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Car Parks – Is There Really a Trade Off Between Build Costs and Lifetime Costs?

In construction projects there’s often an assumed design trade-off between a lower initial build cost and the lifetime cost of an asset. This is such a common assumption that it is hardly ever challenged or held up to scrutiny. In some cases it’s true but sometimes it isn’t.

Perhaps the received wisdom is based on a general belief that paying more for something up-front means it must be better quality, so it will prove cheaper in the longer term. That might be true for domestic appliances but it doesn’t necessarily apply in the case of installing additional car parking capacity.

In the case of multi-deck parking facilities there are good reasons to challenge the view that a relatively low installation cost will lead to larger repair and maintenance costs in service. Let’s go beyond the assumptions about modular parking systems and examine the facts.

Fact one, is that the modular car parking system developed by Osborne and Siderpark is exceptionally cost-effective to install. It uses a steel frame that can add one or two additional decks to a surface-level car park without needing foundations to be dug. The system is not just cheaper, it is also quicker to install and bring into service when it can start generating revenue.

Fact two, is that there is a 50-year design life and no maintenance required at all for the first 25 years.

Fact three, is that the modular steel structure is far easier to maintain and repair than reinforced concrete. Small sections can be repaired independently without having to close entire parking decks or large areas of the car park.

The final blow to the trade-off myth is that the useful life of each structure can be extended across multiple locations. It is easily demounted and moved to a different site to maximise its use and value.

These facts don’t just challenge the assumption that lower installation costs mean higher lifetime costs, they also raise the more significant question of why you would choose to expand parking capacity any other way.

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