Working with RJD Residential


If your residential project needs engineering design or assessment services, it represents a significant investment in your home. Rather than take a one-size-fits-all approach, RJD Residential will work with you and your architect or contractor to develop an appropriate scope of services for your project and budget and keep you informed throughout the construction process.

Initial Consultation

The first step of any project is an initial consultation between you and RJD Residential. The consultation may take place in person, over the telephone and/or by email depending on the circumstances. The purpose of the consultation is to understand your objectives for the project, what engineering services you may need and major constraints so that a preliminary scope of services can be developed. The consultation will also help determine whether the project is aligned with RJD Residential’s capabilities and availability. If we decide to pursue working together, then RJD Residential will begin to develop a proposal.

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Scoping and Proposal

After the initial consultation, RJD Residential will develop a detailed scope of services based on the preliminary scope, following up with you if questions arise.  Since many structural systems for one- and two-family homes can be designed prescriptively by non-professionals, structural engineering services on residential projects are typically limited. Therefore it is important to have a clear mutual understanding of the scope to avoid duplicated or uncoordinated efforts.

The detailed scope as well as underlying assumptions, exclusions and terms will be memorialized in the proposal. The proposal will also present the amount and basis for RJD Residential’s fees. If you are satisfied with the proposal, then your signature on it will formally engage RJD Residential.


Typically, when the scope of services for the project can be well defined, RJD Residential will charge a fixed fee for a particular task or the project as a whole. Design of new construction and most condition assessments are charged on a fixed fee basis.  When the scope is less well-defined, as is often the case for renovations, complicated assessment and consulting services, the fee will be based on hourly rates and expenses incurred. Consulting services provided in an adversarial process (claims support, abutter services, expert witness testimony) must be charged in this manner. In some cases, fees will be charged on a per-unit basis. The amount of the fees will reflect the required level of effort, out-of-pocket costs, complexity, schedule and risk of RJD Residential’s services for the project.

Typically, you will be invoiced monthly for services provided in the prior four or five weeks, including progress payments for lump sum fees. A partial payment may be due at the beginning of the engagement. The proposal will describe the terms of payment in detail.


The execution of the project will depend on the particular scope of services. You may have responsibilities to provide information or authorize services by others to allow RJD Residential to complete its work unless your architect or some other agent is doing so on your behalf. The project approach and criteria will have been defined in the proposal, but RJD Residential will consult with you on certain decisions, especially for engagements in which one task builds on another. It will be important to get these decisions right the first time because changes may have a ripple effect through the project and be disproportionally costly later on.


RJD Residential’s services are complete when the items described in the proposal’s scope of services are complete and deliverables have been provided. For design projects, a certain number of review cycles by agencies having jurisdiction will typically be contemplated in the proposal and included in the scope. However, things can come up as the project develops, especially during construction. For projects where this is expected, RJD Residential may include provisions for providing “Additional Services” when requested. Alternatively, Additional Services can be performed under written amendments to an existing agreement.