Average Bunker Costs
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Bomb Shelter Cost
Depending on size, bomb shelters can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $9 million or more. Bomb shelters and underground bunkers usually refer to the same thing and include filtration systems to handle nuclear fallout.
Fallout Shelter Cost
A 200-square-foot fallout shelter costs $60,000 on average. Nuclear fallout shelters became popular during the Cold War. Nowadays, nearly every bunker or bomb shelter comes fully equipped with water and air filtration to protect against radiation exposure. Modern models often include airtight entries to ward against chemical and biological attacks.
Doomsday Bunker Cost
A doomsday or apocalypse bunker can cost anywhere from $35,000 to several million dollars. Some companies use “doomsday” bunkers interchangeably with nuclear or fallout bunkers, but some people see these types of bunkers as different.
A bomb shelter is sometimes seen as a temporary place of safety, since most are only needed for up to about two weeks to see you through a nuclear incident. A doomsday bunker on the other hand is usually considered a long-term housing solution made to withstand any type of apocalyptic situation. As such, doomsday bunkers might cost millions and include things like a hydroponic gardening system, greenhouse, or even a movie theater or pool.
Depending on what you’re looking for, here are a couple additional costs to consider:
Building a greenhouse costs $20 per square foot.
Home theater installation costs anywhere from $2,000–$63,000.
Satellite dish installation costs $180 on average.
Indoor pool installation costs $20,000–$100,000.
Bunker Cost Factors
Bunkers come in all shapes, sizes, and for multiple purposes, including short-term and long-term survival. Before beginning your build, you’ll want to determine your goals. In a short-term survival situation, you don’t have to worry about things such as showering or keeping your spirits high. But in a long-term survival situation, you may need more amenities, such as a washer and dryer, a movie theater, and investments in full-spectrum lighting to maintain positive mental health.
Above-Ground vs. Underground Bunker Cost
An above-ground shelter typically costs less than an underground shelter, both in materials and labor. For reference, the average storm shelter installation costs $3,000 to $15,000 above ground and $4,000 to $30,000 below ground. Talk to an architect near you for an estimate.
Prefab vs. Custom Bunkers
Most bunkers are prefabricated at a manufacturing facility that specializes in bunkers, but it’s also possible to hire a contractor to do the work on-site. Or, you may want a combination of the two.
Prefabricated nuclear bomb shelters cost $40,000 to $120,000 (not including labor and shipping costs). It’s common for manufacturers to offer prefab bunkers or shelters and then either construct them onsite or ship you the materials. Doomsday bunkers cost even more, with luxurious survival bunkers costing nearly $10 million.
Many bunkers come as a simple steel container built custom or using a large culvert or even a shipping container. While it’s not always necessary, you may want to encase it in reinforced concrete for added durability.
You’ll want to consider a few costs before you decide to pour any concrete, including:
Concrete pouring costs: $100–$200 per cubic yard.
Foundation concrete costs: $4–$20 per sq. ft.
Enhanced security includes not only cameras and other connected devices on your property, but also proper landscaping and building to camouflage the entrance and any above-ground parts, such as vents, solar panels, or generators.
New security systems cost: $300–$1,200 total
Smart home installations cost: $200–$1,500 total
Security door installation costs: $600–$4,600 total
All bunkers need plumbing to help with water supplies and waste. You’ll want to consider planning this out before you hire a bunker company. Most bunker building professionals can tell you exactly what you’ll need to have ready before your bunker is delivered. If it’s part of a new construction, you’ll want to talk to your plumber early.
Plumbers cost: $45–$200 per hour
Water main installation costs: $600–$2,600 total
For a simple bomb shelter that you might need for a week or two, a built-in theater might seem like a luxury, but in a long-term survival situation, maintaining balanced health means keeping morale up and your mood high, which means a home theater might be a necessity.
