or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Home Entertainment & Theater Builder › Dedicated Theater Design & Construction › Electrical estimate for theater - sanity check
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Electrical estimate for theater - sanity check

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Just received the first estimate for my theater/finished basement space.
Looking for a sanity check.


Three spaces - theater, finished basement and half bath.
All new steel framing - good access.

Bath:

Fan outlet
Fan unit (supply/install)
Vanity lt outlet
vanity light
switch for fan and light
plug
circuit for plug
Ejector pump plug and circuit

Large Rec Room
10 plugs and circuit
5 plugs and circuit
supply and install 9 recessed lights
2 3-way switches for 9 lights
5 plugs with dedicated circuit each (for amps)
3 wall light outlets (for sconces)
install sconces
switch for sconces

supply and install 2 1kw baseboard heaters and tstat
220v circuit for heaters

Theater
10 plugs and circuit
1kw baseboard heater and ckt and tstat
cleanup oldwork in ceiling - some conduit and boxes
install 6 wall light outlets
install 6 sconces
wire sconces back to graphikeye
install 3 ceiling plugs (for cove lighting)
wire ceiling plugs back to graphic eye


SUBPANEL
supply and install 40 ckt subpanel
supply and install breakers as needed

Estimate $7500

New england (MA) location

db
post #2 of 24
Boy I am glad we do everything ourselves. LOL
Sorry but that sounds about right, if not cheap for that much work.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have used this fellow before and he is reliable and has a good relationship with our electrical inspector (important here). His prices have always been in-line if not competitive. However, the raw number is higher that I would have liked, albeit reasonable.

Will have to think about how to save costs.

db
post #4 of 24
I also live in MA and I had a panel upgrade (100->200A) including relocating the meter outside for about $1200. I did my own electrical, and had the guy pull the permit, clean up and inspect the work prior to the inspector. I think in the area of 14 lights, 45 outlets, some other stuff, came out another $1000. Electrical is not difficult if you DIY.

Otherwise, I had outrages quotes in your area. Something like $200 per light, and $120 per receptacle.

Ask him how much does he charge per hour if you supply the materials (not expensive).
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbarron View Post

Just received the first estimate for my theater/finished basement space.
Looking for a sanity check.


Three spaces - theater, finished basement and half bath.
All new steel framing - good access.

Bath:

Fan outlet
Fan unit (supply/install)
Vanity lt outlet
vanity light
switch for fan and light
plug
circuit for plug
Ejector pump plug and circuit

Large Rec Room
10 plugs and circuit
5 plugs and circuit
supply and install 9 recessed lights
2 3-way switches for 9 lights
5 plugs with dedicated circuit each (for amps)
3 wall light outlets (for sconces)
install sconces
switch for sconces

supply and install 2 1kw baseboard heaters and tstat
220v circuit for heaters

Theater
10 plugs and circuit
1kw baseboard heater and ckt and tstat
cleanup oldwork in ceiling - some conduit and boxes
install 6 wall light outlets
install 6 sconces
wire sconces back to graphikeye
install 3 ceiling plugs (for cove lighting)
wire ceiling plugs back to graphic eye


SUBPANEL
supply and install 40 ckt subpanel
supply and install breakers as needed

Estimate $7500

New england (MA) location

db


I just finished up electrical in my basement. 700 sq/ft. I dont think I went as extreem as you but I did have a subpanel put in. Basic specs things such as:

60 amp subpanel.
All receptacles: maybe 15 (total of about 6 circuits)
2 x dedicated for theater 20 amps
3 cat 5e runs and 1 cat5e run up to the top of the house (mdf)
9.1 spear wiring (2 going outside to the deck)
8 can lights
Projector plugs
2 X 35'composite
2 X 35' hdmi
1 x 35' S-video
2 in wall heaters on dedicated 20 amps circuit.
Cable coax run.
Etc...

Total forked out about $3200. This was a electrical contractor that got permits and we have had inspected.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Note - total square footage is about 1500, and I am considering at least installing the boxes myself as I will have to supervise this anyway for exact sconce locations, etc. Don't think this will really save much labor though......
post #7 of 24
The cost does not seem all that unreasonable to me (as I read over your list of the work you specified).

But, I also know that your job might cost 1/2 of that amount in some parts of the country, while it may cost twice what he quoted you in other parts of the country. It does not seem logical that electrical work costs should vary so dramatically from one locale to the next, but they do. Sometimes, it is just the typical cost of living variances. But, also construction costs as a whole are all over the map (the cost of new construction in California is often 8 - 10 times the cost of the exact same construction in rural Missouri, for example, or in rural Arkansas. It can also vary a lot due to local codes (in my area, Chicago, IL, ALL electric runs must be inside EMT hard conduit. This means an increase in materials cost, but also in labor, since it takes time to actually bend and cut all of that conduit. No Romex allowed, here...)

