When it comes to maintaining a parking structure, patching cracks and repainting may seem like the most important repairs to make because they are visible. However, over time, the elements cause structural and aesthetic damage that can’t be fixed with such “band-aid” solutions.

Furthermore, because it can be difficult to detect, often the structural damage goes unnoticed until it progresses to a point of failure.

These are dangerous traps you don’t want to fall into.

As an owner, you don’t want to make quick and easy repairs without a more substantial understanding about what’s happening with your structure. This is why using a third-party consultant like PaveTech can save you plenty of headaches and money.

Here’s a brief synopsis of a parking structure that, over many decades, ownership had only really made the quick and easy repairs while something far more damaging had been bubbling under the surface.

Our team was brought onsite to evaluate a 2-level parking structure built in the 1930s. The task was to help determine the sustainability of the structure and the scope of work needed to bring it out of disrepair. The parking structure was in very poor condition. It had not been well maintained, with “repairs” having not been done correctly. This ultimately caused the structure’s integrity to be compromised.

Upon inspection of the first level, we determined that the on-grade concrete slab had no coating and was worn. Many non-structural repairs had been completed throughout the parking garage. There were exposed rebar and corroded reinforcement visible throughout the first level, as well as no ADA stalls. The drive lane connecting the structure to the street showed signs of settling and fatigue cracking. Finally, the access ramp to the second floor was compromised to the point where we recommended removal and reconstruction.

The Irreparable Second Level

While on the first level we observed the underneath side of the concrete deck. It was in very poor condition and considered a hazard. Several structural beams were identified as compromised. The second level had not been maintained well and was beyond the point where even substantial repairs could effectively extend the serviceable life of the deck. Reinforcement had been exposed for years, and with the traffic and corrosion, it was down to less than half of its original cross-sectional area in many locations. These extensive concerns and the age of the structure were compounding and led to our team recommending the removal and reconstruction of the second level of this parking structure.

Overall, the parking garage needed immediate renovation and structural repairs to maintain the structural integrity of the structure. While the walls, ground floor, and roof deck were in generally poor condition, the second floor was at a critical point and a significant life safety issue.

The real horror is the price of reconstruction. Had PaveTech existed and been involved before all the years of nonstructural and nonstandard repairs, the structure would not be in the condition it is now.

With our forensic evaluations and skilled consultants, we can determine the problem areas of structures before they turn into the kinds of problems we encountered with this structure.

These avoidable mistakes cost the owners millions.

Do it right the first time and call PaveTech Consulting before your next parking garage repair project.