How Much Does a Hydraulic 2-Stop Elevator Cost?

by Dean Dalvit on October 4, 2014

A very common question we get when designing multi-level commercial projects is: Will I need an elevator and how much will that cost? It can often be a deciding factor in going with multi-story design. Elevators come in all shapes and sizes, so I’ve decided to limit this post to hydraulic 2-stop elevator as this is the most common elevator in most light commercial applications.

First of all, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) states clearly that all commercial space must be accessible. While some jurisdictions will take exception for certain types of occupancy and sometimes even allow alternatives to elevators for small areas of space on other levels, it is generally a good rule of thumb to assume that if you have multiple levels, you should plan on having an elevator.

The cost of a full commercial elevator is significant, as well as the space requirements in the plan for the shaft and equipment. Like all costs, there are variations for geographic location as well as trends in the economic market that can drive the cost. Below is a chart, courtesy of The Means Report, published by RSMeans, the industry’s leading construction cost estimating resource.

Cost of Hydraulic 2-Stop Elevator

The installed cost of these units range from $65,000 to $75,000, depending on the location, and the trend right now is in a down cycle. This data is also very consistent with installed costs for similar elevator units in projects that we have designed in both Colorado and Texas. The highest average cost for these units has reached over $90,000 in the last two years, and is likely to return to those levels in the future. If you are considering developing a commercial project, it is best to understand the impacts of all of the required systems to the overall budget before even starting the Schematic Design. This is one of the many services that we provide at EVstudio and we are happy to help you navigate the entire matrix of estimated costs in order to help you define your project.

Originally posted 2010-04-12 00:01:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Dean Dalvit August 31, 2018 at 6:47 pm

Hi William, thank you for your question. You didn’t indicate where your project is located, but it would be highly unusual for a jurisdiction to not allow an elevator penthouse to exceed your building height limit. I would recommend you checking with your local planning and zoning department first to make sure they wouldn’t allow that. Typically, elevator penthouses, chimneys, stacks, fire escapes and the like are all allowed to exceed the building height limit. If that indeed is the case, there are models out there that can minimize the height of the shaft and hoist beam, but you would have to speak with those elevator representatives directly on which models would best serve your needs. Best of luck!

William August 31, 2018 at 4:33 pm

We are designing a 4 story condominium and we want to get the occupants to the roof (5th stop) but we have a height limitation of 11 feet above the roof deck . Does anyone manufacture an elevator that can be contained in the 11 feet above the final stop level? If that is not possible – as another option – is there a 2 stop – 1 story lift commercial ADA approved elevator that can be housed within 11 feet above the last stop?

Dean Dalvit August 9, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Hi Claudette. A residential elevator that you are describing is a very different thing than the kind of commercial elevator outlined in this article. For new construction, a residential elevator is typically half or less than the cost of a commercial elevator. For an existing building, that cost can climb significantly depending on how much work you would have to do to make the accommodations for the shaft, structure, access, impact to adjacent spaces, etc.. I don’t know where you are located, but I’d suggest you reach out to a manufacturer of residential elevators to get more specific information on your project. One such company is Inclinator: Best of luck with your project!

Claudette Anderson August 7, 2018 at 11:17 pm

looking for and elevator that is build inside a two story home, two to three people will ride up to the second floor in a common area or hallway

Dean Dalvit March 18, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Thanks for your question. Although the best person to answer this for you would be an elevator supplier, contractor, or representative. After a review of your existing conditions, they can select the appropriate system that would meet your requirements. There’s very little we would be able to do without getting deep into the design and constraints. Best of luck with your project!

mja, VA architect March 18, 2018 at 12:40 pm

1906 two story town hall building south central VA (town of Boydton) w/ top floor 175 occupancy. What is best elevator for budget of $100,000 including enclosure?

Dean Dalvit December 6, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Hi Steve,
For a simple three-stop elevator of a standard size (plenty large for that occupant load), you should anticipate around $100,000 give or take 10% or so. Obviously, without knowing anything about the building, it’s hard to say anything about the work that might be required to accommodate the shaft, pit, penthouse, structure for beam, fire ratings, circulation, structure for floor penetrations, electrical upgrades, ventilation, and equipment room. Many buildings make it infeasible to add an elevator within the existing structure for these reasons and so your only option is an exterior shaft, which would carry additional costs as it entails exterior siding, foundation, roof, site changes, etc.. So regardless of what you can do, your total cost will be the $100k plus all of the other surgery you have to perform on the building, or an elevator addition, which could easily double that cost. I don’t know if that helps, but it’s a starting point for your discussion. Best of luck with the project!

