In Arkansas, customary structural engineering fees are about 1/2% to 1% of building construction cost, depending primarily on two things: 1) the complexity of the structure and 2) the percentage fee of the prime consultant, which is usually an architect. Another rule of thumb is that the structural engineer's fee is usually 1/8th of the architect's fee, which works out about the same.
Red Pepper Consulting advises most clients to avoid these fee arrangements since they do not best serve the facilities owner, prime consultant, or structural engineer. The task of the structural engineer is to design a safe structure to withstand code-prescribed loads, but our second task - and the one which most often concerns facilities owners - is to provide the least-cost solution. Percentage fees run contrary to this approach because they reward the structural engineer with funds for failing to save money, and punish that same engineer for doing his job.
Red Pepper Consulting will honor a client's request for a percentage fee with a percentage fee proposal, but keep in mind that such fee arrangements may require us to escalate the percentage fee request or limit the scope of work.