How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Structural Engineer?

Average range: $500 - $2,000
Low
$300
Average Cost
$1,200
High
$20,000
(Detailed assessment and inspection of a home prior to a renovation)

Get free estimates from structural engineers near you
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How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Structural Engineer?

Average range: $500 - $2,000
Low
$300
Average Cost
$1,200
High
$20,000
(Detailed assessment and inspection of a home prior to a renovation)

Get free estimates from structural engineers near you
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Reviewed by Nieves Caballero. Written by Fixr.com.

If you plan to buy, sell, or remodel a home, you may want to consider hiring a structural engineer to help you through the process. They are specialized civil engineers who calculate load and determine how your home’s walls, foundation, roof, and structure will handle their weight. Structural engineers take on a wide range of projects, from simple inspections to helping build enormous structures. This leads to a wide range of associated costs for this service. The average homeowner starting a house renovation would likely hire one to assess the situation and determine if additional work is necessary.

The national average cost to hire a structural engineer is between $500 and $2,000. Most people pay around $1,200 to hire a structural engineer to complete a detailed assessment and inspection of a home before a renovation. At the low end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay around $300 for a structural engineer to inspect a load-bearing wall and plan for removal. At the high end, you can pay up to $20,000 to hire a structural engineer to consult on constructing a new home and drafting all plans with elevations for foundations, walls, and roof.

Structural Engineer Price

Structural Engineer Cost
National average cost$1,200
Average range$500-$2,000
Minimum cost$300
Maximum cost$20,000


Structural Engineer Cost by Project Range

Low
$300
Inspecting a load-bearing wall and planning for removal
Average Cost
$1,200
Detailed assessment and inspection of a home prior to a renovation
High
$20,000
Consulting on the construction of a new home and drafting all plans with elevations for foundations, walls, and roof

What Structural Engineers Do?

Structural engineers focus on the structural integrity and design of structures such as buildings, bridges, and tunnels. They ensure that the construction project, addition, or renovation maintains structural integrity and can handle the loads they encounter. Structural engineers visit the site to create drawings, conduct reports and highlight any weak points or adjustment recommendations. They evaluate projects such as water and termite damage, sloping floors, foundation, wall, and ceiling cracks, and much more. A structural engineer makes sure that everything is up to date and that building codes are met. Completing these types of jobs without a professional engineer can result in fines and dangerous issues.


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Structural Engineer Cost per Hour

Some structural engineers charge by the hour, ranging from $100 to $500 an hour. The amount you pay depends on the level of expertise by the engineer, the scope of the project, and the area. This rate can change depending on whether you hire a firm or contact an engineer directly. This is usually done for projects involving many drawings and time spent on the project site. They may offer a three-part payment plan that requires you to pay 25% upfront. The second payment ranges from anywhere between 25 and 50%. The final payment is the remainder of the balance.

Structural Engineering Cost per Square Foot

The average cost for a structural engineer ranges between $0.25 to $2 per sq.ft. When calculated by the sq.ft., the labor costs tend to be the total cost. This is because the engineer is not using materials and labor per sq.ft. the way a contractor or installer may. Instead, the entire square footage of the project is used to calculate a base rate. This is done mostly for new construction and some larger additions.

Structural Engineering Fees Percentage Construction Cost

Structural engineering fees tend to be a percentage of the total construction cost. You will spend between 1 and 20% of your total project on the engineer fees. The amount you pay is highly dependent on the scope of work, whether it's a remodel or new construction. For new construction, expect to pay 1 to 4% of the total project when hiring a structural engineer. For commercial property, you can expect to pay between 0.5 and 1.5% on an engineer and 8 to 20% on home remodels. The square footage of the project is used to calculate the rate of the project, which becomes a percentage of the total.

Many factors determine the average cost of hiring a structural engineer. The first is the scope of the project. Small projects that do not require drawings or only a few drawings cost significantly less than major projects. The second is how much time the engineer needs to spend on it. For example, an inspection may take less time than working on new construction so that the rate may be billed differently. Some bill by the project, while others bill by the hour or sq.ft. Therefore, you can get varying pricing for the same job when you contact different engineers.

Structural Engineer Fees by Project

A structural engineer takes on various projects, which differ in price ranging between $100 to $20,000. You can expect to pay less for a report or inspection than for project management. Each of these different projects contributes to the overall scope of the project. The table below highlights the different projects with their respective costs, followed by subsections explaining each.


