When you’re getting ready to start a major home renovation project, there are a lot of people you’re going to need to call. Electricians, builders, interior decorators, plumbers, and code inspectors are just a few of the people who will be involved in your project. But there’s one more person you need to add to your call list: a structural engineer.
Structural engineers can make the difference between a beautiful home renovation that will stand for decades to come and one that will fall down around your ears six months down the line. They’re worth every penny it costs to hire them. Read on to learn more about structural engineering costs and why they’re so important.
Structural Engineer Services
Structural engineers provide a variety of services relating to the structural support systems in your house. The evaluate your home’s ability to support itself against forces like gravity, weather, and pressure from the surrounding earth. When these structures start to fail, you risk having portions of your house collapse.
Structural engineers can inspect your home and tell you if any areas are in danger of collapse. They can help draw up plans to fix those areas and make sure your renovations are structurally sound. They can also let you know which walls in your home are load-bearing to help advise you on interior renovations.
Why Hire a Structural Engineer
You may be wondering why you should pay a few hundred dollars to get someone to come look at your house and not do any work on it. But when you hire a structural engineer, you’re paying for their expertise. How much is it worth to you to make sure your house won’t fall down?
Structural engineers know all the complex calculus that goes into making sure a home is stable. They will make sure that neither renovations nor age bring your home crashing down. So while they may not be swinging the sledgehammer, they’re protecting your home in an even more important way.
Inspectors vs. Structural Engineers
At first glance it can seem like inspectors and structural engineers do the same kind of work. After all, both come look at your house and make sure it’s up to code, right? And why should you pay the extra to hire a structural engineer?
Home inspectors are jacks of all trades when it comes to house systems. They know what to look for in electrical systems, HVAC systems, plumbing systems, fireplaces, chimneys, roofs, and more. And while they know the basics of foundation security, they don’t know how to make a plan to repair a foundation or the details of what makes something structurally secure or not.
How Fees Work
Structural engineers manage their fees differently for each of the various services they offer. A structural engineer may be overseeing management for a larger construction project. In that case, they’ll take a percentage of the total construction cost as their fee.
Home inspections and building plans may run on a flat fee basis with an additional hourly charge if the project is complicated. Engineering consultations are usually charged by the hour. And how much an engineer charges per hour will vary depending on the person and your area.
In general, structural engineers charge somewhere between $100 and $150 per hour for their services. The first hour may be even more expensive than that, depending on the case. For example, an engineer may charge you $200 for the first hour and $125 for every hour after that.
If these fees seem high, remember that engineers often pay a large portion of their hourly charge back to the firm they work for. According to the Department of Labor, structural engineers only take home about $40 an hour from their fees.
Average Hiring Cost
How much your project costs will depend on how complicated it is. If you’re getting an overall home inspection to look for any structural issues, you can expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $400 depending on the size of your house, the experience of the structural engineer, and the area in which you live.
Drafting plans to renovate a house is going to be more expensive since it requires evaluation and planning. These fees start around $350, but it’s a good idea to budget at least $600. The more complicated your proposed renovation is, the more you’ll need to plan to pay.
How to Hire a Structural Engineer
So once you’ve decided you need to hire a structural engineer and budgeted the money to pay them, how do you go about hiring one? Start by running a search in your area for structural engineers and making a list of everyone who turns up in the listing. Then you need to dig in and start reading reviews.
Make sure the engineers you’re looking at are licensed in your state and have worked on projects similar to yours before. If you have a contractor you’ve worked with previously on your home or who you are working with on this project, ask if they have any recommendations. It’s a good idea to get hourly prices from a few engineers in your area before you settle on one.
Learn More About Structural Engineer Costs
When you’re planning a home renovation, you want to make sure everything stays structurally sound. Getting the expert opinion of a structural engineer is worth every cent it costs. Knowing the ballpark range of structural engineer costs can help you plan your project budget to accommodate their fees.
If you’d like to get free quotes from qualified engineers, get in touch with us at PE For Hire. You can submit a project request form and get free estimates from a variety of licensed professional engineers. Get started on your project and save money on structural engineer costs today!