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#014 Design Consultants


During the design phase there are various consultants that must be utilized to assist in the formation of a new or remodeled building. As projects and permitting processes become more complex it is necessary to combine the forces of various design professionals and engineers. In today’s blog post, I am going to give a brief overview and a very rough price for the design consultants an architect works with to design a simple single family residence.


SURVEYOR

An official stamped survey is required by most county and city jurisdictions to submit for a building permit. The survey will record precise locations of property lines, house location (if a current house exists), topography, utilities, trees, wetlands, roads, driveways, easements and many other important items. This survey is a critical tool for an architect to establish important parameters for building a new home or remodeling and existing home.

One important example for remodeling an existing home is determining the distance the house is placed front property setbacks. The home may have been built before the city or county created the current property setback codes. I have encountered a few existing homes that sit partially within this setback. As long as no substantial changes are happening to the portion of the home within the setback, then typically that portion of the house can remain in its current location. However, any new additions to the home will need be set outside of the setback.

The cost of a survey will range on size of lot, the complexity of the slope and topography and other variables but, for an average 6,000sf lot a survey will cost between $2,500-$3,000


STRUCTURAL ENGINEER

While designing a home, an architect will work along side the structural engineer to create the structure or the bones of the house. City and county jurisdictions will typically require a set of structural drawings stamped by a licensed engineer along with a set of calculations.

The cost of a structural engineer will vary depending on size and complexity of a home but for an average wood framed home of roughly 4,000sf, a structural engineer will charge from $3,500-$5,000.


CIVIL ENGINEER

A civil engineer is becoming a more common consultant to be enlisted on single family residence projects. Typically a majority of jurisdictions on the west side of Washington state require a storm water plan to be designed by a licensed engineer. The storm water design is a plan showing how water will be dealt with on the building site. In a dryer region such as Eastern Washington, these storm water design requirements are typically not as strict. However, there are a few cases where a storm water plan is still required in instances where a home is built near a body of water. The city and county jurisdictions will typically require the water runoff from the home to be retained on site and restricted from entering the body of water.

Depending on size and complexity of the project, a civil engineer may charge from $3,000-$6,000


PERMIT FEES

Permitting fees are the fees the city or county charges for the processing and review of permit drawings. Every city and county has a different way of estimating these fees but typically it is based on the size and square footage of a project.

In jurisdictions in North Central Washington, fees will range anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 for an average sized home.


One thing to note, all these price estimates are for the summer of 2018 in Washington State and are for a fairly simple home of 4,000sf built on a simple lot.


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