From cracked concrete to corroded steel, dilapidated masonry elements, and exposed rebar, parking structures can deteriorate in various ways throughout their lifecycle. In addition to material defects, extreme weather, de-icing salts, soil movement, water infiltration, thermal changes, aging, and excessive overloading can all lead to compromised structural integrity. If the impaired structural elements are not addressed properly, a building may be at risk of failure. The potential for a partial or even total collapse poses serious implications for public safety.
In recent years, news of parking structure failures across New York and nationwide has been reported due to the failure of structural elements such as columns, beams, or walls in sustaining the dead and live loads imposed on them. This includes forces applied from the weight and movement of vehicles to environmental factors. However, in most cases, initial warning signs such as cracks, sagging or leaning, uneven settlement, or visible damage to support elements indicate the building's structural components are not able to adequately support the loads placed upon them.
To mitigate the potential effects and ensure public safety, preventative measures like regular inspections, routine maintenance, and timely repairs are essential. Proper engineering and design standards, as well as adherence to construction regulations, are critical in preventing these types of structural failures.