Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Portland Oregon Metro Area
I don't know about structural engineers in CA, but I have one in OR that I have used on three (3) projects since 2010. He is a P.E. (Professional Engineer), which means he has passed all the stringent requirements by the state board of engineering examiners. He is well worth the money that I pay him. He engineered a 12'x33' glass deck cover for me in 2010. The complete design: footers, posts, joists, glass, glass mounting hardware, fasteners, and mounting to the existing structure were all specified by the Structural Engineer in the his drawings. His services cost me $1000. He even showed up to inspect the construction crew during the process.
With the Structural Engineer's drawings in hand, the deck cover permitting process was easier than any other project permitting that I had done before. After that project, I used the Structural Engineer on every project. Before using a Structural Engineer for the construction drawings, the permitting process usually turned into a nightmare, because the permitting office would reject my requests over some piddly thing.
I would recommend that you find a Structural Engineer that will work with you on the project. Stay away from the Engineering "Firms" and find an independent that works for him/herself. You will save a lot of money and have the confidence that your structure will not fail and kill anyone in the process...Make sure that the Structural Engineer is licensed by the State of CA as a P.E. and have completed similar projects to yours.
Ain't technology grand........when it works.