March 14, 2019
Nearly all parking structures will require repair within 10 years of being built. Addressing wear and tear early will slow damage and could head off problems that might otherwise require costly reconstruction.
Storms, seismic activity or even large vehicles can damage parking decks and supports. Landlords should also be aware of threats specific to where their parking garages are located. In northern markets, salt and harsh de-icing treatments can eat away sealants, hardware, gaskets and exposed steel. Along the Gulf Coast, heat and heavy rains widen cracks over time, breaking down concrete faster.
(Failed double T panel)
Some designs can be a catalyst for atrophy. The more exposed steel in parking structures, the faster wear and accidental damage will cause those parts to corrode. Steel sealed in concrete will last longer. That’s why much of parking garage maintenance involves tracking the spread of cracks and sealing them before they take in water.
(Failed bar joist end connection)
Landlords should include parking structure maintenance as an annual budget item. The best place to begin is with an engineer’s assessment, ideally performed before buying the property. The owner can then base future care and testing on the findings.
Spending $10,000 a year to address problems early can extend the parking structure’s life for years or decades. This budget would go toward small repairs such as sealing cracks, replacing worn gaskets and painting exposed steel. Putting off parking garage maintenance will allow corrosion to advance until the landlord must mount a full-scale renovation. This can easily cost millions of dollars and disrupt tenants for the better part of a year.
Tenants that are used to sharing ongoing maintenance and repair fees will take the cost of preventive measures in stride. Property owners that delay action until the parking structure requires a renovation will be facing a large price tag, which is generally considered an expense of the landlord alone.
Senior Vice President, Asset Services