Structural Engineer: Which One?

27 February 2020
 Categories: , Blog


There is no question about the importance of hiring a structural engineer for residential construction.

A structural engineer can be an independent contractor or an employee of an engineering firm. Many people are often not sure which category of an engineer is better than the other.

While there is no definite answer to this, there are several advantages and disadvantages of hiring either of the two categories of structural engineers. The article below provides a bit of insight into this.


The cost of hiring a structural engineer is usually of great concern to many. While structural engineering services do not come cheap, engineers who work as independent contractors are often more affordable than their counterparts who happen to be employees of an engineering company.

Structural engineers who are attached to an engineering firm do not set the price for their services. They are paid a fixed salary by their employer, who is responsible for deciding the cost of service.

Because an engineering firm will have higher operational costs (e.g. more expensive office rent, or a larger number of paid employees), their services have to be more expensive if the firm is to meet its expenses in addition to making a profit.

Level of Expertise

In terms of expertise, there is not much difference because structural engineers undergo the same kind of training, and the tasks they handle are the same.

That said, there is the fact that engineers attached to a company have the advantage of a second or even third opinion from their fellow colleagues. This is because they get to share ideas about the projects they are handling during office hours.

In this regard, therefore, one might be inclined to think that a structural engineer who works for an engineering company will provide a greater level of expertise than an independent contractor.


An independent structural engineer is more likely to be more readily available than one who works for an engineering firm. This is because large-scale commercial construction projects will usually contract the services of an engineering consultancy firm rather than an independent contractor.

This, therefore, means that structural engineers attached to a consultancy firm are more likely to be handling multiple projects that are more involving at any given time.

Independent contractors also handle multiple projects at a time, but the projects they handle are often of a much smaller scale, which means they would be more readily available.

For more information, contact a company like Jeffrey Hills and Associates.