How to Select a Structural Engineer

Licensed civil and structural engineers are state-registered professionals qualified to perform civil and structural engineering based on their advanced education, training, technical knowledge and experience. In California, a licensed civil engineer may practice structural engineering on all facilities except hospitals and schools.

A licensed structural engineer has three years of responsible charge experience in structural engineering after registration as a civil engineer and has passed a specialized examination in structural engineering. In California, a structural engineer may perform structural analysis and design on any type of structure, including hospitals, schools and essential facilities.

Recommended Steps

  1. Determine the size and scope of your project; you may wish to consult an architect or contractor first to discuss cost, feasibility and design coordination.
  2. Compile a list of prospects. Ask your friends and contractors for recommendations. Refer to your local telephone directory (check in the white pages, the "Yellow Pages," or in large metropolitan areas, the "Business Yellow Pages"), or contact professional engineering and professional land surveying societies.
  3. Confirm their State Registration. Visit the State of California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors website and use the Online License Look-up Database to verify an individual's license, search for local professional engineers in your county, and view any disciplinary actions that have taken place against a licensee.
  4. Select two or more engineering firms and ask for references from previous jobs similar to yours. Verify their expertise in your type of project and their ability to complete projects on time and on budget.
  5. Request that an engineer visit the project site in order to submit a written proposal, including the objectives, anticipated time schedule and engineer's compensation. While some engineers do not charge for a preliminary visit, many do.

Find a Structural Engineer

SEAOC's regional Member Organizations provide tools and reference lists to help you find a local structural engineer. Please click the links below for more information: