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Eerie Effects
05-31-2013, 09:19 AM
I have a simple question that I think I already know the answer... I'm in the process of doing my pre-planning for a haunted house I plan on doing in 2015. I plan on using vacant commercial rental property, and the vacant properties that I have my eyes on are all old closed down grocery stores, so needless to say I will have more then enough room to do two haunted houses... a traditional style haunted house maze, and a basic black-light 3D house.

In the meantime I'm doing an elaborate home haunt maze at my house this year and next year until I can get my ducks in a row for what will become a real Haunted Biz.

My question is about the construction of the maze, and how the maze walls are secured to the floor. I used to work at Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando in set design and prop making, but I was never part of set construction. The park brought in outside construction contractors to build the mazes, and then we came along and added on to them with props, paint, sfx, and what not.

I assume that the maze walls are secured to the concrete floor with concrete bolts, but want to confirm this and see what the options were for securing the walls.

This is something I need to figure out before I begin negotiating with the rental company that owns the property in question. I need to figure it out so I can let them know in advance that I will be planning on drilling into their floor to secure the walls.

I also know that I will need to run my building plans by the local Fire Marshall and building dept. first, but before I can even begin pricing out the cost of construction I will need to figure out this one item.

I should had paid more attention when I was on HHN's staff but I was having too much fun doing what I do.

Any pointers will be great!

zombietoxin
05-31-2013, 12:58 PM
Three possibilities really-

Tapcon Screws 1/4" x 3" or bigger. Requires a hammer drill to pre drill the screw holes into the floor. Medium fast installation and pretty strong.

Ramset nails 3". Requires the ramset gun which can be rented, power loads and nails. Really fast, but probably the weakest type of connection. May NOT be suitable if you have high impact expectations on your wall panels.

Drop in concrete anchors. Requires a hammer drill again, anchors, threaded rod, nuts and washers. Slow installation, but the strongest by far.

The all leave a mark- as in a hole in the floor. The tapcons probably leave the smallest hole and the ramsets usually end up leaving a small crater when pulled.

You better talk to the property owner/manager about what method will keep you out of trouble with them first.

Good luck

Eerie Effects
05-31-2013, 01:37 PM
Three possibilities really-

Tapcon Screws 1/4" x 3" or bigger. Requires a hammer drill to pre drill the screw holes into the floor. Medium fast installation and pretty strong.

Ramset nails 3". Requires the ramset gun which can be rented, power loads and nails. Really fast, but probably the weakest type of connection. May NOT be suitable if you have high impact expectations on your wall panels.

Drop in concrete anchors. Requires a hammer drill again, anchors, threaded rod, nuts and washers. Slow installation, but the strongest by far.

The all leave a mark- as in a hole in the floor. The tapcons probably leave the smallest hole and the ramsets usually end up leaving a small crater when pulled.

You better talk to the property owner/manager about what method will keep you out of trouble with them first.

Good luck

Awesome and thanks... my cousin is a local home builder and he suggested the Tapcon screws, and did not know of any other options. I figured that the walls were secured to the floor and I will have to drill.

I might build a small mock test wall panel and put it up in my garage this summer to see how sturdy it is and how much damage the Tapcon screws do to my concrete both during the installation and removal. This way I can assure the property owner of how much mess I will make, assuming they will allow me to make a mess.

My area has a ton of vacant commercial property to choose from so I should have the pick of the litter.

gadget-evilusions
05-31-2013, 02:56 PM
In our current location, I use 1/4" tapcons as well, just one on center of each wall.

