Designing Car Parks – Why An Engineering-Led Approach Delivers More
When we talk about an engineering-led approach to designing car parks it helps to remember that engineering has two basic definitions. One is the science and technology of designing machines and structures. The other is the action of working creatively to bring about an outcome or change.
Both definitions are applicable when the task involves finding (or engineering) optimum parking solutions.
Outcomes demanded from today’s parking solutions are more complex than just providing x number of spaces. Car park design has to consider the impact on net zero carbon objectives, minimising overall car journeys, maintenance costs, the speed and disruption of construction, and the visual impact on the local built environment.
Construction is one of the biggest contributors to global carbon emissions. Much of this is embodied carbon – the greenhouse gas emissions released when extracting, processing and transporting materials such as concrete.
The car parking solution engineered by Osborne and Siderpark uses a lightweight steel structure to add one or two decks to existing surface level car parks. Designing car parks with this technology usually means that no foundations need to be laid. Additionally, the structure can easily be dismantled for re-use elsewhere when it’s no longer needed.
The right car park solution in the right place helps to reduce journey times and congestion, particularly in urban areas. Using modular technology, it’s possible to create numerous smaller-footprint car parks that provide spaces where they are most needed – and all for less cost than a single large conventional multi-storey that would be harder for many people to access.
Speed of Construction
When you’ve identified a need for additional parking, the sooner it’s up and running the sooner you start earning revenue. Typical build times for the Osborne-Siderpark modular system are 12-15 weeks. This also means a lot less disruption and disturbance for surrounding residents and businesses.
The ability to rapidly create additional parking spaces can also be the key that unlocks larger development schemes.
Designing Car Parks for Low Maintenance
Ideally, operational costs should be kept as low as possible. An engineered solution allows for easy maintenance so that, for example, a damaged section can be repaired in isolation without shutting an entire deck. The Osborne-Siderpark system has a design life of 50 years with no maintenance needed for the first 20.
Multi-storey car parks should be as unobtrusive as possible and blend with their surroundings. By designing car parks using an engineering-led approach, and modelling exactly how people will use the car park, it’s often possible to reduce the number of decks without sacrificing parking spaces.
In one recent project, an 800 space car park for an NHS hospital was originally designed with ground-level plus four decks. Osborne re-engineered the design to need ground level plus two decks, while still retaining 773 spaces. This reduced the cost from £15m to £8m and significantly shortened the construction programme.