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


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

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.

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