Re: elevators
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 11:36:03 -0700 (PDT)
Hello Patricia and all --

Sharon covered the important points very well.

First, how many is "some units" over the CH?  One? 5? More?  What size units
are you constructing on the 2nd floor?  This will impact the size of
elevator you will need.   One suggestion I have would be to decide what you
want the elevator to carry.  For instance...if you have bicycle storage at
ground level the elevator won't need to schlep them up one flight.
Certainly you would want to make sure the elevator or lift will accommodate
a power wheelchair or a scooter (if it does this then it will accommodate a
stroller.)  If you're building 1 BR or efficiency units this will impact the
number of people you expect the elevator to handle.

Elevators come in all different types, sizes, weights, and for different
uses.  Ours is a very sexy state of the art hydraulic elevator and is the
maximum elevator needed for carrying a combination people and objects up 4
flights (you count from the basement) for the number of units that are
accessed by the elevator (in our case about 14 units plus 2 guest rooms and
exercise room.)  The installation cost 5 years ago was $50,000.00.  Your
cost SHOULD be different but then, again, you're in CA and it's five years

Unfortunately, I can't comment on what the energy usage is except to say
it's supposed to be very energy efficient.  You will, of course, have to
have your elevator, whether it's a "lift" or an enclosed cab, inspected and
maintained according to your municipal code.  In fact, you might check the
building code in your municipality because that may dictate what you will
need to provide in re: commercial/residential.  Is your municipality going
to view your CH as a public commercial space or a private residential space?
Get this clear first.

Depending on what kind of elevator or lift you get you may need to provide
sprinkler service, smoke detector service and a dedicated phone line for the
cab.  This all adds up altho' you will very likely have to have a sprinkler
system and smoke detector system in the CH so adding these two to the
elevator won't be very expensive.

And I would start talking to elevator companies.  Find out what's out there.
If you have a local chapter of Community Associations Institute talk to
those folks and find out what various condos, coops, in your area etc. are
using.  CAI even has a handbook on elevator maintenance.  You can find it on
their website:  Also check and find out if in your area there
is a property management association.  The members are folks whose daily job
is maintenance of facilities.  They can tell you what works and what

One last piece of unsolicited advice:  if you have the option of buying a
maintenance, repair and/or replacement plan for the elevator or lift...take
it.  Our elevator has been remarkably free from shut downs (except for
maintenance times) -- I truly believe this is because once a month minimum a
professional elevator maintenance person comes out and inspects and services
the elevator, the elevator control room and a few other things.  (Of course,
make sure you are getting good value for the maintenance plan.)

Good luck!

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village
Washington, DC

³The Road to Enlightenment is Long and Difficult...
So Bring Cookies and a Magazine.²

Wk  202 546 4654
FAX 202 291 8594

On 10/21/05 1:20 PM, "Sharon Villines" <sharon [at]> wrote:

> On Oct 20, 2005, at 3:48 PM, Patricia Chadwick wrote:
>> We are planning a cohousing development in California and are committed
>> to universal design. Because we have a fairly small plot of land we
>> discussed building some units over the common house and therefore
>> installing an elevator. Has anyone included an elevator in their plans
>> and if so, can you give me a rough idea of the cost, including
>> maintenance? The elevator would only be going up one floor. Is a
>> commercial elevator required or could a residential one be used?

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