However, at our old location, we had to set up and tear down with no damage behind. A good amount of bracing, good wall placement, and wood shims, kept our walls from coming down for the 6 weeks we were open every year.

sean
06-02-2013, 10:25 AM
Better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission ;) If your maze doesn't need to go all the way to the ceiling, why not "secure" the maze walls across the top of the walls, with 2x4's. Erect the walls as normal and instead of securing them into the floor, secure them at the top, kind of like sitting an open bottom cage on the floor. If done right, it could be very sturdy and thus eliminating the problem with the concrete floor. Building a sub floor, then building on top of it could also be an option

Mr.Bungle
06-05-2013, 10:35 AM
After removing the 'Tap-Cons', go around and squeeze a dab of concrete repair 'stuff' (PL products) into each hole and smooth out with a putty knife. Won't even know that you put holes in the floor.

drfrightner
06-05-2013, 11:53 PM
I would never nor have I ever since the dark days of haunting secure any walls to the floor! Why would you do that? What if you want to move the haunt to a new building you going to go around and pop them all out of the floor? There is NO NEED WHAT SO EVER to secure the walls to the floor. As long as the walls are secured to each other top bottom and middle explain how they are going to move? A maze could have hundreds and hundreds of walls and one secured to the next to the next to the next they just aren't going to move. I would NOT secure them to the floor!

Larry

Slain
06-06-2013, 10:27 AM
Even temporary sets at our place is secured into the floor (they are cement).. Why? Maybe we actually scare people? At our place not only are the walls secured to each other they are secured to the floors.. If your scaring them properly they will move walls.. A couple of years ago with 1/2 inch plywood on both sides we forgot to shoot a couple of walls into the floor and a group of folks took out and eight foot section of the other side of the scene.. We had to stop the show for about 20 minutes to repair.. Never again..

drfrightner
06-06-2013, 11:20 AM
Slain,

I'll make you a bet... you can walk through The Darkness with a bulldozer and you won't move a wall (not secured to the ground). Now go through one of our modular haunted houses with a wrecking ball they won't move and they are NOT secured to the floor.

Tell me.. how do you think a haunted house is secured to the floor if you are a screampark and you are setting up on dirt? You can't so it must be possible to to set up a haunted house without securing to the floor. I know its possible because we do it and have done it over 100 times with mazes we've built around the world.

I'm telling you for a fact no one needs to secure to the floor and your walls will NOT move ever! I can give you a tour through my modular haunts next Halloween show sitting on gravel and you'll break your foot if you try to kick them and move them, or you'll break your shoulder before you can move them one or the other.

The walls do not move!

There is not one wall in Darkness, Creepyworld, or Lemp that is secured to the floor... not one maze we've ever done around the world secured to the floor. In the very early days of our haunting we did pop nails into the floor to secure the 2x4 but we haven't done that in over 20 years.

Larry

gadget-evilusions
06-06-2013, 11:32 AM
I would never nor have I ever since the dark days of haunting secure any walls to the floor! Why would you do that? What if you want to move the haunt to a new building you going to go around and pop them all out of the floor? There is NO NEED WHAT SO EVER to secure the walls to the floor. As long as the walls are secured to each other top bottom and middle explain how they are going to move? A maze could have hundreds and hundreds of walls and one secured to the next to the next to the next they just aren't going to move. I would NOT secure them to the floor!

Larry

Our building department required our wall panels to be secured to the floor with 1 tap con each. They also required any wall panels stacked over 8', (for example, our 16' facades), to be bolted to each other, and not just screwed.

Slain
06-06-2013, 12:29 PM
Our building department required our wall panels to be secured to the floor with 1 tap con each. They also required any wall panels stacked over 8', (for example, our 16' facades), to be bolted to each other, and not just screwed.

See Larry if youd only listen...
Alot of states securing the walls is required by codes.. You cant just go by what you think you know until your forced to do it the right way..
Larry when your forced to take down a complete haunt then start over securing walls into the floor you might agree with me.. like I said be safe and secure your walls...

graystone
06-06-2013, 05:22 PM
The building codes in Huntsville required walls to be screwed, bolted, or nailed to the floor. I nailed it because it was quicker. In Huntsville there is no such thing as a temporary wall. We literally built a building within a building. I don't know about other states or cities but I can tell you 100% that if my walls were not secured to the floor I would have not opened. When the walls were studded they were inspected, when the wire was ran it was inspected, then the walls were covered yup they came back and inspected. Be glad if you can get away with it I sure as heck did not! Shane and it's mine is there to stay even if I leave!

zombietoxin
06-07-2013, 08:37 AM
Required here as well, but I still would, even if not required, due to past experience with blown-out wall bottoms. It's not that expensive, it doesn't take that long to install or remove and it gives huge piece of mind. To each- their own!

drfrightner
06-10-2013, 08:21 AM
Slain,

I've built and installed over 200 haunted houses and I've never seen anywhere a code that says you must secure the walls to the floor for a haunted house. In fact out of all the haunts we've ever built for a client we've never once secured the walls to the floor or to their existing perimeter walls either. Here is the deal... to each their own whatever you think is best is what you should do. But I'm telling you for a fact that at least the way we build the wall system its not needed, will never be needed and will never be done.

