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Structural Engineer Fees


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By Bryan in San Jose, CA on 11/23/2004


Does anyone have some information about fees for a structural engineer? I live in California, so I'm expecting it'll be considerably higher than elsewhere, although a ballpark figure would be nice. I have a few long spans that will need beams sized and code requires that footings be designed by an engineer also.
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By John in Erie, CO on 11/23/2004


I had my structurals done, in CO (expensive, but not quite  as high as CA) and it ran me about $2,400. For this I got

- Stamped footing/foundation design and plan/drawings
- Open hole inspection (to verify soils report/foundation design/soil match)
- Spec'ing beams, spans, interior footings, and rebar schedules for walls
- Locating bearing walls, spec'ing headers and blocking for those walls

Hope this helps.

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By Jeff in Henderson, NV on 11/24/2004


Here in Las Vegas, NV I have received quotes in the neighborhood of $.50-$.90 per square foot under roof (not living space). That is for a fairly simple single-story home. That includes spec'ing the headers, beams, footing sizes, and shear wall nailing and locations. That does not include any soils testing or foundation inspections (that's done separately by a soils/foundation engineer)

My neighbor across the street is doing a fairly complex two-story Victorian 3,600 sf and he paid $5,000 for structural engineering.

-Jeff


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By Peter in Gilford, NH on 1/12/2005


I did the CAD work myself and then hired an engineer to review. It cost me $200, which included two meetings. 

P.S. Boston area.


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By Peter in Gilford, NH on 1/12/2005


I forgot... If you use engineered products such as I Joists, they will do the engineering for free.

Peter


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By Tom in Yosemite, CA on 1/14/2005


Bryan is in CA., which means that location means everything.

One hour from here, in an area of relative seismic risk (zone 3, same as me) and low snow load requirement (whereas I have 120 psf), you can build without engineering. You just use the ICBO standard values and the county will approve you on plan check.

Up where I am, no way - wet stamp required. The standard values just can't deal with 120 psf snow load and probably not with seismic zone 4 either.

If you do need a wet stamp on your plans, then you need a CA professional engineer licensed by the state. I've had two engineers quote me $2/sf and $2.50/sf. The neighbor had his plans designed and engineered for $4/sf. Since designers have told me they charge about $1.25/sf, I would say that still puts you in the $2.** range.

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By Bryan in San Jose, CA on 1/17/2005


Thanks for your replies, everyone. I've budgeted $8K for structural fees whereas previously I had just a fraction of that. I am curious though, I have not heard of a sf basis for structural engineering fees. Is that something the engineers have been quoting or a number derived from their quote? I know exactly what I need, 7 beams, footings, and a rebar schedule, maybe that is why I am not being quoted on a sf basis?


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By Jeff in Provo, UT on 1/17/2005


My engineer asked to be paid based on number of beams. He had a $200 minimum with $50/per beam charge, so my total was $250. 

The engineering costs in my area (Utah) are very inexpensive.


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By Peter in Gilford, NH on 1/17/2005


Bryan,

Are you using dimensional lumber, steel or engineered lumber for your beams? Except for dimensional lumber, most companies that provide beams will do the engineering for free. Have you contacted any of the suppliers of these products in your area to see if they will do the engineering for you? If not, hold on to your cash and contact them first.

My two cents...

Peter

P.S. The same is true for floor, roof and heating systems. They will usually provide a wet stamp if required.


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By Danny in Livermore, CA on 2/13/2005


I live just north of you in Alameda County and your figure of $8K seem to be on the high side. I've worked with structural engineers doing calcs on a new custom house and they are charging between $4K and $6K. This includes foundation calcs, shear wall, floor framing and roof framing calcs.


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By Bryan in San Jose, CA on 3/7/2005


I am using Glulams. I didn't know the companies provide engineering for them, I will have to check that out. Thanks for the information. I am planning to build in seismic zone 4 so everything structural will most likely have to be wet stamped, correct?


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By Jim in Plumas Lake, CA on 10/19/2005


I did not get to plan check, because we tried to submit the bare minimum requirement and planned to upgrade it later (I needed the permit deposit receipt to close my loan). The county didn't accept the plans for plan check. And because I'm building with SIPs, I have to have all the engineering. I have no idea what it's going to cost. I am out of cash and was counting on using the loan money for the engineering but now I have to come up the engineering before I can close the loan. Really in a bind.

Does anyone know if I can get cheap engineering, since I already have the energy calcs, design, and CAD? All I need is the SIP roof/SIP wall/ridge beam/concrete/ and floor truss numbers and two wet stamps. Can I do it for under $1,000? (Small house - 1,000 sf in northern California.)


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By Lori in Reno, NV on 10/22/2005


Have you tried using O-B Connections as a resource? It is a great page and you are able to find other O-B's in your area.
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By Danny in Livermore, CA on 10/22/2005


If you're using manufactured roof trusses, the manufacturer will provide you the calcs; the same thing goes for floor. Having the (title-24) energy calcs done does not effect engineering, but   the 2005 set of regulations will effect your electrical drawings, especially the kitchen lighting requirements. Also before you get the final sign-off, you'll need the HVAC ducts pressure-tested and have to pass a certain leak rate.


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By Jim in Plumas Lake, CA on 10/22/2005


Thanks, I am checking with another engineer who is familiar with SIPs to get an estimate. The energy calcs were done per the new rules, but that is a good point for those of us building in California. (The fireplace rules are strict now, too - EPA phase II - three times more expensive.) 

I don't have any ducts, as it is a small cottage with baseboard heat. My plan now is to just move forward until I either run out of money or, if it's too over budget getting started - then I won't build. The lot by itself is appreciating so fast it doesn't need a house on it.

I hadn't heard about the kitchen lighting. (I'll need to find out what that's all about. (Fellow Californians...who is making all these arbitrary rules anyway? Is this something we asked for... for the state to tell us how to light our kitchens?)


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