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Help 1st year haunt

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  • Help 1st year haunt

    I'll try to keep this short...first year haunt after looking at buildings for over 5 years and having one after another shot down by building inspectors/fire marshals. Finally found one, have hired architect to do blue prints, building meets all codes. Our fire marshal is strictly by the book. No extension cords allowed. So I have an electrician walk the building and see what its gonna take to wire the small 3000 sq ft maze in this 20,000 square foot building. It has 20 foot ceilings, so he'll have to get a picker in there to tap in to power off the ceiling. He will also have to add 5 emergency exit signs and lighting inside the maze. My quote just came back at $28,000?? Are you f*cking kidding me???? Does anyone else think that is insane or is that the going rate? I don't know how anyone with limited funds would ever be able to start a haunt.

  • #2
    That could be a little high. We paid about 60k to wire three buildings on 10 acres, including service entry fees (transformer, etc). It's hard to tell if you're getting a fair deal or you're being "raked over the coals" without having more specific information about your haunt. For example, Why does he have to pull power from the ceiling? Is your maze going to be dead center in the middle of this 20000 square foot building, or will it be adjacent to any existing walls that already have power? Do you have to use plenum/teflon cable or can you use metal clad or romex? Did your fire marshal say no extension cords at all or can you use heavier gauge, short cords for anything?!!! (I only ask because it seems insane to me that you would have to wire a permanent outlet everytime you plan on placing a prop, as this doesn't allow you to change your layout very easily)

    We always get at least two or three bids from different contractors before making a decision. Our electricians typically charge between 75-100 per hour, depending on which ones we use, and of course you still have to figure in all the material costs (and extras - like a picker rental). It would also help to know what city/state your building the haunt in, as some others from your area might be able to give you additional references.


    • #3
      It's a fairly common expectation to not have extension cords in haunts, at least from my experiences. One thing to consider is using low voltage lighting which doesn't require an outlet for every light fixture. Simply run low voltage wire from scene to scene and have a couple power supplies throughout the space where outlets are available. In addition, try designing your haunt to have centralized power outlets to better utilize your electrical drops you'll have from your ceiling.

      Another possible option is befriending an electrician and running most of the wire yourself. I have heard of people who run their own wires/conduit but don't attach anything to boxes or breakers then they have a licensed electrician come and simply wire everything together. Saves immensely on labor but is still up to par with city requirements. (Don't quote me on that, but I've heard it been done.)

      Hope this helps - Good luck!
      Zach Wiechmann


      • #4
        Electric issues are always expensive no matter what. I had a friend who spent nearly 100k on electrical issues. I would just say that is part of doing business.


        • #5
          Inspectors can have their way with you, its always good to be tough back otherwise you get railroaded, however you only want to push so hard. Getting all that electrical stuff in is just part the game. It can add up yes so get a lot of bids.

          Larry Kirchner