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


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Newbold January 28, 2015 at 10:13 am

It’s a large, 4 story building. There is going to be an elevator for the rest of the building but we’d like something more private just for our use.

Dean Dalvit January 28, 2015 at 10:10 am

Are you looking for a cost for just the elevator or for the whole renovation project? The elevator itself, installed, will be on the order of $80k to serve your two story daycare. I’m unclear from your comment though about what happens to the other two existing floors. If the same elevator will serve the other floors as well, there is an incremental additional cost per floor.

Rob Newbold January 28, 2015 at 9:46 am

We’re looking to build out an existing factory building into a two story daycare center, the building is a four story building. The first floor has a 14′ ceiling height and a 10′ on the second. We’d have to cut a shaft thru the concrete slabs and build a pit as well as a cmu enclosure for the shaft. We’re in the feasibility stages right now and I was just curious if you could give me an estimate on a price it would cost to install. We’re located in Chicago.

Dean Dalvit January 21, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Hi John,
Thanks for reaching out. The RSMeans data for the elevator itself suggests a budget of $80,000 and in addition to that, because you are creating new space and tying into the existing building, I would anticipate in the neighborhood of $20,000 to $30,000 for that additional structure. This assumes that the rework to the existing building will not be significant and that the space is there for the new elevator shaft and will not require any onerous site expenses. We do have a Texas office and are fully licensed to practice architecture and engineering there, so if you would like assistance on the design or engineering for the addition, please let us know and we would be happy to help.

John January 19, 2015 at 10:31 am

Our Church is considering adding an elevator to our Worship center. It would be a 2 stop elevator and positioned on the outside of the original structure that was built in 1981. What would be a good working budget for such a system? We are located just west of Ft. Worth, Texas.

Dean Dalvit December 26, 2014 at 7:50 am

Hi Jack,
You definitely have a unique situation there. I don’t think the data for passenger elevators will apply to your situation. I would suggest going directly to an elevator manufacturer (like Otis or Schindler for example) to get an opinion of probable cost. They would also be able to speak to installation considerations as well and advise you of any other code or constructability issues that may influence your budget. Best of luck to you and Happy New Year!

Jack C. December 25, 2014 at 8:39 pm

I forgot to add: It’s in Detroit, Michigan, and it would be a 3 stop unit . And doesn’t have to be hydraulic.

Jack C. December 25, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Hi Dean,

First of all, Merry Christmas to you!

I have an old freight elevator that has been out of commission for over 25 years. Water has leaked down the shaft from the rooftop opening that it has. It’ a hydraulic unit. It was built late 60′s. The hydraulic pump and mechanical room controls look relatively new (10-15 years).

I noticed the estimated costs for passenger elevators in your posts here. Can you tell me what it might be to replace this freight elevator using the same shaft? I don’t need super heavy loads (less than 10,000 lb (nor do I need the ability to move people).

Thanks in advance!

Dean Dalvit December 24, 2014 at 7:58 am

Goodness Kerry, I’m sorry to hear that. My first advice might be to find another position because that doesn’t sound like a very good operation, and certainly shakes my confidence in the quality of subcontractors and suppliers in the market today. But aside from doling out career advice, I would strongly encourage you to thoroughly research RS means for their construction cost data – not just related to the equipment, but also the construction of shafts, walls, supporting structure and finishes for elevator systems. Our information and general understanding of unit systems cost as a component of total building cost is far too broad for a level that you would need to properly estimate the details of the system. I do wish you the best of luck – you’re not in an easy situation and I would implore you to reach out to the owner of the business as I’m sure they would be keenly interested to hear about your situation!

Kerry G December 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I am currently working for a commercial elevator company. I have no experience in estimating elevators and know one to even train me. I was told to sink or swim. Any advice on what steps to take in order to understand this task at hand. Thank you and Happy Holidays!!!