As an example (even though as I urged above, comparisons may be very meaningless), I recently paid $4900 for the electric for my entire basement WITHOUT the home theater. I did the electric for the Home Theater myself, partly to save $$ but also so I could work around the challenges of trying to isolate the sound (I wanted soundproofing to be as thorough as possible, and I did not trust an electrician to try to work around unusual scheduling for build out of double walls, room within a room, insulation, sealing outlets, sealing light fixtures, etc.)

My $4900 bought me:

32 typical 6" can lights; circuited to nine (!) separate switches; some are double pole;
23 typical electric outlets;
3 overhead fixtures;
5 wall sconces;
3 pull chain fixtures;
3 cable TV coax runs;
3 telephone runs;

By the way, I received bids for the above identical specs ranging from $4500 to $10,100.

Note that I also had a 40 ciruit subpanel put in, but that was a separate guy, and that alone ran me $480.00, by a licensed guy who did small Saturday morning jobs on the side, for bargain pricing.

-Bruce
-Home Theater Custom Intros on DVD: www.S2Digital.com
post #8 of 24
In range with my quotes. Sorry.
post #9 of 24
Seems a little high for me, but it would also go with the location you live at.

I would recomend that you do everything yourself (read up about it if you need to), and have somone come in and check/inspect it. Should cut a ton in savings.
post #10 of 24
My electrical cost me about $8000 and I had a friend do it!
Area: Northern Virginia

I got:
1 new sub panel for the basement
20 (or so) regular outlets

HT
17 Low voltage Cans
4 sconces
3 runs of rope lighting
3 dedicated 20amp circuits to my HT equipment (1 in ceiling)
1 grafik eye 3606

Rec Room
15 Regular cans
2 ceiling mounts (poker table and pool table lights)
2 runs for lights poster boxes
1 circuit for wall mounted TV
1 GFCI circuit
accent lighting for bar mirror/glass shelves
under cabinet lighting for countertop
9 lutron maestro dimmers
2 closet lights

Office
1 ceiling mounted light
2 dedicated 20 amp circuits
1 lutron maestro dimmer

Bathroom
2 Regular Cans
1 bathroom fan
1 GFCI circuit

Outdoors
2 outdoor floodlights
1 Ceiling light for Shed
1 outlet for shed
post #11 of 24
My buddy got quoted $2,400.00 for about 9 outlets and a couple of switches and lights. Seems like it's in line for our area.

Like McCall i'm glad I do everything myself, spent some money taking an electrical course at Petersons trade school in Norwood, MA. I wanted to be sure of what I was doing and didn't want to burn the house down because of something I did. Well worth the money, it has saved me somewhere along the lines of 20X the cost of the course so far and still increasing.
post #12 of 24
Electrical was far and away the most expensive part of my build. I put in:

40 potlights (yes, you read that correctly)
10 sconces
3 GFI outlets
3 dedicated outlets
~20 code outlets
1 bath exhaust fan
1 40 amp subpanel
2 whole house surge protectors (both panels)
1 3106 Grafikeye
75' of rope light
Most of the non-GE lights are on dimmers

My total was C$11.5k for ~1300 sq.ft., which I thought was pretty good.
post #13 of 24
I've done all of my own electrical work for years, including my commercial building.

In the last two years, the price of copper wire and cable is soaring. Putting in a subpanel (say, 40A or 60A) requires using heavy gauge copper cable (4g). And it's quite pricey at about $4 per foot. A 100ft run is not uncommon -- that's $400 right there. And fishing 4-4-4 4g cable is *not* fun at all!

Few installations use aluminum cabling -- sure it can be cheaper but some panels aren't listed for use with AL, and many electricians won't use it ever, anyway.

Workboxes and outlets are inexpensive. Lighting can be expensive and has always been a good profit item -- consider roughing them in on your own and let the electrician wire them.

Adds up quick!
post #14 of 24
This is just my .02 but you could consider saving lots of money by installing your own switch/outlet/sconce boxes in every room. Then buy and set the can lights yourself. IMO you could save a chunk by buying all the fixtures, let the electrician buy the wiring and the trim out stuff. You could even go to HD and buy a subpanel and breakers. The markup he is going to put on your list is tremendous.
post #15 of 24
Yep, panels and breakers are cheap -- Most electricians here will spec out Square-D Homeline, but I've always used Cutler-Hammer as it is much more reasonably priced.

