Okay, a cost question on ROUGH electrical. Can you help?

caligirl_cottageMarch 16, 2008

I know these questions are hard to answer, but I just need some frame of reference for this since I'm completely out of my league on this.

I have a 2,000 square foot house, basically all new construction (one tiny bit still old). It's just been framed, so access is easy. I need an idea of rough electrical only, I realize the finish is definitely an owner driven cost and I'll be able to figure that out more easily. Any ideas of a rough cost for this?


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The rough in is whatever you want it to be past minimum code. Finish out is not the only place where all the additional expense is because the provisions for it go in now. In a standard state where other prices are not sky high, many charge $3.50 per square foot minimum code with a few fools I don't understand charging $2.80 but their quality displays that ;) At this time you need the low voltage wiring as well, such as cable and phone to every room. Cat5 Network, audio video, speakers need to be considered as well. Can lights are installed at rough in and on the low side they'll run $50 per but some charge as much as $100 per... maybe more? lucky them ;) Outlets will be every 12 feet and 6 feet from each wall beginning unless you pay extra or the electrician has his own standard that is above that. Needs for 240 volt at hot water heater, dryer, oven, range, a/c, and furnace. One light switch per room or more 3-way switches, lighting divided over multiple switches or just all on one switch. Ceiling fans prepped in the bedrooms. Outdoor outlets, upgrade outlet circuits to 20 amp or standard 15 amp to save money, extra circuits to garage, home theatre, etc. Lots of things to consider so you kind of get a range of $3 to $8 per square foot depending on how fancy it gets. Re-wiring the old portion will also cost a bit more than the new wiring.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 11:10PM
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Thanks Spencer. I appreciate your response. Yes, we are building to code, so as you say, we have all the outlets necessary per linear foot, a good number of cans, a chandelier, switch locations, cable and CAT-5. No ceiling fans. No garage but about six to eight exterior lights and certainly a new panel. Your per square foot cost topping at $8 a foot is interesting because I have a "bare bones bid" at $28,000 or $14 a foot and there is absolutely nothing fancy at all. I'm getting a few more bids, but I appreciate knowing a little more about the process.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 12:52AM
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Ahh now I notice, this is in California? Rates would be considerably higher, possibly double. If this is the equivalent of a 7/8 per foot job here it could be that it costs more like 12/14 there. Another bid is a good idea at that kind of price. It does help if you know things about wiring so you can compare them. Some companies will wire the living outlets, dinning and kitchen lights, and more lights and outlets all onto 1 15 amp circuit and still meet code requirements. As another with higher standards uses more circuits, possibly use 20 amp circuits on receptacle circuits where not required (above code). Then again most will not do much above code unless you ask for it because it is necessary to bid to only what is asked for and what the code requires in order to accurately bid a price. 14 per foot for bare bones here would be a joke. Then again in Kansas City, electricians get to fight bids against each other on who gets to wire a bathroom :) Electricians are in higher demand in CA and pricing is higher on everything

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 1:34AM
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Ah, yes. We lucky Californians! Okay, now I'm confused as ever, but appreciate the advice and info. I'm bidding it out to two other subs with very good references so i hope to at least get a better idea of where we really are. Maybe they're all at $14 or even more, who knows.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 1:57AM
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Considering they are getting $3500 for a 200A service in California nothing surprises me.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 7:41AM
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There was another post last fall of someone who was building in CA and had a house twice your size and the bid was 40 grand. I remember posting on that to give the poster what we paid in a recently finished house in Northern VA - and it wasn't cheap.

Our hosue is 5700 sq feet finished and has an unfinished basement. The builder bid it to minimum code (a sour point with me) and the cost to do the electrical was 20 grand. The actual cost to wire it to my plan (which I had given him prior to signing the contract - and thought that he had incorporated it into the cost of the house) was an additional 19 grand! The extra's included recessed lights (87 cans), extra plugs, quite a few 3 way and 4 way switches, exterior flood lights - nothing really fancy - just not min code. I wound up doing a lot of the extra wiring myself - so my actual cost was the 20 grand plus 8.5 grand for extra's.

On top of this, I did all the wiring for for voice & data, security system, whole house audio, cable etc. Had I contracted this out - the wiring would have cost at least another 10 grand.

So if I added all that up - assuming it was all contracted out - it would run 49,000 for 5700 square feet or about 8.60 a square foot.

BTW - our prices from the electrician included the rough in and the the finish work too.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 8:00AM
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Wow, that's certainly an eye opener! I'm thinking maybe the $28,000 isn't so far off. It will be interesting to see how these two other bids come in. One of them is advertising a new 200 amp service at $1,800 and comes very highly recommended, so maybe he'll have the best of both worlds - good quality at a reasonable price... Could that be possible!?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 1:29PM
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