Dean Dalvit December 1, 2014 at 8:45 am

There are a lot of factors that would have to be studied in order to determine if your dumbwaiter shaft could be utilized as an elevator shaft (structure, fire protection, ventilation, location of equipment, etc.). Assuming it could, your costs would be aligned with those of a new elevator PLUS the remodeling costs to install and any upgrades to the existing shaft for those systems. You didn’t mention your location, and there is also variability with different markets, so it’s tough to provide an opinion at any level of confidence, but my instinct tells me you would be looking at likely a ballpark in the neighborhood of $100k.

steven November 30, 2014 at 8:12 pm

I have a 3 story building that has a manual dumb waiter that is still in place. can I replace this with a working passenger elevator its about 72 x 72 there is no basement how much would this cost?

Dean Dalvit October 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

The installation cost of a new elevator will include some additional costs for building the shaft, running electrical, the pit and pumps and HVAC for the shaft. Additionally, with the base cost of an elevator being in the ballpark of $70k for a 2-stop, you will add anywhere from $10-$15k per additional stop. So you would probably be looking at a conceptual budget in the ballpark of $110k-$150k for a new 4-stop elevator with shaft, depending of course on the elevator specs, level of finish and any additional work you may need to do to the building to stitch it into the circulation for each floor. I do not know of any contractors personally in your area, but you will need a fully licensed commercial contractor to do this work as it includes architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical work, like any other commercial project. It’s a sound recommendation to make the building accessible to all floors as that not only makes the building more livable by removing barriers, but it also makes the building, and each unit therein inherently more valuable as well. Best of luck with your project!

Steven October 30, 2014 at 12:24 pm

My condo in NJ has a old elevator which requires replacement. However the elevator is located in a part of the building that is not on ground level. I am recommending to my condo association to build a new free standing elevator on the outside of building instead of repairing the existing one. can anyone give an idea of costs for a 4 story elevator? Can you recommend contractors in South Jersey? Please let me know.

Dean Dalvit May 12, 2014 at 8:19 am

It sounds like a historic building, which often has some leniency on code requirements as long as you don’t change the use, but it’s tough to imagine that the local building department would approve anything but a code compliant elevator for a new use – especially an assembly use. With that said, a starting point for a two-stop elevator is going to be in the neighborhood of $50k-$60k. There are a host of variables from existing structure to construction logistics that will be unique to your building that would inform this cost. Best of luck!

steve May 12, 2014 at 6:24 am

Are you aware of any circumstances under which it would be permissable to refurbidh an existing antique freight elevator for passenger use to gain access to the second floor of a 2 story building? The proposed use would be to get patrons, food and beverages from a first floor restaurant to a second floor banquet room. If not, can you provide me with an estimated price range to install a 6 to 8 passenger elevator in the existing shaft? I am doing my research to determine whether or not it could be feasible to also lease the 2,500 sq.ft. second story space above the restaurant. There would be a staircase accessing the space also. Thank you in advance for any thoughts you have on this. Steve

Dean Dalvit December 9, 2011 at 4:03 pm


It certainly should be possible to install a new elevator in the existing shaft. Logistics would heavily influence the cost of that, but I would expect a new elevator to be anywhere from $60k-$80k installed, assuming typical building conditions and construction. Your best bet would be to contact an elevator rep directly as they can outline the possibilities and options for you. Best of luck!

Bob Tucker December 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I have an existing building with an old elevator and old elevator shaft. It is a two story building with a basement. I have removed the old elevator but I would like to put in a new one. Do you think this can be done; and if so what do you think the cost would be .. ball park. Thanks in advance.

Dean Dalvit October 24, 2011 at 7:33 am

Thank you for the kind words. We appreciate it.

Women's Shoes Camilla Skovgaard London Reviews October 22, 2011 at 12:44 am

Many thanks on your good website content this particular informations quite usefull!!!. and also, Continue the good work…! and then, Anyone should take the time to submit articles or reviews pretty much as good as this one and not saturate the internet with nothing!.! additionally, I’ll share this with all of my friends.

Makita GA5020Y May 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Hello there – I must say, I am happy with your website. I had no problems navigating via all of the tabs and the info was very simple to access. I discovered what I wanted in no time at all. Pretty awesome.

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }