Conventional elevators have a shaft with a pit, or a continuation of the hoistway below the lowest level the elevator serves. The lowest level could be the first floor or the basement.
A pit is usually required to provide space for the cab support (sling) and space for overtravel. The typical pit depth for a home elevator is 8”. Sometimes the required depth can be as much as 14”.
Excavating space for a pit can sometimes be difficult or expensive. Sometimes digging a pit is not an option. For instance, if you have radiant heating in the floor, you will not want to cut into the floor. If you are adding a home elevator to a condo or townhome on upper levels, you may not have an option to cut into the floor.
A pitless elevator can avoid these problems. It eliminates the need for a pit or reduces the pit depth requirement, making it easier to retrofit an existing home to add an elevator.
Some elevators are completely pitless, meaning they can be installed on top of finished floors. The Visi-48, Visi-58, and Vision 450 can be installed without any pit.
The Freedom Green traditional elevator has a pitless option, which is a reduced pit. It still requires a 2” depression, or a 2” step up into the elevator on the lowest landing. The 2” depression can often be addressed by removing tile where the elevator is located. Depending on the depth of the flooring, you may be able to make close to a 2” depression for the reduced pit.
If you have a difficult design issue, chances are it has been seen before and there may be a solution. Talk to your local home elevator expert to get some advice.