Should a general contractor offering a bid on a job (and one of three contractors asked to submit a bid) ask for money up front for an ''engineer'' to give an opinion so he can put in a bid? We were asked to pay a $2000.00 bill for an engineer to look at our walls so a contractor could put in a bid. His bid was $30,000 higher than the two other contractors who submitted bids. Does this seem right to you?
You should hire your own architect or engineer and go from there.
Without knowing what service the engineer performed it is hard to say if it warranted a $2000 fee.
You need to have proper construction drawings and specifications to give out to equally qualified contractors and then you can theoretically choose the lowest bid.
It is not uncommon to ask for a deposit to cover any costs and time. $2,000 is a high price. Typically it should be in between $200-$500.
I would do the ground work and get your own structural engineer to do the drawings, plans, permits etc... then you can have other contractors bid on it. I wouldn't suggest going on the lowest bid unless you are comfortable. At then end of the day you get what you pay for. Would you want to cheap out on something structural?
Absolutely a contractor should be paid for their time and expertise to offer a bid for your project. The time to put together an accurate proposal can be significant.
If is a project that requires an engineer to review the space, complete drawings and notes then that would need to be paid upon completion whether you move forward or not with the project. Hence the deposit. These drawings could be used to apply for your City Building permit when your ready to move forward.
I cannot comment whether the $2000 is too much or not as we don't know how much structural areas of your home required to inspected. Possibly the engineer will need to measure the entire home to calculate the loads and placement of structure in your drawings properly
We have no information as to the scope and complexity of this project.
It could be this contractor who asked for the engineering fee knew what he was doing and had serious concerns about the structural integrity of the project.
Which may also explain him being 30k higher in price.
For the contractor to have any legal grounds to collect the engineering fee from you there would have to be some kind of agreement (preferably in writing) spelling out these potential costs which you haven't said.
You also haven't said whether the engineering services provided were subsequently used in a permit application and subsequent work which would certainly be grounds to be paid.
I have seen a pattern where contractors will jump to engage engineers for simple problems that can be solved using the construction techniques and span tables found in Part 9 of the Code (which does not require engineering).
Point of interest - at least in our neighborhood suppliers of trusses and engineered lumber will typically do a full design (for permit application) using the manufacturer's engineered software for no up-front fee (the cost is built in to the materials which they don't recover until the materials are ordered and the permit issued). $2,000 does seem like a lot of money, assume it must be a fairly involved situation.
Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.Find your home service pro