How much does a Structural Engineer cost?

A guide all about Structural Engineering fees

This guide (with an example case study) will give you a rough figure for your Structural Engineering cost budgeting requirements. To see how much your project is likely to cost in fees, look up your project type below, but also consider the factors affecting cost, and apply an adjustment to the estimates accordingly. 

Alternatively, if you are in a rush, why not request a free quote! 

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Building Survey Cost

Note: also know as a Structural Survey cost / Structural Engineer’s inspection cost)

The term “structural survey” is no longer used in the profession, as it can be misleading. One now has to choose between a “structural engineer’s inspection” and a “building survey”. The former is carried out by a Structural Engineer and deals only with structural matters, whereas the latter is a more general survey normally carried out by a chartered surveyor or architect for house purchases, and does not deal with structural matters in depth. If a building surveyor suspects a structural problem, he or she will recommend a structural engineer’s inspection, as he/she is often not qualified or insured to advise on structural matters.

Surveyors are normally RICS whereas structural engineers are MICE or MIStructE and often both. This section relates to Structural Engineers’ inspections only.

Note, some firms do not include the cost of a written report in the quoted fee, so be sure to check that this is included.

Typical defects might include:

  • Cracks or bulges in walls or wall / mortar erosion
  • Leaning walls or structures (eg. chimney stacks)
  • Ground movement or subsidence
  • Tree roots causing structural or drainage issues
  • Sagging or spreading roof
  • Stability of damaged building (e.g. fire damage)
  • Sloping floors
  • Cracked or sagging beams
  • Distorted doors or window frames

Estimated cost: £780-1,020 + VAT for site visit, consultation and full written report.

Structural design plans on paper

Structural Design costs

Estimated structural design costs below are for relatively small design projects and not, for example, a new building or structure designed from scratch for a new green-field site (as these require more bespoke pricing arrangements).

  • Building a small extension or modifying an existing structure
  • Designing a beam when knocking through a wall
  • For removing a column
  • For removing a chimney breast
  • Installing modified doors, windows or roof structures, (e.g. solar panels)

Estimated cost: £650-2,250, which includes site visit(s), calculations and drawing(s) + VAT, total £780-2,700.

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Expert Witness fees

This is the fee charged by a Structural Engineer for providing structural guidance and opinion in a legal dispute, often between a builder or another structural engineer and the client. Note that fees for this type of work can vary enormously, depending on the quantity and complexity of documents to be reviewed, the number of sites or people to visit, the amount of research required, the number and length of Court appearances etc. These figures are therefore subject to quite drastic changes!

Estimated fee if the case doesn’t go to court: £2,800 for consultancy + set of reports + VAT – total £3,360.

Estimated fee if the case goes to court: £5,600-£7,000 for court time + consultancy + set of reports + VAT – total £6,720-8,400

Expert witness in court

Factors affecting cost estimates Above


Chartered vs. Non-Chartered engineers

Being Chartered means the Structural Engineer has achieved the benchmark of technical excellence set by the Institution of Structural Engineers or the Institution of Civil Engineers. Think of it like sending your children to a school that has an “Outstanding” Ofsted rating: it will give you peace of mind that you are in good hands with matters affecting the people closest to you.

If you are going to make changes to your home, which is a very heavy structure, it is sensible to put that job into the hands of someone who has reached the main industry benchmark of quality. It may carry a small premium, but most lenders, banks and building societies insist on employing Chartered Structural Engineers.


Size and complexity of the project

The Structural Engineer cost component of your design project could cost £250 if it is a very simple lintel over a doorway (e.g. if you’re widening it for bi-fold doors), or it could be £3,000 if you are building a multi-room extension.

Type of Structural Engineering company

Small one-person companies are likely to charge lower Structural Engineering fees, whereas large chains might have more overheads and may pass these costs onto the customer accordingly.


Travel expenses

For example, if you live in a very remote area, there may not be too many local Structural Engineers to choose from, so you may need to factor in travel expenses. This is why it’s good if you find an engineer close to your project site of you can. This carries the added benefit that they will have more experience with the local ground type, suppliers, tradespeople and local authorities. See our branch locations as we may be close to you!


Premium location

You may see a rise in the cost if the project is in somewhere like central London or other major cities.



The Structural Engineer report cost might not always be included, but the report is often required for safety compliance, regulation or project sign-off. Be sure to ask if this is included.



Obviously you should check whether or not your Structural Engineer costs includes VAT.

Can you haggle with Structural Engineers?

There is no law against negotiating on price with a Structural Engineer, but it is not a commonly accepted practice, just as it’s not often common practice to haggle with other professionals such as dentists or accountants. Therefore it is broadly unlikely that you will get a favourable response if you ask for a lower price!

Payment terms

It is not uncommon for Structural Engineers to ask for a proportion of their fees to be paid upon booking or at the time of their visit to the site. This may be 50% and can be as high as 100%.

If you employ the same Structural Engineer on a regular basis, it is reasonable to request your own payment terms on account of the repeat business. In this case, you could request to pay 100% of the invoice within 30 or 45 days of the final submission of drawings, calculations or report.

Structural engineer at work

Get a free quote from a Structural Engineer

Click this button to request a free quote from one of our registered Structural Engineers for your project.

Case study: domestic extension design project (with fees)

A couple living in a mid-terrace house in a small town want to extend their kitchen to create an open plan kitchen/diner. Above it, they will build an additional bedroom with an en suite bathroom, and above that, the roof will need to be extended. Many of their neighbours have done similar extensions so they believe they will get planning permission. They appoint an architectural technician and builder, who both agree to do the job and the architectural technician prepares drawings.

However, the builder tells them they will also need to appoint a Structural Engineer because it will involve knocking out a large percentage of the backside of their house and installing steel beams. As well as supporting the weight of the structure above, the builder also needs to know how wide the supporting nibs need to be at either end of the beam, whether the foundations underneath the nibs will need strengthening and whether there may be any lateral forces at play during or after the project, which might affect the roof or the rest of the house.

A local Structural Engineer is identified and selected and comes down to inspect the site. The engineer discusses the project and drawings with the client and the builder before going away and preparing a set of calculations and a report. The report includes considerations for building regulations, which the client will need to show to the local authority.

The couple only want to consider Chartered Structural Engineers, so they might pay a small premium for this. The Engineer is from a medium-sized firm, so they shouldn’t charge very high fees, and the couple also don’t live in a national premium location like a large city centre. The Engineer is relatively local and their project is relatively straightforward, so they are not expecting very high fees, nor significant travel expenses. However, they do need a set of calculations and drawings for the local authority. They also require the Structural Engineer to return to site during the demolition phase for added peace of mind that none of the rest of the building was being affected by the works.

The quote they received was as follows:


Site visit, drawings & calculations: £2,500

Return site visit during construction (optional): £350

Sub-total: £2,850

VAT: £570


Total: £3,420

Abbott Holliday Partnership is a team of highly experienced and Chartered Structural Engineers spread out over London and the South-East, providing a local service with local knowledge. As well as being Chartered, our engineers also hold M.I.Struct.E., M.I.C.E., F.I.Struct.E, F.I.C.E., and M.I.H.T qualifications. The firm offers services in structural design and analysis; surveys, inspections and reports and expert witness in litigation.

The practice is backed by £2M professional indemnity cover and in 35 years of trading, we have not had a single claim. Please contact us to find a structural engineer or civil engineer in your area, or to have an initial discussion about your requirements.