Why modern concrete car parks win out over alternative methods

Developers can see a considerable benefit from modern, precast hybrid construction techniques such as clear, uncluttered spans, greater fire resistance, reduced maintenance costs and a dramatically easier lighting, M&E services and signage installation, according to a recent report in Concrete Magazine.

The article, by Norman Brown, features two particular examples:-

  1. Stafford town centre MSCP
  2. The Lexicon Bracknell

The car park is often a visitor’s first experience of a development – and if it’s a bad one it may well encourage them to seek out alternative retail facilities. From the customer perspective says the article “ease of parking and the feeling of safety is paramount. Long clear-span parking with minimal columns and nil or minimal floor plate vibration, which is often not the case with steel-frame car parks, helps provide both of these important user requirements.”

The requirement for stand-alone parking facilities is diminishing, writes Mr Brown. Structures now frequently incorporate sales as well as leisure facilities and should also meet environmental as well as architectural requirements.

The benefits of offsite and precast construction

The two case studies cited amply demonstrate the convenience, construction time reduction and cost savings provided by offsite construction.

“No longer is it necessary to use in-situ concrete for structural topping to the precast floor units, significantly reducing lorry movements to site, manpower and site programmes.”

The article states

“No longer is it necessary to use in-situ concrete for structural topping to the precast floor units, significantly reducing lorry movements to site, manpower and site programmes. The casting of lift and stair cores as individual components off-site, rather than individual wall panel construction, gives similar benefits.”

Stafford town centre MSCP

The design and build solution arrived at by PCE Ltd for the 14 split level multi-storey car park, provided 1,032 car parking spaces and featured a total suspended floor area of 27,700m².

For the Stafford MSCP the offsite construction techniques utilised led to saving in concrete use of approximately 3,500 tonnes compared to other precast long span flooring options.

The Lexicon Bracknell

The structure is not just simply a car park as the retail space at the front is also part of the PCE design and build package. This is the third consecutive car park structure contract for PCE that has involved the construction of adjoining retail space.

Over 24,00m² of the PCE developed GT long span flooring units are again being used to minimise on site construction times, reducing the depth of structure, number of erection lifts, and the amount of follow on trades as there is no insitu structural topping required and the units arrive to site on a just in time basis with a factory applied anti slip finish.

600mm overall deep spine beams600mm overall deep spine beams, which are laid to falls to achieve the required floor-deck profile, support the 400mm deep GT units: Bracknell.

Further information

Bracknell update 1 – GT long span floor units »

Bracknell update 2 – team safety award for PCE »

Bracknell update 3 – car park and retail outlet build gathers momentum »

Bracknell update 4 – PCE’s cranes help rapid progress »

A lifting beam is used to lower the GT unitsA lifting beam is used to lower the GT units complete with factory-finished wearing surface.