View Full Version : Fastest Haunt EVER!

08-08-2007, 07:00 PM
Howdy! Long time no see, lots of you.

Had some troubles with my login, but it's all straightened around now thanks to the wonderful admins and their high executive powers. Bless them.

Anyhow, I just found out today that I could have my very own show this season. I have the space, the loot, the props, the actors AND all the materials... What now? I mean, layout of course will be my next step, but what do I do next?

Here is what I know...

Inspections must take place at some point.
Wow... That was easy.

Here is what I don't know....
Who must inspect?
What must they inspect before construction and after construction?
What should I have ready for the inspections before construction and after construction?
What else do I need to know?

It's going to be relatively small (just a little over 4,000 sq. ft.) but I think that's good considering how little time I'll have to build. The one thing that concerns me the most is that the space is barn-ish and it has a gravel floor. The landlord owns an excavating company and will compact if necessary, and during my chat with the fire chief, it didn't seem to be an issue, but I'm still uneasy.

What do you think? Impossible?

I enjoy working against the odds.

08-09-2007, 07:30 PM
Maybe there a post I missed that explains all of this? I'm ready to start building, I just need to know who needs to see it and what they need to see.

08-09-2007, 08:38 PM
Only the Fire Inspector and anyone involved with the financing and sponsors if they want too! That's all. -Tyler

Howie Slobber Erlich
08-09-2007, 09:30 PM
I totally disagree with Tyler.

You had better talk to the Building and Planning Department of your city before you start anything. Make sure they will even let you use the building for your haunt. Ask them what they will require from you. Most likely you will need to submit engineered floor plans. You will probably need to acquire a building permit. You may need Certificate of Occupancy. You will probably need a special use permit. They may require you to have a sprinkler system and a fire system. They will want to see proof of insurance. You will most likely need a building, fire and electrical inspection.

Don't rush into something without getting all the info first. They can and will shut you down if they don't like what you are doing.

Sorry if this sounds negative, but operating a haunt is not an easy business that can or should be thrown together in a hurry. Remember most of all that it needs to be a safe place for your customers.

Howie "Slobber" Erlich
Deadly Intentions Haunted House

08-10-2007, 06:29 AM
You're exactly right, that's why I am asking questions before I build anything. I want to have a good idea of what approvals I need so that I don't get shut down. I'm not rushing into anything.

So, Building and Planning will likely want to see my floor plan. What is the purpose of their input? Obviously, the interior of a haunted attraction doesn't have to meet home standards. I mean if black plastic walls can be approved, just about anything can. I imagine if they need to inspect, it's for the occupancy permit? Or maybe they just look at the main structure? Another thing is that it's not in the city. I don't know if that matters.

I am more familiar with the fire code than anything else. I have a good understanding of it thanks to the fire chief. The building is small enough that it won't require a sprinkler, so that is good. I just worry about the gravel floor. I guess what I need to find out is who do I need approval from who would have an interest in the flooring and ask them.

Does "special use" fall under zoning? If so, the building's current "commerical" classification includes "Places of amusement and assembly", so I don't think that's a problem.

Howie Slobber Erlich
08-10-2007, 07:15 AM
Anywhere that cares about safety would not allow black plastic walls anymore. Visquin is one of the most dangerous materials to have in a haunt. Now they do make a fire retardant black plastic, but it is more for curtains or to black out a small area.

The building dept. needs the floor plans to check to see if "maze" meets code. Are there enough emergency exits, are the hallways wide enough things like that. They don't care at all about how the interior design. Sounds like the building you have is already zoned correctly, so you may not need a special use permit but you will probably need at least a business licence and C of O.

Just check with all your officials and ask them exactly what they want and you should be ok.


08-10-2007, 10:44 AM
I had a similar building (a barn with gravel floors) in a similar location (the country). When your dealing with smaller villages or mincipalities they let you get away with alot since they dont know too much about haunted houses them selfs. We did not need a building inspector, did not need a sprinkler system, no building permits, no occupany permits, just a fire inspection. It help if you donate some $$ to the local fire department. Just talk to the city or village where u are located and see what they all expect. Good luck to ya and happy haunting!


08-10-2007, 11:40 AM
I agree with Howie, you better call your city planning and talk to the building inspector, as well as the fire inspector. I talked to my city about a permit and these were the three people I was told to talk with. The building inspector and fire chief wanted a floor plan drawn by a licensed architect in order to get a occupancy permit. Each city is probably different but I wouldn't take any chances not talking to these people.