Other luxurious finishes you can get in a bunker include a game room, pool, bowling alley, shooting range, and a hot tube. Some prices you’ll want to consider before investing include:
Pool installation costs: $20,000–$50,000
Hot tub installation costs: $6,000–$25,000
Sauna installation costs: $3,000–$6,000
Home theater installation costs: $2,000–$63,000
Delivery fees can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more. Some bunker prefabrication companies offer delivery as part of the package, but many charge extra. You can arrange delivery yourself as well. However you get your bunker to your home, you’ll likely want to factor delivery fees into your overall build.
Excavating the land and installing the bunker could cost anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000. Your most affordable option for installation might be putting in a bunker during construction of a new house.
Land preparation costs include:
Land clearing costs: $1,300–$5,500
Utility hookups cost: $500–$2,000 or more
Land excavation costs: $1,500–$6,000 and up
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DIY Bomb Shelter vs. Hire a Professional
Building an underground bomb shelter is a ton of work and requires professionals with engineering and architectural backgrounds. Trying to tackle this project on your own is extremely risky and could even be illegal if not built to code.
If you plan on going about this from a DIY stance, you’ll still want to consult engineering professionals to make sure your structure is safe. A shelter supply company might be a good place to start, but consider hiring an architect or structural engineer first.
Hiring a structural engineer costs:
Hiring an architect costs $5,700 on average but it’s a price well worth your safety. When building something to protect you and your loved ones, the last thing you want is to cut corners.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a bomb shelter?
A bomb shelter is an abode built to withstand disaster. Bomb shelters may refer to a space or bunker that can protect inhabitants through a hypothetical nuclear attack, apocalypse, or any other massive crisis. People usually build bomb shelters underground and stock them to live there a few days to a month at a time. Doomsday bunkers accommodate long-term living rather than just through a short crisis.
How do you build your own bomb shelter?
Builders construct bomb shelters with reinforced steel, box culvert, concrete, or other durable materials (but many professionals do not recommend shipping containers, as they’re not designed to live underground. If building underground, you’ll first have to excavate land before building the actual structure. You’ll have to implement air and water filtration systems, septic systems, and power supply.
It takes a lot of experience to safely and legally construct a bomb shelter, not to mention make sure it’s fit to live in for extended periods of time. It’s best to talk to a residential structural engineer near you for proper guidance.
How do you filter air in a bomb shelter?
The current standard filtration systems require filtering both air and water. For air, you’ll want an NBC filter system, which both domestic and international producers make. NBC stands for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical, which filters out all three. If you’re only building your shelter for natural disasters, chemical attacks, and biological attacks, you may opt for the less expensive HEPA filter system.
Water filtration requires the same level of care. You’ll likely want to have a large water storage capacity to survive short-term disasters. For long-term living, you’ll want to have a water filtration system.
What are Rising S bunker prices?
Rising S bunker prices depend on the size, ranging anywhere from $20,000 to $9 million. Their least expensive model is 96 square feet while their most expensive model has a gym, swimming pool, hot tub, and bowling alley.
Standard Bomb Shelter: $67,500–$109,500
Silver Leaf: $140,000–$182,500
Xtreme Bunker Complex: $840,000–$1,830,000
Luxury Series: $3,800,000–$9,600,000
Do you need a permit to build a bunker?
You almost always need a permit to build a bunker on land with any type of public utilities running through it. You’ll want to check with your local building code enforcement agency to see if this is the case for your area.
Because you’re building a structural component that often requires electricity, water, and sewage services, you’ll need to apply for permits to attach these utilities to your new property. However, off-grid-only units in rural areas may not need all or any of the permitting you’d normally find in more urban settings.
How deep underground should a bunker be?
To survive a nuclear blast, you’ll need to have your bunker at least three feet underground. However, it’s usually advisable to put it further underground. To survive a close strike, you’ll want to have the bunker at least 10 feet down and with five-foot thick reinforced concrete. However, knowing exactly how deep to build depends on the size of the blast you’re trying to avoid. Most bunkers don’t need to be more than 5 feet below the ground.