By: Joe Czaszynski
As a follow up to our article on The Importance of Inspecting Parking Deck Structures in the August 2018 newsletter, this article outlines the design and construction administration processes, and offers some insight regarding what to expect during the upcoming restoration project. Once inspections have been performed and issues identified, the next steps are designing and implementing repairs.
Sometimes, before design can commence, further information is required, especially if no plans for the parking decking exist. Probes and testing will allow design professionals to understand a parking deck’s type of construction and its structural components, which is essential to providing restoration drawings and specifications. The type of construction dictates the types of materials that can be used. Probes and testing will also determine the condition of existing elements, such as concrete surfaces, and can also identify any contaminants that need to be addressed. Probes and testing performed prior to design can eliminate some unknowns in the design phase and provide more accurate project costs when evaluating bids.
The condition of a parking deck will likely dictate when restoration needs to begin. Additionally, if widespread repairs that encompass most or all of a parking deck are necessary, a phasing plan will be required. Weather also plays a big part in the timeline of a restoration project. Cold weather affects sealants, coatings and concrete; special precautions must be taken when installing these materials, or installation must sometimes be postponed. Optimal installation temperatures are usually above 40°F; however, work areas can be heated if a shorter project timeline is the client’s ultimate goal. Heating installation areas typically adds substantial cost to the project.
Design professionals can recommend several restoration contractors with experience in parking deck restoration. It’s likely that the design professional has worked with these contractors in the past and can offer opinions of their work to assist the client in selecting a contractor. A bidding process is typically part of the design phase. A bid matrix containing all bidder information and proposed costs allows the client to compare apples to apples. This type of comparison chart is an invaluable tool for contractor selection. Post bid contractor interviews, especially for larger projects, provide a forum to discuss project particulars and cost breakdowns. Diving into these particulars and personally engaging with the contractor’s project team can be very helpful when choosing which bidder to award the work to.
Building occupants will usually need some degree of access to parking decks over the course of a restoration project. Even with contractors providing signage, barriers and caution tape, building occupants must be informed about avoiding potentially dangerous construction areas. Parking deck restoration work is also very noisy and can generate annoyance and frustration among building occupants. The more information provided as to where the construction areas are, along with regular updates regarding project status, start times, work hours and progress reports, will usually go a long way in reducing occupants’ complaints.
Once a contractor has mobilized for a project, it becomes more cost effective to perform additional repairs beyond the original scope of work. It may be prudent to address other items on the building or parking deck that may not be of immediate concern, and the design professional can add these items as alternates. The client can see the costs for any additional items to determine whether the project budget allows them to be added to the scope of work.
Construction administration oversight by the design professional provides the client assurance that the project plans and specifications are being properly followed. During the construction administration phase of the project, schedules and costs are tracked, warranties are validated, and project sign-off is completed. Since it provides a client the peace of mind that the project will be completed as designed and bid, Sullivan Engineering strongly recommends that construction administration be part of every design project.
Click here to read Bill O’Brien’s article about NYC’s potential upcoming parking garage inspection program: