Residential Architect & Engineer Cost Guides

Architects cost about $5,300, or between $2,000 and $9,400. Landscape architects cost about $2,350, and you’ll pay an additional $1,310 to test soil. A draftsperson costs about $1,800, while a building permit costs around $1,315. Land surveyors and structural engineers cost around $500. Together, these pros help with everything from minor remodels to the full construction of a new home. Ultimately, what you pay depends on the size, location, age and condition of your home as well as the scope and complexity of your project.

Find out how much your project will cost.

Wondering which pro to hire? Architects blend creativity and science to design an attractive, thoughtful layout for your house. Engineers focus on functionality, including plumbing and electrical planning, and the overall safety of a structure. Often times, the two pros will work together to bring your dream home to life.

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  • Hire a Structural Engineer
    National Average $506
    Typical Range $342 - $714
    Low End - High End $200 - $1,375
  • Hire a Land Surveyor
    National Average $513
    Typical Range $347 - $680
    Low End - High End $200 - $1,005
  • Hire an Architect
    National Average $5,694
    Typical Range $1,967 - $9,427
    Low End - High End $600 - $44,000

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Architects & Engineers
Hire a Structural Engineer
(3,844 projects)
$506 Average National Cost
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Architects & Engineers
Hire a Land Surveyor
(3,692 projects)
$513 Average National Cost
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Architects & Engineers
Hire an Architect
(1,291 projects)
$5,694 Average National Cost
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Architects & Engineers
Build a House
(665 projects)
$286,636 Average National Cost
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Architects & Engineers
Hire a Draftsperson
(417 projects)
$1,744 Average National Cost
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Architects & Engineers
Get a Building Permit
(104 projects)
$1,312 Average National Cost
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Architects & Engineers
Hire a Landscape Architect
(60 projects)
$2,399 Average National Cost
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Architects & Engineers
Test Soil
(43 projects)
$1,360 Average National Cost
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House Engineer Cost Per Hour

Structural engineers cost between $100 and $150 per hour. Soil engineers cost between $500 and $1,000, and identify issues related to the ground your project stands on. You might consider seeing a local government soil engineer to save some money. Depending on the project, it might be better to hire a land surveyor.

Your architect will let you know if you need an engineer and may be able to suggest where you can find one. If you already know you need one, you can find a structural engineer near you.

Typical Residential Structural Engineering Fees

Homeowners usually pay between $350 and $500 in structural engineering fees. Your general contractor or architect will often help find and hire this type of pro to assist with your project.

Engineering Consultant Hourly Rates

Engineering consultants typically charge between $125 and $200 per hour. If you work with a large consulting firm, you can expect to pay more.

Freelance Engineer Rates

Generally, freelance engineers charge between $75 and $200 per hour. What you’ll pay depends on factors like the pro’s experience level and specific area of expertise. 

Soil Engineers & Testing

Soil engineers & testing are an important part of the building process, whether you’re working on a new house, addition or detached garage.

Pre-construction soil testing helps identify potential issues to prevent major problems. Serious hazards this pro helps with include earthquake activity, water and landslides, as well as identifying compressible and expansive soils. Any one of these issues can cause the total loss of a structure, and experts with soil testing services near you can help you identify what you may be at risk for. Testing helps the pro make recommendations related to: 

  • Septic systems
  • Grading
  • Earth support
  • Drainage
  • Foundation design
  • Site remediation

What Should I Hire an Engineer For?

There are several home projects you need to hire an engineer for. Generally speaking, it’s a legal requirement, and not optional, for the following major changes and projects. These range in cost from $3,000 to $313,300.

Additional projects you may need an engineer for include soil testing, projects involving MEP drawings and pool engineering. Finally, you’ll need a pro if you have a unique or non-standard project that requires engineer stamping.

Cost of Residential Architect

Usually, architects cost between $2,015 and $9,050. They may charge an hourly fee from $70 to $250, depending on their level of experience and expertise. However, they often charge a percentage of the total construction cost, which can range anywhere from 5% to 20%. Either way, this pro should be able to save you money during construction. When you find and hire an architect, be sure that you get a very detailed bid that includes what your pro will do for you and how often you can expect to communicate with them.

Architect Fee Structure
Fee TypeAverage Cost
Hourly$70 - $250
Percentage of project5% – 20%
Per square foot$2 - $10
Overall project price$2,020 - $8,580

If your project is limited in scope, you may encounter a fee structure at an architectural firm that looks like this:

  • Principal: $150-$250 per hour.
  • Project Manager: $125 per hour.
  • Intern Architect II: $90 per hour.
  • Intern Architect I: $70 per hour.

The Principal is the overseer of the entire architectural firm, while a project manager has 10 years of experience and handles multiple projects. An intern Architect II has 6 to 8 years of experience, while an Intern Architect I is less experienced, with 3 to 5 years on the job. 

There are additional fee structures you may encounter when hiring this type of pro. Learn more about how much an architect costs, and how they charge, before you hire.

Landscape Architects

A landscape architect charges about $2,340, or between $890 and $3,010. You’ll hire this type of licensed pro for help designing the natural landscape around a home. Their expertise goes deeper than just the placement of shrubbery or walkways. They bring a completely personalized touch to an outdoor space, bringing it to life by bending it to your needs – whether that’s backyard barbecues or birdwatching.

When Should I Hire an Architect?

This type of pro helps homeowners visualize and execute a dream remodel, addition or new construction. Their extensive training, vision and expertise help create a dynamic space that works best for you and your family. Find architects near you to discuss the specifics of your project. You can also familiarize yourself with questions to ask an architect before hiring them.

Land Surveyors

The cost to hire a land surveyor typically ranges from $345 to $675. Cost factors include the lot size, the geographic location of your property and the age of the lot. These experts are professionally certified and provide legally binding documentation regarding the exact boundaries of your property lines. This can save you time and money in the future if there are ever any legal disputes over land.

Draftspeople & Drafting Service

The cost to hire a draftsperson usually falls between $825 and $2,700. These pros are in charge of taking the plans of an engineer or existing designs, and creating technical house plans for your general contractor to follow. Find and hire a draftsperson for smaller projects that don’t require the expertise and licensure of an architect.

FAQ

Do I need a structural engineer to build a house?

Yes, you likely need a structural engineer to build a house. Learn more about what structural engineers do and how to find residential services.

Do I need an architect or engineer for my project?

You need an architect if you’re looking for a personalized and creative plan. They are sensitive to land conservation, environmental issues and familiar with applicable building codes and zoning regulations. They work for you as your agent and can help you in bid evaluation and selecting a contractor. They can even manage your project for you!

You need an engineer if you’re more interested in functionality. They use scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions. They design materials, structures and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, safety and costs. If you hire an engineer, you may also need to find a draftsperson near you, who can create a technical plan for your general contractor to follow.

How much is the cost of civil engineering services?

Civil engineering services typically cost between $65 and $200 per hour.

How much does it cost to become an engineer?

It costs anywhere from $80,000 to $200,000 or more to become an engineer in the United States. Engineering roles typically require at least a bachelor’s degree. Others require a master’s degree. Engineers typically make between $65,000 and $170,000 per year.

How much does it cost to become an architect?

It costs anywhere from $80,000 to $200,000 or more to become an architect. Like engineers, architects are required to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in their field. Others go on to earn master’s degrees. Academia work requires a doctorate degree. Architects make between $46,000 and $130,000 per year.