Car ownership sits at over 38 million in the UK1, making the car park one of the most important functional structures for every one of our cities and towns. Municipal buildings such as hospitals, educational facilities and other large public amenities such as sports and retail parks, only function efficiently with largescale parking provision.
Whilst the take up of ultra-low energy vehicles (ULEVs) rises in the UK2, it is clear that for the foreseeable future, the multi-storey car park will remain an important feature of our urban landscape.
Good Car Park Design
Good car parking and car parking design can have significant impact on the profitability of retail destinations and affect the value of many businesses. So, despite their functional use, car parks should still meet certain car park design standards. In addition to adequate parking bays, they should provide easy access and egress. The steel parking structure should also sit sympathetically in its surroundings; car parks are after all one of the first buildings that a visitor to any city will encounter, and first impressions count.
Optimum car park design should include:
- Incorporation of low maintenance materials
- Logical flow plan through car park including entry and egress
- Design for minimal intrusion of traffic flow
- Light and airy
Modern multi-storey car park design provides for spacious, open-sided parking where components are exposed to the elements and where maintenance must be kept to a minimum. Given the localised pollutants from car exhausts, car park construction materials must be robust, reliable and protected from corrosion. Galvanized steel has one of the most proven track records in this field. An average zinc coating reading an 85 micron average can last for nearly a century in most UK atmospheric settings.
Steel Framed Car Parks
Steel is particularly suited to creating spacious, open and low-maintenance car parking structures. It is ideal for long spans, thus providing column-free parking spaces. As it is lightweight it reduces foundation requirements whilst also being robust and fire resistant. Steel aids fast construction, which is of particular relevance where venues must remain in operation during construction. It is also easily protected and maintained.
Demountable car parks
Increasingly, as the UK transitions to a more circular economy, demountable structures will gain currency. This shifting emphasis onto demountable design, makes galvanized steel an even more relevant building material in car parking design. Not only is it durable, efficiently reducing embedded carbon over a long lifecycle, it is also resilient to handling and can be erected, demounted and re-erected on future sites.
As local councils and central government aim for zero carbon targets, a renewed focus on public transport provision is likely to occur. In this instance, the inherent flexibility of demountable steel allows for a site to be fully flexible and to change use more easily over time, without wastage.
View more examples of galvanized steel used for car parks.