Cost of Structural Engineer Reports, Load-Bearing Wall Inspections, Drawings, Draft Building Plans, Foundation Inspection, Home Inspection, Project Management.

Cost of Structural Engineer Reports, Load-Bearing Wall Inspections, Drawings, Draft Building Plans, Foundation Inspection, Home Inspection, Project Management.


ProjectCosts (Labor Included)
Reports$100 - $200
Load-Bearing Wall Inspections$150 - $300
Drawings$150 - $1,500
Drafting Building Plans$300 - $500
Foundation Inspection$300 - $600
Home Inspection$500 - $2,000
Project Management$10,000 - $20,000


Structural Engineer Report Cost

You can expect to pay between $100 to $200 for a written report from a structural engineer. A report can be written after an inspection. A report is most often requested when a homeowner is buying or selling a home. The report includes all details from the inspection, including any alterations, additions, or renovations required for a structurally sound building.

Cost of Structural Engineer for Load Bearing Walls

The cost to hire a structural engineer for a load-bearing wall costs between $150 and $300. If the project requires drawing up a plan, then you can expect to pay more. Some homeowners report paying higher prices in urban locations such as New York and California due to a higher cost of living and more building regulations. Hiring a licensed, professional engineer is important if you are making any changes to load-bearing walls. If you plan to move a load-bearing wall on your property or remove one, they can help determine a plan of action and ensure the structural integrity of your home is stable. Moving or removing a load-bearing wall on your own can lead to many mistakes and, therefore, damage to your home's structure.

Structural Engineer Drawings Cost

Simple drawings may cost $150 to $200, while a complex set of drawings may cost $1,500. Most plans require drawings of some kind, whether you are building an addition, moving a load-bearing wall, or installing solar panels. The drawings help you, the engineer, and the builder better understand what needs to be done. Structural drawings are legit when stamped, prepared, and signed by a licensed professional engineer.

Structural Engineer Plans Cost

Drafting makes up a large part of what a structural engineer does, averaging between $300 and $500. While this type of project may cost a flat fee, depending on the company or professional, they may also charge by the hour. Following an inspection, the next step is to create a plan or drawing. The engineer combines analysis with knowledge and experience to create a design/drawing that meets the building codes and project requirements. The plan gives you an idea of the layout, dimensions, and any other notes for the project.

Structural Engineer Foundation Inspection Cost

Foundation inspections by a structural engineer run between $300 and $600. The pricing varies depending on the type, size of the home, hourly rate, and regional pricing. While every process is different, most include a few basic steps. The engineer starts by looking at the foundation and basement walls to check for signs of structural movement such as wall or ceiling cracks, uneven floors, and mildew, moisture, or water in the basement. For block or slab foundations, the outside of the home will be examined for cracks or fascia board conditions. If you have a crawl space, the engineer might enter to make notes on the internal climate and whether it is damp or musty. The joists and beams will also be examined. Finally, if cracks are found, the engineer measures and takes photos of all findings. The inspection provides some useful information, including whether the structure is safe to occupy, if cracks are a threat to the structure, and if the structure's foundation has shifted. This information can ease your mind knowing that your foundation is safe and can be useful for tracking any future structural changes.

Structural Engineer House Inspection Cost

Home inspections cost between $500 and $2,000. You can expect to pay a flat fee as the project is outlined, and the engineer can determine how long it will take. Some engineers charge a flat rate for inspections and an hourly rate after that. A home inspection takes on many facets, including checking for dry rot, reviewing the foundation for stability, looking at erosion, stability, subflooring, storm or water damage, and other issues that may impact the safety of the home. Once the inspection is complete, you will have a good idea of what improvements are necessary for your home. A structural engineer home inspection usually occurs at the buyer’s request on the recommendation of a home inspector.

Structural Engineer Project Manager

Project management is usually based on the scope of the total project. The average cost for this service is $10,000 to $20,000. A project manager can be very helpful if you are building an addition, changing your home’s layout, wanting to see structural damage, or needing management from someone who is not completing the project. They are typically hired for larger projects. The tasks involved include preparing project budgets, estimates, specifications, schedules, and invoices. Structural engineering project managers use their knowledge to design and plan projects. They also lead, guide, and assist with the design when needed. Hiring a project manager gives you peace of mind that the project will be completed successfully.

