How Much Does a Structural Engineer Cost?
$343 - $723
$343 - $723
Published January 10, 2022Written by HomeAdvisor.
Hiring a residential structural engineer costs $515 on average with a typical range between $343 and $723. Structural engineering plans cost $800 to $3,000 on average. They charge between $100 and $200 per hour. For new construction or large remodels, 1% to 20% of the total construction price, or $1,500 to $20,000, goes to the structural engineer.
Structural engineers often charge using a combination of methods. For example, they’ll charge a percentage of the total construction costs as a base that includes a set amount of site visits, redlining, drawings and reports and tack on hourly rates for anything outside the scope of work, such as extra site visits. Structural engineers work closely with architects and draftspersons on both new construction and remodels. They perform inspections on things like load bearing walls, foundation problems, sagging roofs or sliding chimneys.
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|Typical Range||$343 - $723|
|Low End - High End||$200 - $1,400|
Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 4,044 HomeAdvisor members.
The cost to hire a structural engineer falls between $200 to $1,300 for most basic residential services. You might spend up to $5,000 or more for particularly complex projects. For some remodels, you might hit $15,000 if they provide comprehensive services, like total project management.
$300 - $1,300
Per Square Foot
$0.25 - $2
$100 - $200
Percent of Construction
1% - 4%
Structural engineers sometimes charge $0.25 to $2 per square foot, depending on the type of project, budget and size. However, per square foot pricing for residential homes isn’t common. You’re more likely to pay per hour, as a percentage of the project or a combination of the two.
Expect to pay between $100 and $200 per hour. Some professionals provide you with a total project price. They calculate project pricing based on how much time they estimate each task takes and divide it by their hourly rate. Often, you’ll get a project rate plus an hourly rate for anything not within the job’s scope.
The total price is based on the following factors:
Complexity of the project
Scope of services offered
Many structural engineers work on a three-part payment plan that typically calls for about 25% up front. The second payment can range anywhere from 25% to 50%, and the final payment takes care of the remainder of the balance. These payments happen after predetermined milestones.
You’ll spend anywhere between 1% and 20% of your total project costs on structural engineer fees. The range depends on whether it’s new construction or a remodel and the scope of work. For simple plans, expect to pay on the low end. For complete project management services, you’ll spend more.
New construction: 1%-4% of total construction costs. New home builds cost $166,000 to $485,000 with $1,600 to $19,500 going to the engineer.
Commercial: 0.5%-1.5% of total construction costs for new construction.
Home remodels: 8%-20% of total costs. With home renovation costs ranging from $20,000 to $75,000, $1,500 to $15,000 goes to the engineer.
|Type of Inspection||Avg. Cost|
Full Home Inspection
$300 - $750+
$300 - $600
Load Bearing Walls
$100 - $200 per hour
$200 - $600
$200 - $500 ($5,000+ for commercial)
Engineers include reports as part of the total project cost. This is where they detail what you need to do to make alterations, additions or renovations structurally sound.
Home inspection assessments cost between $300 and $750. Sometimes, they’ll charge a minimum fee plus their hourly rate. An engineering assessment checks the structural integrity of an aging home, usually during a home sale. This specialized professional usually comes in at the buyer’s request on the recommendation of a home inspector. This fee comes on top of the home inspector cost of $250 to $400.
They check for structural issues like dry rot, infestation, shifting foundations, erosion and more. They may examine the integrity of load-bearing walls, joists, beams, roofing and foundations. Upon receiving your assessment, you'll have a better idea of which improvements are necessary.
Foundation inspections by a structural engineer cost $300 to $600. Actual pricing varies depending on the size and type of the home, their hourly rate and regional pricing differences.
Load bearing wall inspections run $300 to $700. Include drawing up plans for changes and you might hit $3,000 or more. Some homeowners report prices nearing $5,000 in urban areas like California and New York, which have both more building regulations and a higher cost of living.
Chimney separation inspections cost $300 to $600. It includes three levels:
Level 1: Visual check
Level 2: Visual check with simple tools. No damage done to any surface or strucure.