I've got mazes out at Creepyworld which we've since torn down that sat up for 7 years through rain, snow, and seven years of abuse during Halloween sitting on gravel that NEVER got secured to the floor... you can't its on gravel. Finally those walls started coming apart so we built new ones, they came apart from sitting out in the weather for 7 years. I don't want to take them down it actually cost more money to take them down and put them back up rather than rebuild them every 7 or 8 years. Anyway that is a different subject.

Bottom line is not one wall in Darkness or Lemp for that matter is secured to the floor... this haunt industry went through both attractions over the last 5 years along with tens of thousands of other people no walls moved. Lastly if I want to take my haunted house apart, I can quickly and easy and then put it back up somewhere else without any problems.

Again not saying you are wrong because you are NOT wrong... if people must secure their walls to the floor to make them strong they should do so! But for me the way we build the mazes and the walls its not needed and will do basically nothing to make them any stronger than they already are.

Shane: We don't stud up the walls its not how we do it, and any inspector would never be able to move our walls even if he brought in a sledge hammer banging on the bottom of the walls they won't move. Trust me!

Larry

austind
06-10-2013, 10:04 AM
I install a lot of large displays where we can not drill into the tile floors and we use two 2" strips of 1" 3M dual lock. It is a hard plastic industrial velcro that will hold over 200 lbs on a vertical wall. two of these on the bottom of a wall is as strong as a 3/16 tapcom. I have used this stuff for 15 years now and am still amazed by how strong it is. Also if you plan well and have intersecting walls you don't need to use tapcons the walls will be self supporting.

drfrightner
06-10-2013, 11:28 AM
Yes the walls are self supporting ... as for what you described under the walls there is no need for that either. Our walls in all the haunts we own or build for other people are installed one wall after another on any surface with nothing supporting the bottoms. The walls are in and of themselves self supporting. If you stud the walls as Shane suggested then all the walls as in whole entire sections of wall are one big long piece... none of our walls are like that. Each wall is a self contained 4x8 wall panel that can be put up and taken down at will, stacked, packed, loaded, unloaded, moved, blah, blah.

There is simply no need to secure walls to the floor if you build the walls correctly... and in the long run when you do renovations it will be easier to move things around and change stuff.

But again hey it doesn't hurt to pop them into the floor no doubt about it... but if you don't need to why do it? Larry

Cincyscreams
06-11-2013, 11:26 PM
It all depends on your states building code, and ultimately what the building inspector wants. I imagine you will have to have an architect draw up your plans, them submit them to the building dept for a building permit. Your inspectors will tell you what they expect. You need to make them happy and follow the code as closely as possible.

Valley_of_Screams
06-14-2013, 09:14 AM
Google SketchUp can be your best friend! You can completely pre-design your attraction and look at it virtually using real world measurements and even export blue prints! This can save you A LOT of time and money in the long run.

-Tyler

freak 'n' stein
06-19-2013, 02:53 AM
Fun convos! First, I'm buying a Darkness tour ticket next year at TW and I'm kicking EVERY single wall as I go. I DO believe that was the proposal?! Haha. Second, SC must have the slackest building inspectors ever. It COULD be because we grandfather into a lot (lack of sprinklers, etc.)...but we also aren't required at our location to bolt/nail/screw panels to the ground. The guy who built our show before I came around used to nail the panels down and when I came in I found it to be THE most annoying thing ever. Our show changes 100% every year and when I needed to shift panels I found myself chipping off tons of concrete and splitting lots of panel bottoms cause they were a PAIN to get up. Now I won't lie, in HIGH scare areas I've noticed a wall bottom get pushed out, but that's so few and far between. Our halls are close enough in proximity to, as King Kirchner said, support themselves. I'm gonna be a never say never person here, but *knock on wood* hopefully we will NEVER have to secure panels like that. PAIN PAIN PAIN.

screamforadream
06-19-2013, 02:07 PM
I like this thread!

