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Question DetailsAsked on 11/23/2015

Cost to rewire apartment

Need to know the cost to rewire a 3-bedroom, kitchen, dining room, 1.5 bathrooms, small sunroom and small enclosed back porch apartment in Chicago.

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1 Answer


Depends a LOT on type of construction, and whether wiring was done as "building" wiring or "unit" wiring - i.e. does your wiring run through other units to get to yours (or even potentially share circuits with neighbors), perhaps with remote distribution and breaker panels, or do you have your own breaker panel at the apartment and all wiring from there to various locations in your apartment stay within your apartment ? And even if the latter, will you have to remove flooring to get at some of it ?

And of course, if upgrading capacity as well, you can get into having to upgrade the breaker panel size, and potentially even the main feed to your unit - or in extreme cases with very old wiring, possibly even an upgrade to the entire building service to provide adequate capacity and to meet code requirements regarding required upgrades to meet code as part of a remodel. Rules vary a LOT on that between jurisdictions, every thing from the "upgrade only what you are modifying or moving" to a "you significantly modify or do more than touch the system, it ALL has to be brought up to current code" approach. Generally, those rules are more strict for multi-unit buildings than individual residences.

In very simple case, in-wall and in-ceiling wiring only behind drywall, can run in the couple of thousand $ range on up for the electrical for reqiring only (wiothout panel upgrade) - plus commonly $1000+ for drywall repair and repainting unless most of it can be run in exposed attic or basement floor joists. Obviously, a single-story building/unit with basement and/or attic has a better chance of avoiding a lot of drywall penetrations to do the wiring.

In more complex cases with building-wiring runs or where distribution panel and service is being replaced too can quickly get up towards the $5000 range in older buildings, especially when you have to tear into neighbor's walls and ceilings. Of course, with that kind of wiring, it is generally the responsibility of the building management to take care of it - and generally to pay for it too, and normally (sometimes required by code) if one unit is being significantly or totally upgraded they do the entire building at the same time.

Of course, in brick or concrete construction can be much more expensive, especially in high-rise buildings built before a lot of attention was given to providing electrical races and access to allow for upgrading or adding new wiring - potentially to $10,000 or more in some cases for your size unit.

Clearly, you need to get responsive bids from several Electrical contractors - and in most areas would need electrical plans from an Electrical Engineer (usually via an Architect for the plans) to get building permit, as well as to act as the basis of bids and the eventual construction.

Of course, be sure to coordinate this with the building management even if you "own" the apartment, because that is normally required by the lease/sale agreement, and because sometimes the arrangaement requires that the work be done by the building management's designated architaect and contractor for consistency and common safety.

Here is another related prior question with answer which might be of interest too -

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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