Wiring a 5000+ square-foot house

jeff48356

Senior Member
I just met a builder today, and he mentioned about possibly building some 5000+ square-foot houses south of Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County. I've never wired a house that large before. Would I likely need more than a 200A service for such a dwelling? How much would electrical contractors typically charge for the wiring (base price)?
 

Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
I've never seen a house that large with less than a 400A service. Not saying they have that much load, but I find people with that size house think they need larger. Of course, you would need to know the load to decide. There are a few around here that are 600A and one that is 1200A.
I would want a set of prints for these houses to make a bid off of. Most usually, one this size would be custom and you need to charge extra for that.
brantmacga will probably see this and can help more since this is along the lines of what he wires in residential.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
I just met a builder today, and he mentioned about possibly building some 5000+ square-foot houses south of Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County. I've never wired a house that large before. Would I likely need more than a 200A service for such a dwelling? How much would electrical contractors typically charge for the wiring (base price)?
I know it’s aggravating until you have done it a couple of times, but now would be a good time to practice the service calculations in 220. Once it’s in your head and your familiar with it, it will become easier to walk in a house and make an educated guess.
Until then it’s just a WAG. Doesn’t even qualify for a SWAG...
 

texie

Senior Member
Location
Fort Collins, Colorado
Occupation
Electrician, Contractor, Inspector
I just met a builder today, and he mentioned about possibly building some 5000+ square-foot houses south of Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County. I've never wired a house that large before. Would I likely need more than a 200A service for such a dwelling? How much would electrical contractors typically charge for the wiring (base price)?
I started to compose a more detailed response but backed it out as it would come across as to harsh. I'll just say that you need to know what the Article 220 load is. Load and price has little to do with square feet.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Jeff, I agree with the others. Main variables include cooking and HVAC loads (which require their own calcs), and extras like auxiliary buildings, swimming pool, etc.

The bigger the job, the worse it is to try to price by footage alone. You need real plans, real device and fixture counts, and real load calculations. It's worth learning.
 

readydave8

re member
Location
Clarkesville, Georgia
Occupation
electrician
Spec houses?
" How much would electrical contractors typically charge for the wiring"
Typically someone will bid it at a price that will eventually cause them to go broke, I never figured out how to beat their price
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
....... How much would electrical contractors typically charge for the wiring (base price)?
Not enough info. Gas or electric appliances? One or more 'kitchens'? How is it heated / cooled (gas-fired furnace(s), geothermal etc). How many can lights? Home theater?
 

oldsparky52

Senior Member
I don't know what it will cost, but I bet it's more than you bid. :)

I'm saying that because it seemed to me that when I went from production housing to custom homes (yea I did a few in the mid 70's), production rate went down.

If this is a new relationship with a builder, be cautious. Better to not get it than get it and wish you didn't.

Good luck (and listen to these guys on the forum).
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
The largest custom home I did, back when I did them, was 4000 plus the finished basement IIRC.

I was given floor plans by the GC and created my own electrical from it or modified theirs. Bid was based on that, then a walk through with both owners prior to rough in with price adjusted at that time. Cost/opening plus service.
 

brantmacga

Senior Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical contractor
Just roughed a 5000 sq ft house..... 225A service, base price of $50k, with recessed lights total of $70k. Includes no LV as they can’t make their minds up. Probably will end up north of $100k in the end.

Someone else would probably do it for half that ??‍♂


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
Just roughed a 5000 sq ft house..... 225A service, base price of $50k, with recessed lights total of $70k. Includes no LV as they can’t make their minds up. Probably will end up north of $100k in the end.

Someone else would probably do it for half that ??‍♂


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
There's always someone wanting to do it for beer-n-pizza money. They're like drug dealers.... take one off the streets and there's a dozen itching to take his place.
 

Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
Bubba and Jim-bob buy a bunch of watermelons for .75 each and load them into their truck and go try and sell them. They priced them at .50 and sold them out. Jim-bob said we didn't make any money, we lost, what do we do? Bubba said, easy, we just get a bigger truck and sell more!:huh:
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Bubba and Jim-bob buy a bunch of watermelons for .75 each and load them into their truck and go try and sell them. They priced them at .50 and sold them out. Jim-bob said we didn't make any money, we lost, what do we do? Bubba said, easy, we just get a bigger truck and sell more!:huh:
I see some of my friends out working for themselves, doing little more than making a living.
Two in particular say they are so busy they have to work six or seven days a week.
I tell them to raise their prices, they’re on the wrong side of the bell curve.
The way I see it, if you work for yourself, you should be charging enough to pay yourself a decent wage, and a vacation, along with some type of retirement.
no need to rip someone off, but charge a fair price. Your customers want all they can get out of you for nothing, don’t undersell yourself.
 

oldsparky52

Senior Member
The way I see it, if you work for yourself, you should be charging enough to pay yourself a decent wage, and a vacation, along with some type of retirement.
no need to rip someone off, but charge a fair price. Your customers want all they can get out of you for nothing, don’t undersell yourself.
That ^ my friends is some of the BEST advice given out for self employed people.
 
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