The short answer to this seemingly innocent question is to find the right people to supply you and the right people to help you build it. There are three overarching factors to consider when building a parking lot. The type of parking lot and purpose, the regulations and codes, and the type of materials. The quintessential factor to consider when building a parking lot is its purpose. The type of parking lot will determine the size, design, and construction protocol. These factors will in turn determine how it is built, what regulatory codes must be complied with, as well as the quality and quantities of materials required to build it.
How Do You Build a Parking Lot?
Parking Lot Type: Private, Park ‘n Pay Downtown, Public Mall and Office Park
The purpose of a parking lot will decide how big it should be and how it should be built in terms of the depth of foundations and which materials to build it with. A downtown “paid parking” lot will differ from an office park lot. Both will differ from a shopping mall parking lot. They will all experience different traffic volumes. The volume of traffic and the weight of that traffic will dictate your decision-making. For example, an office parking lot will experience proportionately less wear and tear in a defined period than a shopping mall parking lot. They will both need to accommodate delivery vehicles to a greater or lesser extent. No matter the extent though, both require delivery vehicle access to varying degrees.
An office park can reserve the right to restrict the weight and size of delivery vehicles. A mall will need to allow for the size of their suppliers’ delivery trucks. In both cases, a decision must be made to either have independent access for deliveries or if delivery vehicles gain access through the public lot. If so, what will the impact be on the size of the roads that allow access to, and around, the public parking bays? What impact would a breakdown have on the flow of traffic is another good question, as is how many entry lanes from the main road and how many exit lanes. In the case of a downtown paid parking lot, thought must be given to entry and exit contingencies. The answer to these and other questions will be found in the parking lot regulations and codes.
Consider the regulations more as guidelines than obstacles to be dealt with. They exist for very good reasons – usually as a consequence of other people’s mistakes.
Parking Lot Regulatory Building Codes
You may not need to use industrial-grade materials to reinforce your domestic slab at home, however, commercial spaces have different requirements and codes to meet. Building codes specify requirements such as how much space to allow per vehicle. This will depend on the angle of the parking bays- “straight in” or “herring-bone” for example. The best person to consult is your city engineer. You cannot build parking spaces without a permit, so be proactive.
While the regulations may seem onerous, they are actually useful guidelines and very detailed. The codes and regulations will tell you, for example, that the weight of a vehicle on a residential lot may not exceed 6 000Lbs. The regulations will guide you on what type of foundations you will need to build. Regulations also cover drainage requirements and safety aspects. They also pay attention to special needs like disabled parking. Furthermore, some codes also cover landscaping which is rather useful.
No matter if you are building a private parking space at home for your prized chariot or building an acre of parking for a mall – all parking lots have one thing in common. Parking lots are measured in square feet or meters. This determines just about everything, from how much building material, to what type and quantity of marking paint you will need. There can be no “half measures” with regard to this. Size really does matter and it is definitely “hip to be square”. This is because all the “wet” materials, as well as some of the “dry” materials, come in quantities designed to cover square feet/meters.
The biggest decision to make is to choose between the two most common main materials used to build a parking lot – concrete and asphalt. This decision will be informed by the purpose and size of the space. Commercial spaces require strength and durability. That’s also a reason to choose the best road marking paint that doesn’t fade. Apart from consulting the regulations, the next most important decision is selecting your building materials supplier.
A supplier with experience in supplying parking lot builders will have “tons” of knowledge to put at your disposal. They will lighten the load when it comes to calculating quantities. Best of all, an expert supplier will help with the project management and will be able to schedule “just in time” deliveries, which are paramount when trying to prevent wet materials from drying out, when delivered too early.
A metaphor for life
Building a parking lot is a metaphor for life – literally and physically. What you put in is what you will get out. In this article, we have covered only the overarching factors to be considered. There are of course many details. The best thing to do when building a parking lot is to learn the codes and regulations. Next, find a supplier to partner with. Lastly, the right people to build it.
If you equip yourself with all three, then you will successfully build a parking lot that not only will fit its purpose but will also be fit for purpose. That’s why it is important to understand the purpose at the beginning. The purpose will have a decided impact on the life expectancy of the parking lot, and therefore the cost of a parking lot, not only as a new build, but the maintenance costs in the future.
TR Concrete Construction in Omaha, NE
This industry takes a lot of heavy machinery and tough labor, but it also requires as much or more planning, critical thinking, and fine touch to get a quality finished product. It is a very rewarding career and keeps you constantly on your toes being that 2 days are never the same. It is a profession that has been around for a long time and is ever-evolving and still remains a very vital staple in today’s economy.
As a reputable business with over 25 years of concrete construction experience, TR Construction has expertise with projects large and small to include:
- commercial building concrete
- remove, and replacement of concrete
- industrial projects
- special projects for clients