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  • Writer's pictureMD Stewart Team

How Much Does A Structural Engineer Cost?

Structure engineers are the professionals who manage and analyze the structural integrity of the new building your team is working on so that it doesn’t collapse onto itself. It’s not only smart but vital someone checks the structural integrity of a building before you make any new additions to it. Depending on the project, the cost of hiring one can range anywhere between 1% to 20% of the total budget of a project. Let’s take a look at the average rate of hiring a structural engineer.

The cost of hiring a structural engineer

The most basic job of a structural engineer, which is foundation inspection, costs about $300.

Average costs

The average cost of hiring a structural engineer nationwide is $450 to $500.

A lower-end project costs about $300 to $400 though it can easily rise to $700. A structural engineer can easily charge you around $750 to $4500 for a high-end project. The average charge for a big project is $3000.

A residential structural engineer tends to charge about $500 to $3,000. For commercials, the cost might as well begin at $4000 and can reach over $19000. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering the scope of the project.

If we look at it from a percentage perspective, the new construction of a house will have you spending 1 to 3% on the structural engineer of your total budget. Renovation and additions to an existing home account for 1 to 5% cost of a person’s budget.

Breakdown by budget

We can further break it down by budget. For example, if you can spend $200 to $700 on a structural engineer, the person will inspect the foundation, the load-bearing capacity of the walls, and chimney and roof inspection. They might extend their service to the basic bathroom or kitchen repair and even draw up a structured house plan for you.

If you can afford $700 to $1500, the residential structural engineer will create engineering plans for your mid-sized home, along with remodels and additions. Full-home inspections are a given in this situation.

Upward to $1500, you get remodeling for huge houses, repairs, and entire project management.

Cost per hour

The average rate of a structural engineer ranges from $100 to $200 per hour. This depends on the experience level of the engineer, the scope of the project they are undertaking, and the location.

In fact, location can have a huge impact. For example, a Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York based structural engineer would charge way more than someone from the midwest.

They might raise their fees based on building regulations, such as acquiring permits, building fees, and inspection standards.

Inspection Cost

Whether you hire a structural engineer to draw up a plan or not, getting them to do a basic inspection is a must.

  • For full-home inspection alone, an engineer might charge you %300 to $750.

  • Foundation inspection can go from $300 to $600. $300 is the usual rate.

  • Structural wall inspection costs $200 to $600.

  • Chimney inspection alone could be $200 to $500.

  • For roof inspection, you can expect $200 to $500.

Things to ask a structural engineer

When you hire a structural engineer, you should:

  • Ask them about the range of their services. For example, if a structural engineer can take care of foundation inspection and project management, you don’t have to hire a separate engineer for the project part. The overall cost can be low this way.

  • They should have a post-graduate civil engineering degree or one in an interlinked field. The person should have a board license too.

  • A structural engineer with experience would cost more. However, the quality of their services wouldn’t disappoint either.

  • Depending on the entire construction budget, the structural engineer's service fees should not be over 20% of the budget unless the engineer manages the full project.

  • Enquire as to their depth of knowledge when it comes to building codes. Inspection is done based on these codes, and not understanding them makes the engineer unreliable.

  • Don’t forget to read the reviews.

Final Thoughts

Structural engineers work as independent entities as they do as parts of designing or construction companies. An independent contractor might cost more than someone who works under a company, but make sure to do your homework before hiring just any engineer.

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