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Any discussion about working with a structural engineer must begin with an emphasis on the need to avoid looking for ways to "cut corners". This is because the work performed by any structural engineer is going to ensure the stability of a building. For example, load-bearing walls, foundations, and even design approval will all land on the desk of the modern structural engineer.
Pricing on their work tends to consider a few factors that other professions do not. For instance, the length of time that a structural engineer has worked in their field will usually increase the prices they demand for their services. For example, PayScale.com demonstrates that the recently graduated structural engineers will earn between $18.57 and $26.07 per hour or between twenty and thirty thousand per year. A decade later that same structural engineer can ask for $30.43 to $42.28, or between thirty and forty-five thousand per year for the same work.
Today, according to Eng-Tips.com, a consumer can expect to pay roughly 8% of a total construction project fee to the structural engineer. For example, a building is designed by an engineering consulting firm, and receives $237,000 for their work. It is reasonable to anticipate that the structural engineer would then receive roughly $18,960.
To begin the process of hiring a structural engineer requires a clear understanding of the work to be done. For example, these are professionals frequently sought out for:
Structural engineers work on wood framed, masonry, metal framed and other buildings, and can tackle residential and commercial properties too.
Generally, this means that the first step in finding a structural engineer is to know exactly the work to be done, and then seeking a professional with a background or experience in that particular area. For instance, the property owner hoping to install a foundation in an area which is marshy or prone to flooding will need a structural engineer experienced in assessing designs that require resistance to high water pressures.
To find a suitable provider, a consumer can head to the website of the Structural Engineering Institute or the National Council of Structural Engineers Association. Once they have found a few potential candidates it is a good idea to schedule an interview to discuss the project. Regardless of the extent of the work to be done, the relationship between the engineer and the property owner is extremely important. If there seems to be a lack of communication or a sense of indifference, it is best to seek out another provider.
When a provider has been selected it is going to be necessary to discuss the way in which payment will be provided for the service. Most engineers ask for a three part payment plan that begins with the opening of the project. Usually this is around 25% of the entire budget. The next payment is issued when the project is near completion, and usually this is another 25-50%. The balance is paid when any official inspections are made and when the project has been completed to the satisfaction of the client.
It may be a good idea to work on a contractual basis if a project is extensive or of a somewhat large scale. This will ensure that budgets and schedules are adhered to, and it will also identify the tasks for which subcontractors are used. For instance, many structural engineers rely on laboratory work, and engineering tests that they hire others to perform. These additional fees can drive the cost of any project up, but even more importantly, they can derail a program that was originally on schedule.