How much does a structural engineer cost?
The structural engineer costs in this article are correct as of 2020
If you are undertaking a significant renovation project, whether building an extension or changing the layout of your home, you may need the services of a structural engineer to help assess how viable the project is. Structural engineers will be able to determine what changes you can make, what materials will need to be used, and how to make the building safe and structurally sound. This guide will tell you how much you can expect to pay to hire a structural engineer for your project.
Structural engineer costs
The cost of hiring a structural engineer will differ depending on the scope of the work and the size of the property. Typical reasons for hiring a structural engineer include carrying out a building survey, to assess the integrity of a property, or drawing up measurements for a loft conversion which can be used to inform an architect’s plans and all the subsequent building work.
As a baseline, structural engineers tend to charge around £50 to £90 per hour for their services. This will likely be at the higher end in London, and if the engineer works for a large firm rather than independently.
For a task such as producing a building survey, the size of the property will dictate the length of time it takes to assess and the overall price. Creating a survey for a small flat can cost around £200, but these costs to rise to around £2,000 for very large, detached homes.
Similarly, when drawing up plans for works, such as assessing the foundations needed for a new extension or the size of joists to be used, the scale of the overall project will play a large part in the overall costs. Larger projects can require multiple site visits as well as different iterations of drawings, so will naturally cost more. For a simple, single-storey extension being built on flat ground, a structural engineer’s fees might be around £400 - whereas for a more complex build, like a two-story extension which is built on sloping ground, fees can cost in excess of £2,000.
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Cost of planning permission and building regulation approval
When preparing plans, many structural engineers will submit them for building regulations, with the cost included in their overall fees or itemised for you to see individually.
Building regulations are the set of standards to which all new buildings must adhere. Upholding these standards is the responsibility of your local authority, and all projects that involve altering the structure of your home will require inspection and approval to ensure they meet the requirements.
To get building regulations approval you will either need to submit full plans for approval, or submit a building notice. Building notices are more common for smaller, simpler jobs, and consist of a basic application form and a fee. When the work takes place, the project will need to be inspected and signed off either by your local authority’s building control department directly, or an approved inspector. The fees involved vary depending on the size of the project, the number of inspections required, and the local authority involved. Fees to submit the application can vary from around £150 to £250, while the cost for inspections can be between £200 for a single visit, or up to £600 for multiple checks.
The costs are separate from the costs involved in applying for planning permission. Planning permission is required for lots of larger projects not covered by permitted development rights. The cost of a basic planning permission application in England for a new home currently set at £462. For an extension, it is £206. However, depending on your circumstances, these costs can increase, for example if permission is granted subject to conditions and you have to resubmit plans illustrating that the conditions are being met.