Level 3: Visual check with removal of wall, bricks or another structural component. Typically occurs after a fire and requires rebuilding.
Engineering plans cost $300 to $2,500 per drawing or sheet for most residential projects. Commercial engineering plans cost $1,000 to $16,000 or more per sheet. Plan to devote 45% of your overall engineering budget to plans and drawings.
Plans take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks to complete, depending on the level of detail. Commercial projects take anywhere from 1 to 4 months. Those ranges can quickly double when they’re busy or you ask for multiple meetings and revisions.
Hiring a draftsperson costs $800 to $2,700 on average. A draftsman can draw up the plans for a three-bedroom home within about 15 to 40 hours. Double that price for redlining and customizations. Although rare, some people still want printed plans, which adds anywhere from $800 to $1,400.
There are four essential types of drawings used:
Standard: include common details that exist across a wide variety of projects and include such things as concrete box culverts and column bases.
Reinforcement: specify the location of materials used to reinforce the structure. They show the proposed locations of steel fixers and trimming bars.
Structural: deal with the placement of concrete, rebar, and other materials used to reinforce the building.
Record: keep track of any modifications made to the original plans.
The cost to stamp work comes as part of a project. In most places, state law dictates that an engineer can only stamp work they have personally done or supervised the production of – such as with a draftsperson working under them. The practice of selling a stamp or stamping someone else’s work to make it meet requirements for inspections, permits and moving forward on projects, is often illegal.
A PE stamp means the engineer has reviewed and approved the plans. It also confers liability to them in case anything goes wrong.
You cannot DIY structural issues in most places. Many states require a licensed engineer or architect sign off on any improvement plans that require changing structural elements to get a permit or move forward with construction. If required by your locale or situation, contact a licensed structural engineer near you to get an inspection or have plans drawn up.
"A 10,000 square foot home. That's going to be a lot more expensive than a 2,000 square foot home. Those projects range usually from $750 and up. And we do a structural inspection of the existing condition, provide them our observations, recommendations are engineering analysis and conclusion."
- Nester Cueto, President. Cueto Engineering, Miami, FL
You should hire a structural engineer if your architect, realtor or home inspector recommends it. Often, structural engineers work in architectural firms. Generally, if you’re making changes that include altering the load bearing properties of your home, you’ll want to consult one.
You may want one for any of the following projects:
Modifying a home in an earthquake, hurricane or flood zone.
Moving or modifying the locations of doors, windows or skylights.
Addressing the underpinnings of a floor or foundation.
Repairing storm damage to your home from natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes or flooding.
You’ll need to choose whether you need a home inspector, structural engineer or architect depending on what you need done.
Architects cost $2,000-$9,500. They work to design the form and function of a home, including all structural elements.
Structural Engineers run $300-$700 or more. They work on the load bearing and functional aspects of a home.
Home Inspectors charge $250-$400. They give homes a general inspection during real estate sales, after natural disasters and sometimes during appraisals.
During a site visit, they inspect the foundation, infrastructure, curtain wall, insulation and building envelope. Through careful inspection and comparison to the approved building plans, the contractor ensures the actual building meets the drawings provided or advises corrections. They must approve the completion of each stage, often required before the next stage of development can begin.
To hire a licensed structural engineer, follow these steps:
Search for one in our pro directory.
Read reviews and check work.
Request they perform a site visit and submit a written proposal that includes objectives, anticipated, time schedule and compensation. Note that while some contractors do not charge for a preliminary visit, many do.
All HomeAdvisor pros go through prescreening process. If you use one outside our network, make sure you follow these additional steps:
Contact your local city or county building officials and/or county surveyor's office to make sure the professionals you are talking with are licensed.
Ask for references from previous jobs like yours.
Verify their expertise in your type of project and their ability to complete projects on time and on budget.
Mechanical engineers charge $90 to $175 per hour. They design and develop mechanical systems. In homes, this often includes custom HVAC system design, water distribution design, and solar or wind power systems.
A civil engineer costs $65 to $200 per hour or 5% to 15% of a projects design budget.
A structural engineer makes $55,000 to $110,000 per year or around $25 to $55 per hour.