Is $100 per hour the going rate for engineers these days?

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Hello, this is sort of part 2 of a recent post. I'm that owner/builder who is building a house that employs a lot of commercial techniques. I finally got a formal estimate from an engineer: 90 hrs @ $100 per hour. I thought I was going to save a bunch of money by doing all the labor myself, but now I'm facing a big engineering bill.
I've never employed an engineer before, hence my question. I realize these guys have to wait for clients to come to them, and that he probably doesn't make $100 x 40 x 52 = $208K per year, but still I want to get a good rate.
This is a rural area in NC. I have maybe 3 engineers in the area to choose from --many more in a city about 30 miles away. I will be calling some of those with my story on Monday, but I want to hear from non-engineers as well what they think.
What bothers me too is that the contract is rather open ended as far as what can be billed. Understood --who can predict what the building dept will require down the road. I guess being able to stomach the risk goes with the territory.
--zeb
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Hi, What kind of (professional?)engineers? Civil? Mechanical? Compared to lawyers 100.00 does not seem to be out of line. In my working days, I charged 250.00/hr. minimum two hours plus T&L. That was in the '90s. I am an EE with digital systems back.
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This guy is a structural engineer.
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This is just an opinion. The rate sounds like a fair one for a licensed professional. Provided he is actually and actively working on your project for the time billed.
The open ended nature of the contract would bother me. It would also be a good idea to discuss what constitutes billable time. If he is thinking about your project as he drives home are you billed for the time? Don't laugh I know lawyers who do it this way.
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote:

With a lot of lawyers they don't even have to be thinking about you to bill you for their time...
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It doesn't sound out of line to me. I'd make sure I got bill or time statements regularly so you can see how much progress is being made and how much you owe. You don;t want to leave the meter running and get a bill months later for an amount you never expected.
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Yeah, had a lawyer once and we asked for a detail listing of the time he had worked for us, and found that he had charged us for his sales pitch which was before we decided to hire him.

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Last time I used a lawyer, it was to get rid of my ex wife once and for all. He charged me $800, and did what I think amounted to two hours of work.
He was an idiot. I would have given him twice as much.
Steve
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A lot of lawyers will give a "free initial consultation" and if you don't hire them, they don't charge, but if you hire them, then they charge for that consultation.

licensed
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thinking
Don't
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

My plumber gets $100/hour. It's dependent on where you live, but the rate is definitely not out of line, regardless.

I think you did. The question is are the numbers of hours a realistic estimate? That's hard to tell without seeing what you gave the guy to work with.
BTW, a good engineer doesn't usually wait for clients to come to them. It's the same as contractors - the good ones have a waiting list.

You will definitely need site supervision from the sound of it. Factor that in before you build in an hour commute for each site visit.

It shouldn't be open ended as far as what can be billed. The only real variable is time.
If you have a complex house, want it done right, and want someone to offer some protection, it's probably not a good place to start squeezing.
R
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I was dead wrong. I re-read the contract and what you said is the case.
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WHY WOULD ANYONE HIRE A ENGINEER TO BUILD A HOUSE, CONSULT WITH A BUILDER IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE AND SAVE SOME BUCKS OR BETTER YET, BUY LOTS OF BEER AND GET YOUR FRIENDS OVER TO HELP OUT. YOU WON'T EVEN NEED FRIENDS IF THERES BEER THERE. HELL, PULL UP TO A HOUSE PROJECT AND TELL'EM THE BEERS ON YOU TO HELP OUT WITH THE HOUSE. DON'T PAY SOME NUMNUTS WHOSE NEVER HAD A HAMMER IN HIS HANDS TO TELL YOU SOMETHING YOU'RE NOT EVEN CAPABLE OF DOING ANYWAY...GO AHEAD AND HIRE THE DAMN BUILDER DUMMY.
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If you read what the OP wants to do, you'd know why he NEEDS an engineer, not just a builder. Builders build, but engineers tell them what is needed so it does not fall down. .
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Hi, If a good builder and he thinks he has to consult with a sutructural enginner or soil engineer, whoever, he will go to them to get the proper guidance to build properly.
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Tony Hwang wrote:

You've got it backwards. You can't get a building permit without sealed drawings. You can't get bids until you have drawings.
There are design/build firms that will do the whole thing for you, but not every builder provides that service, nor wants to.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

Hi, How come? I had a plan(blue print) my builder thought he needs structural engineer's input. He looked at it, revised it. Builder took out a permit and we had our addition completed. Inspector passed everything. BTW, I had original blue print for the house as well.
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Tony Hwang wrote:

An addition is a smaller project than a house and the engineering of it is usually straightforward. A non-typical house such as the OP's, utilizing commercial construction, is a different matter. There is nothing wrong in selecting a builder before the engineer, but some builder's would not want to be responsible for the engineering or selection of the engineer.
Since the OP will be his own contractor, it's moot. He needs to have drawings for the permit, so he needs an engineer sooner rather than later.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

Hmmm, The addition I was doing involved tearing down half of house vertically and horizontally. If one wants to be own general contractor he better know all aspects of building trades(more or less 40 different ones) from start to finish.
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Lots of people can build a whole house. It really isn't that hard if you have the money and TIME. You can usually save money, but it's usually going to take you A LOT longer than a professional. For the amount of time it takes a non-professional to do something, they can usually get a real job, hire a professional, and still come out ahead.

proper
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Now THAT'S an intelligent answer!
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