire, or just deterioration that occurs with time. Structural engineers analyze how the structural integrity has been compromised and how it can be rectified.

  • Inspections for Home Purchase Transactions

Just because a building looks new or flashy doesn’t mean it is structurally sound. That’s why proper inspection is required before you buy a home.

A structural engineer will inspect more than what meets the eye – like the basement, beams, foundation, walls, and other structural components. The structural engineer might pick up on questionable structural components like large cracks in the foundation. Based on this, they will provide a scope of repair in an engineering report.

Such inspections are part of the due diligence process that will give you peace of mind before you purchase a property.

  • Commercial Projects

Site inspection plays a crucial role in commercial project development. First off, a structural engineer examines the soil to see if it’s conducive to the project at hand.

The structural engineer then works hand-in-hand with the architect/design team to develop a robust construction plan that strictly incorporates safety considerations.

Once actual construction commences, the structural engineer often supervises project teams and is actively involved in the project management phase.

Wrap Up

The roles of structural engineering and structural engineers cannot be overemphasized. Ultimately, structural engineers help ensure that all the buildings and structures we see around are safe to use.

Feel free to reach out to us here for more information. We look forward to working with you on your next project.

7 Reasons to hire a structural engineer

The structural integrity of a building must be preserved at all times to avoid the possibility of a collapse. So, before you knock down that wall or make major changes to your home, it’s important to ensure such actions would not compromise the structural integrity of your building. To determine that, you need a structural engineer.

Surprisingly, many people are not aware they need one until a contractor, home inspector, or any other third-party recommends their expertise.

What is a Structural Engineer?

A structural engineer is a licensed professional that has been trained to analyze the effects of external forces – like gravity, temperature, wind, and pressure – acting on a building. Based on their training and vast experience, they can determine how resistant a structure is to these forces.

Therefore, they are keen to detect early warning signs of a building failure or forms of structural weaknesses. The insight they provide can help you make important decisions.

When To Hire a Structural Engineer

Does this mean that if you want to change anything or move anything in a building, you need a structural engineer? No! But there are some specific instances where having them is a must. Here are some of those instances:

  • Major Home Renovations

If you want to do a small renovation – for example, a bathroom remodeling – you may not need an engineer, depending on how intense it’s going to be. However, if you’re thinking about adding a deck, room, deck, garage, enclosed pool, or floor to your building, you need a structural engineer.

Major renovations require that some load-bearing walls are altered or the foundation bears more weight. A structural engineer will determine if these add-ons will compromise your home’s original structure. They also ensure that your foundation is solid enough to bear the additional load.

In short, renovations that require making significant changes to your home’s overall layout needs to be assessed by a structural engineer before implementation.

  • Building a House from Scratch

This is a no-brainer, right? Just like you need the architect to come up with the plan, or plumber to deal with the plumbing works, or electrician to handle the wiring, you need a structural engineer to determine the soundness of your plans.

Before the foundations are even laid, you need a structural engineer to determine if the building plans are good. Moreover, they assess the building site for size suitability, integration with current features, and its environmental impact. The guidance they provide is indispensable.

  • Prefabricated Structures

During their production process, prefabricated structures are built to be solid. Therefore, you may not need a structural engineer to make load-bearing calculations before installing it. However, if you plan to install materials beyond what’s contained in the prefabricated structure plan – like hardwoods, granite countertops, or an aquarium that wasn’t in the original plan – you need a structural engineer to determine its feasibility.

Before you install any prefabricated structure, you need a structural engineer to determine the foundation plan. Factors like the layout, structural details, soils, and climate are used to determine what will work best in terms of the foundation.

  • Installation of Solar Panels or Wind Turbines

With the ever-increasing emphasis on the importance of going green, many people are now integrating renewable energy as a means to lead sustainable lives. If you get super excited and want to install solar panels, you want to make sure that your roof can support its weight. The last thing you want is to have your roof collapse a few years down the line.

A structural engineer analyses the panel layout, and its weight to determine if your roofing materials can support it. For wind turbine installations, a structural engineer performs a wind feasibility study to determine the ideal equipment to use.

  • Real Estate Transactions

Having a routine home inspection carried out before buying a home is prudent.

In this process, the homeowner hires a home inspection firm to identify and evaluate the maintenance issues, as well as structural weaknesses (if they exist). Important areas like the foundation and roof, as well as the electrical and plumbing features, are thoroughly inspected.

By knowing what needs to be repaired, it gives the homebuyer a better negotiation power. And if the inspection reveals a severe structural problem like abnormally large cracks, uneven floors, or cracked foundations, the homeowner will be saved from signing a bad deal.

Finally, a lender may require an engineer’s inspection before your mortgage is approved.

  • Damages of an Old Home

It’s only natural that a home’s strength deteriorates with time. If you notice damages like crackings in the foundation walls, bowing walls, sticking doors, cracked windows, and more, it might mean it’s high time for a renovation.

But before you carry out such renovations, it’s important to involve a structural engineer. They will help you assess the nature of the damages and what kind of renovation would be best suited to restore the structural integrity of your building.

  • Structural Damages from Accidents or Natural Disasters.

Unfortunately, terrible events sometimes happen; whether it is an accidental fire that escalates or a severe storm, hurricane, or flooding. These events can diminish the structural integrity of a building.

That’s why a structural engineer is needed to determine the extent of the damage and recommend the structural works that need to be done for restoration.

Furthermore, they help to determine if the heightened damage was caused by an underlying structural fault present before the unfortunate event. This information is helpful if you’re seeking to claim for home damage from a claims adjuster.


The importance of a structural engineer cannot be emphasized. They help ensure that the structural integrity of your building is preserved at all times. Before making any major structural change to your building, make sure you involve a structural engineer.

We are here to help. Contact us today to begin work on your next project!