So you want to add a quick addition to your house, or maybe put in that pool your kids have been begging for. You start shopping around and quickly realize, engineering design and drawings do not come cheap. However, this is not a step you can skip, and not just because the building department might catch you. Engineering design is a critical step in the building process. Structural engineers assess many factors, including soil types, bearing pressures, wind loads, connections, and material strengths. With so much critical data, engineers must know all their facts and all the codes in order to design a structures that is going to last and be worth the time and expense of constructing it. So what is the general experience with the cost of engineering? And what is driving those prices up?

According to a structural engineer will cost you on average $499. What does this $499 get you? A site visit and a verbal opinion. This charge is most common when a homeowner has questions about load bearing walls, foundation issues, and new additions. The fees start to go up when you actually need drawings. There are three ways that ORB quotes for drawings:

  1. A percentage of the full cost of construction
  2. A dollar amount per a square foot
  3. An estimation of the hours spent on each project

According to HomeAdvisor, drawings can cost you $100-$130 per hour, and for the bigger more complex projects, those hours can add up fast. They also advise that a good assumption is that engineering will cost at least 8%, if not more, of the total renovation costs of the project. with these numbers it is easy to see how the fees go up.

So where do all those fees go? Well, at least 45% of an engineering budget goes straight towards the drawings. Each drawings must be individually designed for the project at hand which takes time by the drafters. Also, drawings require data analysis and calculations to ensure the beams and members being used will be adequate to stand the test of time. A portion of the budget also goes towards covering time spent in the field, assessing a structure, and time spent in the office, researching the best methods for designing, especially on complex projects. The longer, more complex projects will always incur more costs and time than the shorter simpler ones.

Of course, there are other circumstances where the cost of engineering is a great deal. For example, the quick turn around time and personalized services provided by ORB Engineering make the charges worthwhile. And ORB does it’s best to stay competitive and reasonably priced in the ever-growing market. Also, no one can put a price on the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is structurally sound and will last.

More to come soon.

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