Steve December 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Hello, I am located in Connecticut and looking for an estimation on how much an 3 stop elevator would cost for an addition to an Historic Structure, that will be converted into commercial offices or library so the elevator must be able to hold a good amount of people and persons with disabilities (300-500 occupants expected). The elevator doesn’t have to be huge but big enough to accommodate maybe like 5-7 people. I was wondering if I can get an estimate on how much the elevator itself would costs and any other estimation you can generously provide.

Thank you for your time,


Dean Dalvit November 22, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Hi Larry!
400 occupants in three levels is a relatively small load. Only one standard elevator could likely handle the load though you could add a second for convenience. Depending on your location and logistics of the existing conditions, I would expect a budget between $80,000 and $100,000 per elevator, installed. Many variables would influence that of course from available electrical supply to construction type to available space for shaft and equipment room. Elevators can, in some cases, require major surgery to the building. I hope that helps!

Larry Patella November 22, 2017 at 11:53 am


What size elevator would be required when a building has 400 occupants (3 stops) and what would be the total estimated installed cost?

Dean Dalvit November 10, 2017 at 10:12 pm

I am confused by your question – are you looking for an economical way to avoid paying a structural engineer to design for a 21,000 pound elevator or are you looking for a way to avoid installing the elevator altogether? I can’t really speak to the latter because I don’t know your situation, but if you’re asking about paying a structural engineer, you should not consider doing any structural work to a building without a licensed professional engineer doing the design work. Hope that helps.

Euniece Dunning November 10, 2017 at 1:14 pm

We are looking at a building built in 1920 with two shafts one is 6×8 in the front of the building and the other is off the alley more like a freight shaft 10×10(?)
As I talk to the contractors they want me to pay a structural engineer to put a 21000lb elevator. Is there a more economical way, or better fix to this situation?

Dean Dalvit March 16, 2016 at 9:25 am

Thanks for your question. It’s hard to know what kind of onion peel you might unravel with a building from the 1800’s, but assuming you are building an all new shaft for a 3-stop elevator with virtually minimal impact to the existing building, I would start out with a conceptual budget of somewhere in the range of $180k-$220k. The elevator itself, installed will be about $100k of that, and the remainder for the structural, electrical and mechanical systems for the shaft itself, as well as an architectural skin that would be in keeping with the existing building (assuming brick) and the necessary penetrations to the existing building. This would not include any renovations to the existing building that may be required to extend corridors or improve those transitional areas for elevator lobbies, nor would it include any site costs for changes to parking, drainage, etc. as those are unknowable until you have at least a schematic level design in place. I hope that helps – if you have any further questions or need assistance with the design of your project, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thanks!

Travis March 15, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Dean, I live in New Jersey and want to put an elevator in a 3 story office building built in the 1800s. It has room on the exterior for installation of a concrete block shaft. I am looking to do as cheaply as possible. Any idea on the costs? Thanks Travis.

Dean Dalvit February 25, 2016 at 12:06 am

Hi Jeff,
Thank you for your inquiry. While RSMeans data doesn’t technically extend to Canadian provinces, we have completed several projects in Canada and while there does seem to be a bit of a premium on the cost of goods and labor, I can’t imagine why a 4-stop elevator would ever cost that much. That figure is over triple the tabulated cost, and you already have electrical, mechanical, structural in place and you wouldn’t require any major surgery to the existing building (as best as I can tell). I would definitely recommend getting a second opinion, or third, on both the cost of a new elevator as well as the cost of fabricating any custom parts you might need to repair the existing elevator. Because in this day and age, just about anything can be manufactured relatively inexpensively (compared to the cost of an entirely new elevator). Best of luck!

Jeff February 24, 2016 at 11:21 pm

I live in Vancouver, BC. Let’s start by saying i don’t know anything about elevators.
I live in a 3 storey wood frame building (4 stories including the basement. We have been given a rough estimate for a full replacement by our property management company. Reason given for replacement is due to parts no longer being available. When the elevator needs a new part, it must be fabricated for our particular elevator. Costly and time consuming. The estimate is 280 000$ (canadian $). This includes all material, labour, fees, plans, etc…everything. seems quite high. Our building was constructed in 1975, and the elevator has never been changed.
If you have any insight, please write me back. Our strata is a little lost and confused about the whole situation. Thank you, Jeff

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