I want to chime in just a bit, when we build our haunts, we never have to attach the panels to the floor, we screw one sided walls together via the end 2x4's top middle and bottom, and as we go we use a small section of 2x4 to brace the pieces together to one another on the top (usually we go about a foot in each direction with two screws going down into each panel), we use angled panels for stability wherever possible, but for longer panel runs we take 2x4's and extend it to another wall across the pathway for stability, and lastly we go through and any angled walls that seem to be in an area where they might be in contact with people (actors or patrons) we do an angled 2x4 brace up top.

We've never had a wall move or bust out.

For double sides walls, we construct everything single sided first than add on the other side of the panel. A simple piece of colored duct tape at the top of that panel lets us know that that is the side to be unscrewed to disassemble at the end of the season.

I walk along the top of the walls all the time in our haunts be it to wire lights or animatronics, make repairs to connections or whatever, even just to get to different scenes faster, and have never had an issue with anything breaking or cracking or moving....

NOW, depending on your LOCAL building departments, some may not understand how haunts work, and therefore just treat it as if you're REALLY BUILDING A HOUSE....since its a rather rare thing for them, a lot of local officials vary in how they want you to build out. It shouldn't be your focus to simply do a build out but to go the extra step to explain and teach your local officials. There's things they don't know and things you could also learn from them, it's a process and when you are malleable and work with them the extra mile, it's better and easier on both parties.

brucejuice39
07-08-2013, 01:29 AM
I've been in the building/construction industry for the past ten years and have seen so many different construction methods of building or framing walls. I think it all depends on how you frame your walls or how you've created your modular system. Without a doubt if your wall is a solid state wall that is framed like traditional building 16 or 24 inch on center studding I'd go into the ground with a wedge anchor through the sill plate instead of Tapcons because they break and spin out to easy if you don't drill the pilot hole correctly. Wedge anchors are drilled in with a hammer drill and if you need to remove them you have two options. Option A bang them through the concrete slab and fill with cement fix or concrete adhesive or grind them off so they're level with the floor. I will also say though that I agree with Larry as well on a modular system. If your modular system is secured in three to four spots including top and bottom and into another modular panel then it would be incredibly hard to move and/or pull apart after it was standing. This is on the assumption your walls are constructed using 2x4s and adequate cross bracing. I think if you look back at Shane's progress pics for Disturbia you can see the traditional framing route. And I'm sure there are some great progress threads on modular wall set up in here too. I see both ways being successful if DONE CORRECTLY. Larry maybe if you ever get the chance you could take a snap shot or two of how you connect your modular system together at the top. It might help.

rfsystems
07-08-2013, 07:28 PM
Your facility and haunt design has a lot to do with the way your inspector looks at your project. The "Flammability rating" for your facility and specific words you use when talking to an inspector can play a huge factor in how an inspector views your project. If you tell him you're gonna be in this facility for a few years, he'll be thinking "permanent structure". Inspectors that are in cities that have a lot of seasonal business are more apt to have more experience in this area.

Its been my experience that most inspectors are ignorant to codes that pertain to "amusements" and instead of them taking a chance on what they don't know or haven't see before, they fall back on what they do know "traditional building codes for residential and commercial buildings".

The fastest way to pass an inspection is to do what the inspector says you have to do to pass inspection.

The best way to teach an inspector something new is to ask them about something their not sure of, (be inquisitive, not pushy) a good inspector will go back and do some research on the issue, I've even had a few admit to having to call a bigger city for an answer. If they're honest they'll get back with you with a few options. There ARE codes for temporary structures and amusement or entertainment type structures.

I hope I've explained this well enough and not just added confusion to the conversation.