Local Obituaries

Coral Gables engineering executive Lawrence Brill dies at 78

ENGINEER ON THE WATER: Lawrence Brill opened his own structural engineering firm in 1964 and provided engineering services for numerous instritutions in Miami-Dade and Broward and was often used as an expert witness in cases involving structural issues. But he also loved socializing with friends and family at Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove.
ENGINEER ON THE WATER: Lawrence Brill opened his own structural engineering firm in 1964 and provided engineering services for numerous instritutions in Miami-Dade and Broward and was often used as an expert witness in cases involving structural issues. But he also loved socializing with friends and family at Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove. Courtesy Mike Brill

Lawrence “Larry” Brill helped keep South Florida’s infrastructure intact.

Fifty years after starting Brill Engineering in Coral Gables in 1964, the clients he provided engineering services for reads like a roadmap of the county:

▪ Miami-Dade and Broward Public Schools. Gulliver and Ransom Everglades schools. Port of Miami. Florida International University. Miami Dade College and his University of Miami alma mater. He graduated from UM’s Civil Engineering School with honors in 1957.

▪ Also, Miami-Dade Aviation Department and fire rescue facilities. Coral Reef Yacht Club. Grove Isle Club and Jockey Club and various banks, shopping centers and residential high rises and condominiums.

Brill died on March 2 at his Gables by the Sea home. He was 78 and had pancreatic cancer.

When a state grand jury indicted the county’s top building official in 1998 for culpable negligence for allowing Dadeland Station in Kendall to open when construction flaws were discovered in the towering garages, Brill was hired by the developer.

Brill questioned whether the concrete columns and walls were strong enough and determined that they were not. “Neither of these items complies with the South Florida Building Code or accepted engineering practice,” Brill said in May 1997. The developer spent $4 million on repairs.

Brill’s firm also revealed construction flaws at devastated homes in South Miami-Dade a week after Hurricane Andrew in August 1992.

The Bronx-born Brill, who moved to Miami in 1953, graduated from Miami Senior High and sold shoes on Lincoln Road Mall to pay his way through the UM.

“He was an outstanding engineer,” said brother Steven Brill. “We both went into engineering. I think it was my father’s influence that we both became engineers. He wanted us to do that and this was in an era when your father dictated what you did and it worked out for both of us and was great.”

Brill was registered as a civil engineer in 38 states, a recipient of the Brownell Award at UM (a prestigious honor given to only one student a year from the engineering department), an Iron Arrow member and UM Citizens Board and Board of Trustees member. Brill Engineering evolved over the years and became Brill & Rodriguez and is now Brill, Rodriguez, Salas & Associates.

Said son Mike Brill: “He was very honest, tough but fair. He had a great sense of humor and loved to tease and was very well respected. There will be hundreds of people who will come to his celebration of life.”

That event will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. March 12 at the Coral Reef Yacht Club, 2484 S. Bayshore Dr., Coconut Grove. Brill built many of the club’s docks and did renovations at the club’s bar and north docks after Andrew. An avid sailor and fisherman, Brill served as Coral Reef’s commodore in 1992-93.

In addition to his son and brother, Brill is survived by his wife, Connie, daughter, Shannon, and grandchildren Jack, Dean, Ella, Beck and Elyse.

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