Fair price for professional engineer to make permit drawings?

14 Replies

Does anyone have experience with paying an hourly rate for a professional engineer to make necessary permit drawings in Ohio? I am looking for site drawings and complete sets of drawings of the plans and specifications. I need to have someone with a design seal, and an architect would be even more.

I am renovating a commercial multifamily apartment complex. It has 2700 square feet on the 1st floor, 2700 square feet on the second floor, an attic of 200 square feet, and a basement of 1000 square feet. 

My scope of working is a full gut. Demo all the drywall out, remediate mold, complete reshingle of roof, replace all windows, replace all outside soffit/fascia/dormers, replace all siding, repipe whole house, rewire whole house, redo all mechanicals such as hvac, redo all interior and exterior doors, paint interior and exterior, replace any framing or insulation damaged by mold/water leaks, replace all gutters, minor landscaping, minor outside repair of concrete wall, install all new cabinets, install all new countertops, replace everything in 6 kitchens, replace everything in 6 bathrooms, install handrails,  install significant flooring and minor subfloor repairs, and install all trim in house.

Project will cost around 150,000$.

What would be fair for this? 40$/ hour?

Updated 3 months ago

This would be in the Columbus market

Be more specific about what you need for the site work.  Also why do you need drawings for the house if you're not moving walls or expanding?  In my area engineers are well over $100 an hour.

It is a commercial property, not residential. On the first floor, where the previous owner converted 2 units into 1 by putting a door where there used to be a wall. I will have to seal up the door, and framing out and install a stairway leading to the outside, and cut out a door. This will make the last unit viable.

Minimum drawing requirements include, but are not limited to:

Bear the seal of a register design professional, in compliance with Sections 33791.01, 4703.12, and 4733.14 of the Ohio Revised code.

Plans shall be drawn to scale and shall be sufficiently clear, comprehensive, detailed, and legible so that a determination can be made for conformance with all of the applicable provisions of the currently adopted codes.

Mechanical plans: unit types and sizes, system layout, ventilation requirements, and provisions, and control system diagram.

Electrical plans: riser diagram including provisions for grounding, panel board schedules, lighting plan(s) and circuiting, power plan(s) and circuiting, and special systems plans.

Energy calculations.

Provide a site plan showing to scale the size and location of new contruction and all existing structures on the site, including setback and side yard dimensions, all property and interior lot lines, distances from lot lines, the locations of the nearest streets, the established street grades, types and sizes of all utility lines and the elevations of the proposed finished grades; drawn in accordance with an accurate boundary line survey.

Submit plumbing plans and details that locate and describe all fixtures, fixture schedules, and show compliance to handicapped accessibility. Inlcude drawing symbol designation information. Provide primary and secondary roof drainage information. 

@Brian Phillips  Are you kidding with $40 an hour ?   Thats the rate a landscaper charges for a laborer . In my area , you would be looking at $175 an hour . A good civil engineer can make a project happen , they know the ins and outs of the permit process and they know what the permit office wants . They also the local politicians , and what buttons to push .  

I'm talking about negotiated rate. Not retail. Retail is probably up there in my area. I'm not looking to pay retail. I know that means I will have to find someone who is willing to do nonretail work. Average professional engineer hourly wage is 38$/hour in Ohio. I am not talking about a 1 time consultation fee from an engineer that is something like 100-200$/hour.

Hi @Brian Phillips . That hourly rate seems low. If engineers in Ohio are truly averaging 38/hour, I worry about the entire profession. The scope of work you describe is robust and will take many hours to complete. Lastly I not sure what you mean by non-retail. All professionals will have a number that going below won't pencil out. I doubt anyone would discount their fee 50% to 150%.  But if they did, I suspect you would be getting exactly what you paid for. The better the drawings/design professional the easier the bidding, construction, and interactions with the building department will be. Skimp on finishes, not on professionals. 

Best, 

Aaron

@Aaron Schump Thanks for your insight. I am really trying to figure out how much time it would take someone to do all these drawings, too. And I'm not asking someone to discount their fee; just finding people willing to work at a fair, non inflated rate.