At a big box store you'll sometimes see fully loaded panels for <$150 breakers and all.
post #16 of 24
I usually buy my own materials. If I don't know what to buy, I'll ask the contractor when they give me the estimate. The reasons are a) I can sometimes purchase product cheaper than they can b) I don't have to worry about them adding a 50% margin on top of the costs and c) it allows for better comparisons between the bids (think "apples-to-apples").

The way I determine the reasonability of a bid is to determine the number of hours involved in the work. Sometimes that requires talking to several contractors, asking some for firm bids and others for an estimated cost (includes hours). This information allows me to back in to the rate used by the contractors providing "firm" bids. You would be astounded at the differences.

I use this approach all the time and have experienced situations where contractors offered non-skilled labor (cost them $10-$15 an hour) for $50-$75 an hour. I'm ok with some padding for "firm" bids, but there should be limits to that. I very often will choose the "time and materials" option if I am unsatisfied with the "contigency" built into the firm offers.

I believe in a fair wage for everyone, but there has to be a reasonable relationship between cost of service and price charged to me.
post #17 of 24
I agree... let the electrician do the rough-in... that's where *most* of the code knowledge is involved. Finishing outlets, switches, and putting up fixtures is a breeze and should save a lot of money since it's so time consuming. The only trick is any 3 or 4 way switches, but you should find some tutorials online for those.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Just met with another electrician - he seemed much more cognizant of saving money where possible - raised many 'this bit may be alot of work - - if you moved this here.....' to save money and simplify the job - many good suggestions. He also offered to quote materials separately and 'you can buy them yourself if you like'. Awaiting his quote. Told by a friend he was somewhat less expensive than the first electrician.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbarron View Post

Just met with another electrician - he seemed much more cognizant of saving money where possible - raised many 'this bit may be alot of work - - if you moved this here.....' to save money and simplify the job - many good suggestions. He also offered to quote materials separately and 'you can buy them yourself if you like'. Awaiting his quote. Told by a friend he was somewhat less expensive than the first electrician.


Sounds like a much more down to earth person that I would like to deal with.
post #20 of 24
For my UNFINISHED basement, 1300 square feet, I did the electrical (with pointers/coaching from a friend who is very familiar with the codes/requirements). This was my first time doing electrical at this level.

Room layout:
- bathroom
- bedroom
- media room
- playroom
- home office
- hallway
- bar

I ended up installing:
- 9 circuits (3 were 20 amps)
- 30+ outlets
- 30+ lights/cans/scones
- mix of dual, single, triple switches
- bathroom fan
- shower light
- GFI for bathroom
- GFI for bar
- 20 amp for media

I ended up buying lot of blue plastic outlet boxes, switch boxes, and can lights. Went through three rolls of 15amp and 1 roll of 20 amp wire. With right tools, little coaching, good drill, the project was a snap (took about 4-5 weekends). Amount spent was likely under $800 - $900 for the materials.

I'd say go with someone who is flexible, who can also coach you in possibly doing some of your own stuff. Electrical isn't that hard - I did outsource my plumbing re-work as well as the heating/cooling for the entire basement. I also intend to outsource the drywall.
post #21 of 24
And that does not include any of the system wiring. I would shop around a bit but things are expensive in your neck of the woods.
post #22 of 24
I can't believe how much it costs to get outside electrical done. Thank goodness for my dad!

WS
post #23 of 24
Wow that price must include all materials, permit and install correct? I just completed mine myself for a 750 sq/ft smaller basement with
36 outlets
6 pots
4 scounces
2 gfi
6 20A breakers
boxes
2 and 3 wire
Lotron spacer system with a 4 scene master and 3 dimmers
3 fluorescents (one being on an IR for bias lighting)
some girly bathroom light
bathroom fan
and other misc. stuff
$250 for my friend to hook it to the box and so switches
I would have to guess but I think I am in for close to $1500-1750 and I did the work myself.........oh and the inspector came and it all passed.

Later
Phil
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Received two more estimates - (I did save some money by replacing the recessed lights with fluorescent troffers in the playroom).

Second estimate $3400 (I really liked this guy - he asked the most probing questions - has good local references)

third estimate $8200 (similar to the first).

db
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
AVS › AVS Forum › Home Entertainment & Theater Builder › Dedicated Theater Design & Construction › Electrical estimate for theater - sanity check