There are many factors that influence the prediction of how long a parking structure will last and at what point you will need to tear it down and rebuild.
Parking structures are unique in that the structure is directly exposed to the elements, unlike a building structure that is protected by a Building Envelope. Exposure includes moisture, freezing temperatures, deicing salts, thermal expansion and contraction, and dynamic vehicle loads.
All these elements work to degrade the structure and start doing so even before the structure is open to patrons. After that, degradation accelerates over time. The only way to extend the life of a parking structure is with maintenance, the cost of which can be minimized with proper timing and help you avoid parking structure restoration projects.
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, including corrosive deicing chemicals, freeze-thaw cycling, and the stress of thousands of vehicles traversing the deck, will quickly accelerate deterioration into hazardous conditions.
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 before construction has even completed. This deterioration is often ignored until a critical failure has occurred, resulting in much higher maintenance costs and risk of property damage, injury, or even death.
Don’t Defer Routine Parking Structure Maintenance!
Reactive maintenance represents the cost of doing nothing. If routine maintenance is deferred for too long, the costs will add up, 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 restoration. We’ll walk your facility and let you know of any conditions that require immediate attention and what maintenance activities you can perform now to extend the life of your facility. Give us a call today!