Same would be that I normally pay around 180-200/square for roofing reshingle in my area for a qualified, insured, bonded roofer with roofing insurance. I can have people come out and quote 400-500/square all day (high end retail). That doesn't mean that I should accept that rate. Same thing with engineers quoting 100-150$/hr. My brother and his wife are both professional engineers in Ohio ( not in the area of the property, and I wouldn't want to involve family in this anyways, just not worth it) and he makes 55$/hr working for an oil company and she makes 42$/hr working for a bridge design company. He previously made around 45$/hr working for a utility company. I don't think it is unfair to be expecting to find an engineer to work for in the 40-60$/hr range for this design. An architect would be much more, like 60-120$/hr, and would forcus more or decorative and unnecessary features. 

I have  1,600 sq.ft. office. I hired an architect to draw up a renovation/expansion totaling approximately 1,000 sq.ft. with a new roof design and some exterior touches like sidewalk and landscaping. The plans cost me over $2,000.


Disclaimer: I am an architect, but I am not YOUR architect. I am not giving professional advice only general information. Contact a local architect/engineer for a detailed consultation specific to your project/locale.

I think you're missing the point that @Matthew Paul is making. There's no way a professional engineer with overhead, insurance and profit is going to charge $38/hr. @Aaron Schump & @Jay M.  touched on this. That's an unsustainable business that will drive itself into a hole. And there's no such thing as retail fee vs non retail fee. It's all about the scope of work and breadth of experience that engineer has. If you mean that you want a rate based on on-going use then that's a different animal but that's totally up the engineer's discretion. Typically you want a proposal which encompasses a fixed fee to cover all your requirements, otherwise a proposal with all hourly scope is expensive without a cap. It could literally charge for every single thing, some which you may not know that you need.  

Also, I'd like to ask why is it you feel an architect would be more? From what you've described it seems like more of an architect's domain being the overseer and organizer of the scope you need and bringing in the other disciplines you will need. In my jurisdiction, an RA can seal this work as much as a PE. Specialty engineers tend to be more per hour than architect for their precise knowledge. For a project of this nature, I would never recommend hiring a civil engineer unless they are very dynamic otherwise they will not see the bigger picture of the project, and usually aren't established to take on a project of your type with many other non-civil disciplines. 

Architects here hover at $175-$250/hr +/-. I've had engineers at as much as $275-$300/hr. But this doesn't mean that a well established scope of work put into a proposal couldn't give you all that your project requires for around 5%-10% of the construction cost. 

Bottom Line: I don't know if your reasoning is that you think you will save money but I think you're limiting yourself by asking specifically for an engineer and to utilize them hourly. Search for valid design professionals doing similar projects. Then give out your scope of work and talk over ways to achieve your project goal with that qualified engineer/architect.    

Jared Smith, RA 

@Brian Phillips Happy to help! Keep in mind that pay is different from the billing rate. For instance, if your brother is being paid 55/hr his billable rate is double if not triple. All the overhead is baked into the billable rate. So 100-150 is probably about right for billable rate. That being said there will be some differences in the price among professionals, but not half the price of their competitors. 

It seems like you do not understand the value that you are getting from your professionals. It is not about how much "time" it will take them, but rather what is the value of their work. 

You are proposing a very robust scope of work (much of which I would question the AHJ about for an interior remodel, but advocacy is also expensive). A good thing to remember in our industry is that the lowest price is not the lowest cost. 

In my experience it is worth it to pay for the process to be smooth and right rather than fast and dirty. BTW, engineers here are well over $200/hr, but will not give you a "hourly" price on anything but "additional services" and architects are the same.

@Brian Phillips  . Unless you have an established relationship with engineers or architects , expect to pay retail . Now when you start spending 50k and up with them the prices may drop a bit .  Once an engineer puts his stamp on drawings , he is responsible . They have the credentials and they charge accordingly . 

Originally posted by @Mike Garrett :

It seems like you do not understand the value that you are getting from your professionals. It is not about how much "time" it will take them, but rather what is the value of their work. 

You are proposing a very robust scope of work (much of which I would question the AHJ about for an interior remodel, but advocacy is also expensive). A good thing to remember in our industry is that the lowest price is not the lowest cost. 

In my experience it is worth it to pay for the process to be smooth and right rather than fast and dirty. BTW, engineers here are well over $200/hr, but will not give you a "hourly" price on anything but "additional services" and architects are the same.

There is structural work being done on a commercial property. That requires a design professional who can seal work (an architect or professional engineer). There is no getting around that.

 

@Brian Phillips

I would start with an architect for the project.   Let the architect get the engineers needed for the project.   From your list, its clear you will need Mechanical and Electrical engineers. You could use 10% (6 to 15%) of the construction cost to get a back of a napkin calculation.  This will give you a rough idea.

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