What is an Elevator Pit? (Types, Dimensions)


If an elevator is operating in a high-rise building, then it may be carrying approximately 20,000 people in a year. Thousands of people are relying on this equipment to reach their floors safely. Needless to say, elevator cabs are performing at their peak to make sure the whole system goes smoothly.

The elevator pit is a crucial part of the lift that ensures safety in case of an accident and makes it easier for the technicians to inspect, repair, and maintain its various parts. Having basic knowledge about the elevator pit allows you to ensure that your company’s lift adheres to the certified standards and maintains the security of the users.

Companies operating in elevator-run buildings can save their costs by cutting down on their maintenance costs. They can also be readily prepared in an emergency by getting more information about elevator pits convinced yet?

Then let’s get on with it and learn more about elevator pit and its various types.


What is an Elevator Pit?

The elevator pit is a space below the ground floor that acts as a resting ground for the elevator and its equipment that is hanging from it. It’s the space between the shaft’s lowest landing door and the ground at the bottom.

It consists of:

  • Concrete base slab
  • Four concrete block walls
  • Shock absorbers, etc.

These are designed to accommodate the parts hanging from the elevator, including cables and toe guards. Buildings are required to get permits for these spaces due to the possible electrical-mechanical hazards. They serve various essential functions, such as supporting the elevator shaft and preventing water and debris from entering it.
Also, elevator shafts act as a buffer between the elevator car and the floor of the building and prevent it from damage. The concrete walls of the pit must be strong enough to withstand the weight of the elevator car and shaft. It has a sloped design so that water doesn’t enter the hole.

For additional safety, the elevator pits are waterproofed to prevent the water from entering and damaging the equipment inside. Underneath every elevator is a pit, and there are two types of elevators present in residential and corporate buildings, namely Hydraulic and Traction. Let’s understand how their system operates.

Traction Elevator Pit

Traction elevation pit is most commonly used in high-rise buildings. These operate through steel ropes that pass through the pulley to lift the elevator cab up and down. Here’s how traction elevators work:

1.Counterweight Frame: A counterweight frame offers a counterweight balance to the elevator’s load capacity. As the elevator car goes up, the counterweights attached at the end of the ropes come down, and vice versa.

2. Pit Ladder: It offers access to the elevator pit.

3. Pit Lights: Offers visibility in the darkness of the pit.

4. Tail Sheave: This part offers resistance and activates the brakes when the elevator cab overspeeds.

5. Oil buffers: It soften the movement of the elevator cab and the counterweight.

Hydraulic Elevator Pit

Hydraulic elevators use the hydraulic system to move the elevator car along the shaft. This type is usually best for up to five or six-story buildings. When the elevator is called to the floor, the hydraulic piston pushes the hydraulic oil into the cylinder, causing it to rise and pushing the elevator upwards. To make the elevator cab descend, the hydraulic pump reverses the flow of hydraulic fluid. The following equipment works together for the mechanism to work:

1. Hydraulic Cylinder: It pumps up the hydraulic oil to ascend or descend the elevator car.

2. Spring Buffers: The spring buffer on the sides of the pit cushion assists in making the process smooth. 

3. Pit Ladder: It offers access to the elevator pit.

4. Pit Lights:  Offers visibility in the darkness of the pit.

5. Drain Bucket: The drain bucket collects oil leakages that may occur around the elevator seal and cause seepage.

If you want to know about trusted elevator parts service providers that can offer both Hydraulic and Traction Elevator pits, then contact Dazen.

Elevator Pit Dimensions

The elevator pit dimensions may vary depending on the size, capacity, type, and building code the elevator is operating in. However, there are some general guidelines about the dimensions of the elevator pit. The dimensions of the length and depth are as follows:

Length and Width: Elevator pits are rectangular and usually range from 8 feet by 8 feet to 10 feet by 10 feet. These conditions may vary when dealing with a larger or smaller elevator.

Depth: The elevator pits usually have a depth of around 8 to 10 feet. The depth may vary based on the elevator’s capacity and the type of elevator.

How Do I Waterproof an Elevator Pit?

After heavy rains, water will likely seep into elevator pits; hence, it’s best to waterproof it to prevent damage. There are three options you can consider to waterproof an elevator pit. The three techniques are as follows:

1. Apply a Membrane
Apply a waterproofing material to the outer surface of the foundation of the elevator pit to prevent water seepage. Mainly, waterproofing material is applied when buildings are constructed. With older buildings, you may need to freshen up the membrane to maintain the effectiveness of the waterproofing material.

2. Above and Lower Grade Elevator Foundation Waterproofing
Above-grade foundation waterproofing protects the elevator pit from surface water sources like rain. Apply such products to the exterior and interior elevator pit walls to prevent the water from penetrating. Below-grade foundation waterproofing is coating drain tile systems using waterproof material and similar products to prevent the water from seeping in.

3. Waterproof Drain Tile System
You can install a strain tile system along the walls of the elevator shaft to help prevent the water from penetrating the elevator pit. This will require incision along the interior or exterior walls, draining any water. Adding a waterproof membrane in the interior foundation will act as a barrier to possible water incursion. A perforated drain tile is wrapped around a pea rock with geo fabric to allow it to act like a water filter. 

This mechanism will send water into the sewer or outside the building. The downside of this technique is that a lot of work goes into the installing system and doesn’t completely seal the foundations. Nevertheless, it’s still a great way to prevent water from penetrating the elevator pit.



A lot of work goes into the elevator installation, and it should be ensured that your service provider follows the guidelines to make the elevator car safe. One should always hire a trusted and authorized elevator service provider such as Dazen Elevator. 

We have helped hundreds of customers from Europe, the Middle East, South America, and South East Asia to set up safe elevators for residential and commercial buildings. If you are looking for top-notch engineering services along with high-quality technology, then we have got you covered. Contact us today!

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