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Building a Home Theater Room? Don't Forget the Permit!

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 10/21/2010

You need building permits if you plan on building a home theater room, otherwise there can be some major consequences. Learn more about what building permits you need, as well as other helpful information to save yourself a lot of time, money, and effort.

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    Building a home theater room is a comprehensive project. You’ll either be completely redoing a current room for your home theater, or you’ll be finishing a basement or similar type of structure. And, like every other type of building project, you need building permits.

    While every county, municipality and parish is different, there are some commonalities in home theater building permits. You need to provide the permitting body with a description of the work being done, including how much the total project is going to cost. Some places will even require you to provide them with a blueprint, home theater plans or diagram of the work.

    This information is part of the forms that you need to fill out and present to the permitting body. The main thing that the permitting body wants to see is whether or not your project presents a safety hazard. They also want to know if it’s going to hurt the structural integrity of the building.

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    Building Cost Estimate

    One of the hardest parts of the forms is the estimate. Even contractors often under- or over-estimate the cost of a project. But, your estimate usually determines how much you are going to pay in permit fees.

    Permit fees vary based on the area that you live in, but generally this cost is around $5.00 to $10.00 per $1,000. This means that if you are making a 1,000 square foot home theater room, your total project costs could be around $7,500 to $10,000. It usually costs between $75.00 and $100.00 per square foot for construction costs.

    If that’s the case, then your permit fee will cost between $75.00 and $100.00. And, you may need to get different permits for different phases of the project. For example, you may need a separate electrical permit over the construction and safety permits.

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    Getting the Right Building Permits

    Even if you are hiring a contractor to do all the work of building a home theater room, you still need to get the right permits. While most permit costs max out at around $500 per permit, you still could be paying over $1,000 in building permits. So, be sure to budget for it.

    You should always check with your local permitting office before you begin a project. For example, some places require you to get an inspection before, during and/or after the work is done. So, it’s best to know what you need up-front.

    Also, you should expect the office to contact you if they need to know more about your project, which often happens. It’s usually nothing to worry about. Generally, if these people do have questions or concerns about your project, they’ll send it back to you and request additional information. They may even just call you up and ask for an explanation. Be prepared for those questions because your answers could determine whether or not your project gets the go-ahead.

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    Consequences of Not Getting a Permit

    If you decide to move forward with building a home theater room without getting the necessary building permits, then you should be prepared for major consequences. Not only will you possibly be fined, some places may even require you to tear down the room. It would be a costly mistake to do this. Always get your building permits first, and then start your project.

    Sources:

    U.S. Census Bureau

    CountryPlans.com