There are many factors that influence how long a parking structure will last and at what point you will need to tear it down and rebuild.
How can you avoid expensive repairs or a rebuild in the future?
Parking structures are directly exposed to the elements, unlike a building structure that’s protected by a building envelope. Exposure includes moisture, freezing temperatures, deicing salts, thermal expansion and contraction, and dynamic vehicle loads.
Whether your parking structure is a multi-level garage or a few below-grade levels under a high-rise building, proactive condition assessment and diligent maintenance are imperative.
If problems are ignored, the harsh environment in garages will quickly accelerate deterioration into hazardous conditions.
Most parking structures are constructed of reinforced concrete in a few forms:
- Pre-cast: Pre-stressed concrete members fabricated in a plant and erected on site.
- Cast-In-Place: Concrete placed into formwork on site and reinforced with mild steel reinforcement, post tension steel tendons, or a combination of the two.
- Steel: This type presents a far lower initial cost and accelerated construction schedule as opposed to concrete structures, but the nature of the steel members can lead to corrosion/rusting issues, and therefore higher maintenance costs. Steel structures have a reinforced concrete slab.
Many see the outwardly rugged nature of a parking structure and assume that they are indestructible and require little maintenance. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. Many parking structures lack a true building envelope, and instead leave their structural components exposed to the elements. This leads to deterioration starting before construction has even completed.
Don’t Defer Routine Parking Structure Maintenance!
If routine parking structure inspection and maintenance is deferred for too long, the costs will add up exponentially, leading to a situation in which maintenance costs outprice those of demolition and construction of a new structure. This leads to a smaller amount of parking spots for your facility, and potentially unhappy visitors.
If you own or operate a parking structure, a good maintenance program is required to prevent costs from adding up exponentially down the line. A plan should be developed to account for the structural, operational, and aesthetic components of the parking structure’s design. Maintenance should be performed proactively rather than reactionarily!
The IEI Structural Engineering Advantage
Our engineers at IEI specialize in parking structure inspection and restoration. We’ll walk your facility and let you know of any conditions that require immediate attention, require further investigation, and maintenance activities you can perform now to extend the life of your facility. Give us a call today!