History has taught us that the aging and deterioration process for parking structures is significantly different than that of a typical building. Exposure to extreme weather conditions, dynamic vehicular loads, and salts accelerate the garage deterioration process, resulting in material degradation and structural deficiencies.
A proactive “5-P” action-based approach (Plan, Predict, Participate, Prevent, and Perform) allows owners to understand and maintain the health of their parking assets. Successful implementation of this approach must begin early in the structure’s age. While a visual review provides a baseline for understanding garage health, an investigative appraisal using partial and nondestructive testing methods offers in-depth findings to diagnose probable causes behind the existing distress conditions.
A Life-Cycle Cost Analysis using software modeling allows engineers to compare repair options based on the corresponding useful service lives and cost efficiencies of each alternative. This analysis not only answers what the next steps should be in the maintenance of the garage, but also provides insight into various “what if” scenarios, helping determine preventive measures.
A portfolio of parking assets can be managed effectively using a Capital Asset Management Plan (CAMP), which prescribes a repair and maintenance protocol over the life of the asset and allows owners to attain the best return on investment. Development, implementation, and monitoring of a CAMP is a proven and tested tool to enhance the management and extend the life of parking assets.
As structural engineers and forensic specialists, the question that motivates us to protect and restore garages is this: if the garage is worth building, isn’t it worth protecting?