When Do You Need a Structural Engineer?

Structural engineers do many different jobs. Often, people do not know when or why to call them. Architects and builders rely on them and employ them as part of their firm. So, if you are building a new home or addition, there is likely an engineer already on the team. The architect is concerned with how the home will look and be laid out. The structural engineer ensures it can support the weight safely.

Structural engineers do more than this, however. They assist in small renovations, such as the removal of a load-bearing wall. They assess damage to a home after a storm, check for issues with foundations, help determine the cause, and propose a plan of action for correcting the problem. They also find the cause of issues like settling, shifting, or warping of walls and floors. They decide if your existing roof can handle heavier roofing materials or the weight of solar panels or wind turbines.

Call a structural engineer any time you plan to buy or sell a home and when you make renovations to an existing home. Your builder or architect will likely call one in for additions and new construction projects. Finally, if you find yourself in an argument with a third party about the structure of the home, such as with a builder who may not have used the correct materials, call an engineer to help settle the matter.


Structural Egineer Making Calculations


How to Hire a Residential Structural Engineer

The selection of a residential structural engineer plays a huge role in the operational efficiency of the project. Not all engineers are equal. Some may have more qualifications than others that influence how successful they are on the project. A structural engineer should have the qualifications but also be able to apply knowledge on site. Before selecting the right one for the job, there are a few crucial factors to consider. A few tips include always looking at their qualifications, looking for a well-defined scope of work, prioritizing technical competency, focusing on project specific experience, ensuring knowledge of building codes, and looking for innovative thinking. A reliable residential structural engineer should encompass all of these qualities.


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Architect vs Structural Engineer

Architects and structural engineers often work together on building projects; however, their responsibilities are different. Architects have a wide range of roles, from designing, planning, and drawing to overseeing a project from start to finish. Architects focus on how a building will look and its aesthetics. Structural engineers focus on how the building will be built and what materials will be needed for high durability. Both of these jobs work towards a common goal of ensuring a building is well-structured. When architects charge by the hour, you can expect to pay from $150 to $400 depending on the seniority and experience of the architect. The cost per hour for a structural engineer ranges between $100 and $500 per hour.


Cost of a Structural Engineer vs Architect per Hour

Cost of a Structural Engineer vs Architect per Hour


ProfessionalCost per Hour (Labor Included)
Structural Engineer$100 - $500
Architect$150 - $400


Civil Engineer vs Structural Engineer

Civil and structural engineers operate in similar areas within the construction industry. Their roles and responsibilities are often confused by many. Civil engineering is a broad range of studies that encompasses structural engineering. Civil engineers design and maintain structures like grading systems, stormwater collection/retention systems, and roadways, while structural engineers deal with the construction, design, and maintenance of weight-bearing structures. These engineers perform specific duties within the construction industries and may work together in different roles on the same project. You can expect to pay between $65 and $200 per hour for a civil engineer. A structural engineer costs between $100 and $500 per hour.


Cost of a Mechanical Engineer vs Structural Engineer per Hour

Cost of a Mechanical Engineer vs Structural Engineer per Hour


ProfessionalCost per Hour (Labor Included)
Civil Engineer$65 - $200
Structural Engineer$100 - $500


Mechanical vs Structural Engineering

Mechanical and structural engineers have one primary difference, which is the nature of work they perform. A structural engineer typically focuses on design structures, such as buildings and bridges. A mechanical engineer focuses on the mechanical aspects, such as tools, machines, and parts. Many projects require collaboration between the two different types of engineers. An example would be designing an office building. A structural engineer would be responsible for examining the specifications and blueprints to make sure the building can withstand the bearings. Once the first engineer determines that the building is structurally sound, the mechanical engineer assesses the building’s need for air conditioning and heating systems and ventilation and assists with the building's elevators. Mechanical engineers charge approximately $90 to $175 per hour, while a structural engineer ranges between $100 to $500 per hour.


Cost of a Mechanical vs Structural Engineer per Hour

Cost of a Mechanical vs Structural Engineer per Hour


ProfessionalCost per Hour (Labor Included)
Mechanical Engineer$90 - $175
Structural Engineer$100 - $500


Home Inspector vs Structural Engineer

The average cost of hiring a home inspector is $50 to $80 per hour, while a structural engineer ranges between $100 and $500 per hour. Because structural engineers often do home inspections, many people confuse the two roles. A home inspector is a generalist. They look at the entire building and search for problems that are on the surface. In fact, if a home inspector sees an issue with the structure of the home, they may recommend calling an engineer to tell you more. While the home inspector helps you make an informed decision about a new home, an engineer gives you the details about what it may take to fix issues and what may be causing them.


