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Price Guide: Typical Fees to Hire Civil Engineers for Your Project

Last Updated: December 19, 2023

A civil engineer is tasked with the planning of cities, towns, bridges, sewer systems, electrical systems, etc.

He or she is primarily involved in public works projects. But,they can also be hired for consultations by private firms.

Large apartment building complexes and municipal buildings are also under a civil engineers scope of work. There are many subdivisions of civil engineering. Most include:

  • Transportation – Designs highway and road systems, bridges, airports, traffic interchanges, onramps and off-ramps.
  • Utilities – Designs water, sewer and electrical systems for cities, towns, and building complexes.
  • Water Treatment – Designs sewage plants, dams, water treatment plants and delivery systems for fresh and wastewater.
  • City Planner – Designs roadways, traffic signs and lights, residential, industrial and commercial areas.

A civil engineer must be hired in all cases above due to state and federal laws. Their training involves extensive knowledge of physics, geometry and load bearing capabilities.

How Much Does Hiring a Civil Engineer Cost? #

When building or renovating your home, hiring a civil engineer for structural evaluations, property analysis, plans and permits typically costs:

On-Site Evaluation & Consultation

  • Basic inspection: $400 - $800
  • Complex project: $600 - $1,500

Engineering Plans & Blueprints

  • Drainage plans: $800 - $2,000
  • Home addition design: $1,500 - $3,500
  • Grading plans: $1,200 - $4,000

Permit Process Help

  • Permit application assistance: $300 - $800
  • Permit qualification services: $800 - $1,500

Additional Engineering Tasks

  • Soil testing: $300 - $1,000
  • Structural analysis: $800 - $2,500

Hourly Engineering Fees

  • Licensed Professional: $100 - $250 per hour

Most residential civil engineering services range from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the size of the home and complexity of the project. Property surveys also have additional costs.

Civil Engineer Cost

Real-World Civil Engineering Service Costs #

Here are some real-world quotes from people on how much they paid to hire civil engineers:

  • "I hired a structural engineer to evaluate and design a steel beam replacement that would allow us to open up a wall. It cost $1,200." - James T., Ohio

  • "I needed grading and drainage plans drawn up for my new home build. Paid an engineer $3,500 to survey and create the plans." - Anne B., Texas

  • "Hired an engineer to create stamped blueprints for adding a second story addition. Paid $2,800 for the custom plans." - Kevin R., Pennsylvania

  • "Needed an engineer to check that my concrete foundation could support a planned room addition. The analysis and report was $600." - Olivia S., Maryland

  • "Paid a civil engineer $1,500 to do soil testing and create a drainage plan for a retaining wall and patio we're adding." - Noah P., Arizona

  • "I hired an engineer at $175/hour for 5 hours to inspect a creek erosion issue on my land and propose reinforcement solutions." - Emma C., Nevada

As you can see, hiring a civil engineer ranges from $600 to analyze a specific structural issue to $3,500+ for large residential plans. Home improvement projects often cost $1,200 to $2,800.

When Do You Need to Hire a Civil Engineer? #

You typically need to hire a civil engineer for residential projects in the following situations:

New Home Construction

  • To survey property and create grading, drainage and foundation plans
  • For structural design if building a custom, unique or complex home

Additions & Expansions

  • If adding a second story or large addition to validate structural integrity
  • To create stamped plans to submit for permits if doing a major addition

Major Renovations

  • If renovating an older home and moving or changing structural elements
  • If concerned about structural soundness and ability to handle changes

Grading & Drainage Changes

  • For hillside properties or significant grading alterations
  • When installing a pool, retaining wall or large landscape changes

Permit Applications

  • For complex zoning applications or subdivision proposals
  • If permits were initially denied and engineering validation is needed

Any residential project involving major structural modifications, permit submissions or substantial property alterations has potential to require a licensed civil engineer's involvement. They ensure safety and code compliance.


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