The dangers of not caring for car parks
Tuesday, 1 November 2016
Sometimes it is forgotten by car park owners the level of attention and care required to ensure their assets remain safe to use for the long-term. In fact, evidence has shown that some local authorities and small to medium-size private owners generally neglect their car parks from both a structural and decorative point of view.
The structural integrity of a multi-story car park can be compromised over many years due to many factors including general wear and tear, the corrosion of steel members or damage caused by excessive water, especially in cases where waterproofing is inadequately applied.
There are likely to be many examples in Europe of car parks which, if inspected by a qualified engineer, would need extensive repair. Some car parks have been reported as closed due to structural fears, some have been demolished following intervention by Health and Safety executives.
Research has revealed that, while nearly two thirds (65%) of parking managers understand there is a legal duty to ensure car parks are structurally sound, only 22% surveyed said that inspections were definitely carried out using a fully qualified structural engineering contractor.
This is not to say that all car parks are in immediate risk, and there are some excellent examples of well maintained and properly managed car parks. However, a greater emphasis is needed to ensure that parking structures are properly inspected and maintained.
Owners and operators should have a financial mechanism in place to fund routine structural assessments, life-care planning and essential maintenance. Preparation and implementation of a life-care plan will identify defects and prompt repairs to minimise the risk of structural failure.
A liberal extract from 'Re-Think! Parking on the High Street', an exploration and collation of evidence and learnings regarding the relationship between car parking provision and town centre prosperity - by the Association of Town & City Management (ATCM), the British Parking Association (BPA), Springboard Research Ltd and Parking Data & Research International (PDRI).