Cost of a Home Inspector vs Structural Engineer per Hour

Cost of a Home Inspector vs Structural Engineer per Hour


ProfessionalCost per Hour (Labor Included)
Home Inspector$50 - $80
Structural Engineer$100 - $500


Structural Engineer vs Foundation Company

Both structural engineers and foundation companies are similar in their expertise in foundations. The main difference is that a structural engineer specializes in designing and understanding foundations, while a foundation repair company specializes in lifting houses. Engineers calculate the impact of damage on the foundation and recommend a solution for a quick fix. Foundation companies recommend repairs to the foundation, know the exact steps to lift the foundation, and complete the repair themselves. The average cost to hire a structural engineer ranges between $100 and $500 per hour. You can expect to pay from $150 to $300 per hour to hire a foundation company.


Cost of a Structural Engineer vs Foundation Company per Hour

Cost of a Structural Engineer vs Foundation Company


ProfessionalCost per Hour (Labor Included)
Structural Engineer$100 - $500
Foundation Company$150 - $300


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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Roof Inspection Price

The average cost for a roof inspection is $100 to $600. The overall cost you pay varies depending on the size of the roof, roof material, pitch, and roof condition. A roof inspection should be conducted every few years to help you recognize any problems before they become large or expensive. An inspector identifies any potential problems, determines the lifespan and condition of the roof, offers solutions on what needs to be fixed and helps you keep it in good condition. A structural engineer can also carry out a roof inspection.

Chimney Inspection Price

The national average for a chimney inspection is $300 to $600, with most homeowners paying around $450 for a level 2 inspection with cleaning for two flues. There are three different levels of chimney inspections, and for this reason, a wide range of costs are involved. This project can be carried out by a chimney inspector or a structural engineer because they are skilled in structure inspection. During the inspection process, the engineer inspects the chimney for any cracks, buildup, or signs of wear and damage. This is done using a flashlight, camera, or by eye. Having your chimney inspected by an engineer helps ensure that your chimney is in good working order and safe for use.

Foundation Repair Price

After a foundation inspection, a structural engineer may recommend foundation repairs. Several foundation problems that could occur and many different foundation types. For this reason, there is a very wide range of costs for foundation repair, with a national average of $5,000 to $10,000. Most people pay around $8,000 for mudjacking to lift and reinforce a settling and cracking foundation.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Location. Different locations have varying costs for structural engineering. Expensive cities, such as San Francisco, New York, and Boston, may have higher hourly rates than less populated cities.
  • Submission. Many structural engineers submit building plans for regulations, along with the cost of their overall fees.
  • Plans. Plans can take between a day and several months, depending on how complicated the plans are and how busy the engineer is.
  • License. Always make sure that the engineer is licensed. Ask for their license number and check it against the state. Keep in mind that unlicensed engineers may be allowed to perform certain tasks under the supervision of a licensed engineer.

FAQs

  • What is included in a structural inspection?​

A structural inspection is carried out by a licensed structural engineer and includes inspecting the foundation, roofing, severe cracking, sloped floors, and walls.

  • What does it cost to employ a structural engineer?

It will cost between $100 and $500 per hour to employ a structural engineer.

  • How much does a structural report cost?

You can expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a written report from a structural engineer.

  • What does a structural engineer do?

Structural engineers look at the load-bearing structures in a building to determine if they are safe.

  • How much does a structural home inspection cost?​

This has a wide range of costs starting at around $500 and going up to $2,000.

  • What qualifications do you need to become a structural engineer?

Most structural engineers have at least a Master’s degree in their field and a base in civil engineering.

  • Who pays for a structural engineer’s report?​

The person who hires the structural engineer generally pays, but if you contracted through an architect or builder, you are still liable for the fee.

  • Do I need a structural engineer to remove a wall?​

Only if the wall is load-bearing, in which case the structural engineer helps you determine the best course of action.

Cost to hire a structural engineer varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Structural Engineer with Helmet and Clipboard Ensuring the Stability of a Building
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Cost to hire a structural engineer varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources