9 Non-Elevator Costs in Elevator Modernizations

A simple guide to help you understand the non-elevator work associated with an elevator modernization and additional costs to consider.

If you’re thinking of an elevator modernization, the first thing you’ll consider is cost.  However, many buildings overlook the non-elevator costs associated with modernizations. When you modernize an elevator, you’re required to meet newer elevator code which may force other (non-elevator) items to be upgraded – like smoke detectors.  Since this work is not complete by the elevator company, it’s easy to forget these items when estimating cost. 

This guide will review the non-elevator related items (work by others) to consider for your project.  

Elevator Modernization Cost:

Since we’ve already published a guide for elevator modernization cost, we’ll assume you already have your elevator modernization costs figured out.  The items below are usually excluded from your proposal and should be added on top of the elevator modernization cost. 

Note:  Each local elevator code will vary.  This should be used as a reference only. Additional items may be required in your location.   This guide should not be used to make your final decision. To confirm your local codes you should contact an elevator expert or your local Department of Buildings.

1. Fire Alarm System & Your Elevator

If not already in your building, or not a local code requirement, smoke detectors will be required at each floor just outside the elevator doors.  You may also be required to install a smoke detector in the elevator pits and machine rooms. 

Sprinklers and heat sensors may also be a requirement, depending on your building size and local code. 

If another company is hired to install the fire alarm system, your elevator provider should include labor to tie in these systems to the elevator fire recall function.

2. Elevator Emergency Power

If required, when the elevator loses power (or the building loses power), it should switch over to building supplied standby power.  The emergency power operation is required to bring passengers down and out of the elevator when power is lost.

3. Elevator Machine Room HVAC

New elevator controllers require specific temperatures to operate effectively.  Most systems are designed to shut down if the machine room temperature falls outside of the tolerance.  The tolerance is between 40 degrees F and 90 degrees F. 

A new HVAC system may be required to keep the new controller at the correct temperatures.

4. Elevator Machine Room Power and Mainline Disconnect:

The power feeding the elevator, and disconnect switch, may need to be upgraded along with the elevator.  This cost is usually excluded from the modernization proposal.

5. Elevator Machine Room Pipe

All other (non-elevator) pipe or wire that travels through the machine room will need to be removed or fire rated. 

6. Elevator Machine Room Fire Extinguisher

With the new modernization code, you may be required to purchase a new fire extinguisher.  Check with your local fire code to determine what’s needed.

7. Elevator Machine Room Doors

Your elevator door will need to be fire rated, self-closing and locking, modified to swing out, and then equipped with appropriate “Elevator Machine Room” signs.

8. Hoistway Bevel

Items that stick out in the hoistway or recess, like a beam or a ledge, will need to be beveled.  Adding a bevel decreases the chance of a snag in the hoistway.

9. Wall Cutting and Patching

Most elevator proposals exclude patching and cutting.  If you’re required to move wall fixtures, then the old holes will need to be patched, and the new holes will need to be cut.  If the walls are concrete or marble, the costs could become quite high. Make sure you check if this is included and then account for additional charges.  

elevator modernization


Understanding that the elevator modernization proposal may not include all costs will help you plan for this project.  The non-elevator work usually costs a small fraction of the total elevator cost, but it’s still important to understand any other cost.  

If you need help with your modernization planning, feel free to contacts us.  We built ElevatorLab to help you with any elevator project. 

Do any of these items apply to your building?  Comment below.

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