Effective Parking Garage Evaluations Could Avoid Costly Repairs and Liabilities

December 26, 2019

It’s always best to follow a preventive approach to garage maintenance and repair. Begin with a comprehensive assessment. Establishing a baseline of garage conditions and assessing repair and maintenance efforts could serve as a reference point for ongoing future evaluations.

The Initial Evaluation 

As you walk through your parking facility there are a couple of things you should look for, such as:

  • Signs of distress such as spalls, cracks, corrosion, staining, or other deterioration,
  • Leaks, condensation, and pooling water,
  • Structural and safety concerns such as cracked pillars or overhead supports

Visual Observation and Photo Documentation

If conditions such as cracks, spalls, corrosion, delamination, condensation, displacement or deterioration are detected, they should be properly labeled, photographed and documented.

Photographic documentation of observed conditions is a key part of the visual evaluation. Photographs provide a record of defects and deterioration, establishing a reference point to monitor emerging conditions. Photos also assist in identifying patterns of deterioration at sites that may be far apart yet experiencing similar distress.

The Assessment Report

Typically, the findings of the parking garage condition assessment will help prioritize conditions that may be hazardous or need immediate attention. The report should include:

  • A summary of the conditions prompting the investigation.
  • A description of the garage construction, age, repair, and modification history (as available), and other pertinent information.
  • Photographic documentation of the current condition of the parking structure, which forms the backbone of the report, with descriptive notes explaining observed construction and distress.
  • A discussion of each of the reported conditions in the context of probable cause.
  • Recommendations on advisable corrective action for the conditions detailed in the report. Repair strategies are generally accompanied by an opinion of probable cost, to guide planning and budgeting. The report may also provide recommended prioritization and phasing of corrective work, based on safety concerns, budget, and logistical considerations. Sometimes, a maintenance plan and schedule may be included, along with recommended frequency of inspection and upkeep activities.

How to Make Best Use of Information from a Parking Garage Assessment

When presented with a complete assessment of your parking facility, there are some items that should have immediate attention. Deterioration or distress that creates unsafe conditions, or that could lead to unsafe conditions, should be addressed as a matter of priority. While the condition assessment report provides useful recommendations for repair, these guidelines do not take the place of detailed project drawings and specifications, which should be prepared before repair work is initiated.

The assessment also provides timelines for re-inspection, which is important to monitoring conditions that do not yet require corrective action, but which may become problematic. By routinely evaluating parking structures, building owners and facility managers can save time and resources, identifying and treating conditions before they become pervasive and require costly and disruptive remediation.

For help assessing your parking facility contact Vanguard Resources.