Dumbwaiters Cost Estimating Tips

Dumbwaiters and elevators are estimated and purchased in a method similar to buying a car. The manufacturer has a base unit with standard features. Added to this base unit price will be whatever options the owner or specifications require. Increased load capacity, additional stops, higher speed, and cab finish options are items to be considered.

When developing an estimate for dumbwaiters and elevators, remember that some items needed by the installers may have to be included as part of the general contact. Examples are:

Check the job specifications and drawings before pricing

When in doubt about price, what is standard on elevators, material selection, availability, etc., do not hesitate to call on any of the elevator manufacturing companies directly. The competition for your business can be fierce, and they will try to assist you in any way they can.

Elevator Doors - When preparing an estimate for elevators, check to make sure that doors have been included, not only for the elevator itself, but for each floor where the elevator stops.

Hydraulic Piston - When figuring the cost for a hydraulic elevator, make sure that the excavation for the elevator piston is included in the estimate. For each floor above grade that the elevator is to travel, there should be an equal length of piston below grade.

Fire Stops - When estimating any vertical conveying system, make sure all openings for doors, dumbwaiter access panels, etc., are fire-rated per the applicable code. In case of a fire emergency, their shaftways will otherwise act as a conduit for smoke and heat.

Tie-in - Make sure that either the conveying system estimate, the electrical estimate, or mechanical estimate include the tie-in to the rest of the electrical and control systems. This is another item that people often assume someone else has covered.

Historical Buildings - Installation of elevators and handicapped lifts in historic structures can require significant additional costs. The associated structural requirements may involve cutting into and repairing finished, moldings, flooring etc. The estimator must account for these special conditions.

Read more estimating tips for conveying systems.

Typical Costs

Electric traction passenger elevator - Base unit, 2,000 lb. 200 fpm. 4 stop, standard finish: $109,500
(According to the Means Building Construction Cost Data, 2008.)

Residential Cab Type Elevator - 1 Floor, 2 stop, Max. Cost: $30,200
(According to the Means Building Construction Cost Data, 2008.)

Electric traction freight elevator - 20,000 lbs, 800 fpm, 4 stops: $76,200
(According to the Means Building Construction Cost Data, 2008.)

Cost Estimating Resources from RSMeans

2011 Building Construction Cost Data Book
Thousands of unit costs for building components, arranged in the new CSI MasterFormat® 2010 classification system
» Learn more
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