As our population grows, parking becomes a hot commodity and tempers rise when it’s scarce; especially when spaces are closed during a parking lot or garage repair project. The following tips can help with your planning before the work starts and should make your project run smoothly.
How Much Space Can You Spare At Once?
The first step is determining how much of the parking lot or garage you are able to sacrifice. Keep in mind the access to the surrounding facilities, not just the parking areas. The less space the contractor is al lowed to close at once, the higher the over all cost. You may not know how to best divide the project, but at least figure this out before you meet with the contractor.
Space closures are often impacted by property traffic patterns and facility usage.
You should consider maintenance schedules (trash/recycling), busy periods, daily deliveries, school bus routes, and main locations for access and egress. Fire and rescue access is especially important if closures are to exceed more than a 24-hour period.
Establish the criteria for parking lot or garage access before starting the bidding process and inform the contractor. This can help minimize frustration between the community and the contractor. Communicating these project ground rules will also help avoid unexpected additional fees such as additional mobilization charges and additional daily hourly rates.
Another scheduling tool available is project phasing or dividing a big project into several smaller sections. A project can be phased so that it is completed one section at a time over the course of several months or years. This method has two strong advantages – first, it reduces the number of closed park ing spaces at one time; and, second, it makes the project fit the available budget.
The downside to phasing a project is the potential for material. price increases over time, especially with petroleum-related products, and cost increases associated with the extra mobilization and demobilization of the contractor for each phase.
Where to Put Displaced Cars
One way to gain a few extra spaces is to temporarily reallocate the visitor spaces to be resident or handicapped parking during the project. If this does not create enough room contact nearby schools and colleges (during the summer), shopping centers, office buildings, parking garages, and churches as they are good options for renting temporary parking. Often these sites can be rented for specific days or for months at a time. Some communities provide a shuttle service to and from the off-site lot.
For long projects, consider building a temporary gravel lot on an unused part of the property, which will keep the vehicles onsite. Consider a security service, lighting needs, and fencing around the lot.
Starting The Project
Well before the project starts, notices should go out to inform the community of the work and closings to come. One to two weeks before the project starts, remind residents of upcoming closures. The more notices the better. Notification methods can be any number of the following:
- Door-to-door notices;
- Fliers posted in public locations near (not on) mailboxes;
- Posted construction information signs; and
- Flashing trailer-mounted
It is advisable to have a towing company onsite especially on the first day of construction. Relocation of vehicles out of the work zone is essential to keeping the contractor on schedule. This may seem like a large cost to the association; however, it is less expensive to move cars than to pay the contractor for downtime while waiting for someone to move their car.
Once The Work Begins
Often parking restrictions must remain in effect even after it seems like the contractor is done. Waterproof deck coatings, concrete placement, and hazardous site conditions (open holes) require long closure periods. Asphalt seal coating requires a minimum of 24- hours of curing before vehicular and foot traffic are permitted. Vehicles and people must stay out of the work zone until it is reopened or they run the risk of damaging the fresh repairs (resulting in additional costs for rework), as well as personal injury and property damage.
You do not need to dread the next parking project. The work will go more smoothly and stay on schedule with prior planning and ample communication with the contractor and community.