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Your Car Park Design Guide

  • Oct 05, 2020

Designing and building a car park can be a large and important task to get right. There are several elements to consider when building a car park, so we have compiled a guide to all of the key aspects to help you plan and build an efficient car park. Whether you’re looking to increase footfall, provide easier access to your business or accommodate more visitors, our handy guide is the ideal place to start.

Planning your car park

Before construction gets underway, you will need to plan the layout and design of your car park. Your design will depend largely on the intended use, location and available space for your new car park. If you are designing a car park for a school you may consider a surface level car park, alternatively, if you’re after a car park for a shopping centre then a multi-storey or underground car park would suit your visitors better.

There is no one size fits all for car park design, building or costs, although there are some standard specifications that you should consider so that your visitors can park with ease.

  • Standard car spaces need to be 2.4 meters by 4.8 meters
  • Light vans require 2.4 metres by 5.5 metered parking spaces
  • Lorries and large vans will need 3.5 meters by 18.5 meters of space
  • Coach car parking spaces will need to be 3.5 meters by 14 meters

You will also need to consider how you will accommodate different types of visitors such as blue badge holders, electric charging points, staff, and parent parking spaces. This can affect how you layout the spaces in your car park. In-line, grid or diagonal, whichever you choose, make sure that drivers with specific mobility requirements can still easily navigate your spaces.

Once you have decided on which structure of the car park is best, it’s time to consider planning regulations. Many multi-storey car parks will require planning permission, and nearly all car parks will have to meet certain council regulations. With your design in hand, get your planning permission sorted out before you lay any paving.

Constructing your car park

With your designs finalised and approved you can begin building your car park.

Boundaries

For any style of car park, it is important to clearly define the boundaries of your land. For multi-storey car parks this is easily done with a metal or concrete facade. With surface level car parks, you can get more creative. Consider using fencing, hedges, bollards or even grass ditches to define your car parks boundaries. Make sure to put up clear signage so visitors are clear about where your parking regulations apply.

Paving

Concrete is the primary material used for car parks, and for good reason, it is a cheap and durable material that requires very little maintenance. When laid correctly, it can easily withstand your car park traffic. Curing paving with treatment sprays will create an even stronger structure.

When laying the base for your car park, ensure that the concrete is laid flat and even to avoid creating weaker areas that could be susceptible to cracking or potholes. Paving your car park needs to be done in the right weather conditions to ensure that it sets firmly. Preferably, you will need to pave your car park in drier, milder weather.

After you have paved your car park, be sure to keep vehicles off of newly paved areas for at least 3 days in the summer and 7 days in the winter, to allow time for your paving and concrete to set.

You will also need to consider the thickness of your paving, and adjust it so it is appropriate for the types of vehicles that will use your car park. 4-inch thick paving is ideal for cars and light vans, but if you are accommodating larger vehicles you will need your paving to be 5 to 6 inches thick.

Build your structure

For multi-storey, split level or underground parking, you will need to build walls and supports for each of your levels. The spacing of your structural joints will depend on the thickness of your paving.

For paving that is 4 inches thick, your joints will need to be a maximum of 10 feet apart, this increases to 12.5 feet for 5-inch thick paving, and 15 feet for 6-inch paving. Taking time to place your joists correctly will ensure your car park is sturdy and can withstand the weight of multiple cars.

Drainage

Standing water can affect the structural integrity of your car park and can cause damage to your visitors cars. When building your car park, ensure you implement adequate drainage to avoid standing water. This can be applied through the use of gutters, drains and sloped roofing.

Electricity

Almost all car parks will require some electricity to power automatic barriers, cameras, lighting or payment stations. Lay electrical wires in the groundwork to safely keep them out of reach and ensure that you have electricity across your whole car park. If you plan to offer electric vehicle (EV) charging points, then laying the groundwork and infrastructure at the build stage is hugely important to save costs later. Even if you don’t plan to offer them straight away, forward-thinking and planning is key.

Lighting

With your car park beginning to take shape, the next step is to ensure it is easy to navigate. For underground and multi-storey car parks it is especially important to install adequate lighting as they benefit from less natural light. If your car park is in a residential area, make sure that your lighting will not disrupt nearby residents.

Lighting can be installed across walls and ceilings to illuminate your car park. For smart car parking solutions, you could consider adding smaller coloured lights to indicate where free spaces are available.

Pedestrian Navigation

An important feature of any car park is adequate pedestrian access. When designing and building your car park, be sure to leave several feet of space for walkways and paths leading to exits, stairwells or payment machines. These areas will need to be clearly marked and well lit so that your visitors can easily and safely move around your car park. This is especially important for underground parking structures where light and space is more limited.

To keep your pedestrians safe in your car park, include emergency pedestrian exits with clear signage and impose speed restrictions between 5mph and 10mph to prevent accidents. When paving pedestrian areas, you may also wish to consider applying slip-resistant surfacing to prevent injuries in wet or icy weather.

Costs

How much a car park costs to build depends on the size of your car park, the materials you use, and the variety of additional features such as cameras, ticket machines and lighting. When budgeting to build your car park, ensure you consider how much needs to be invested to keep your new structure compliant with safety regulations and guidelines from your local council. This could save you money in the future while also ensuring that your car park is safe for your visitors to use.

Monetising and securing your car park

There are a number of ways that you can ensure you get a return on your investment after you have completed your car park. Firstly, take steps to prevent unauthorised parking on your site by displaying bold, clear signage or installing ANPR technology to register and, if needed, fine any unauthorised vehicles. For underground and multi-storey car parks it can also be useful to install CCTV to keep your visitors and their vehicles safe and prevent your car park from being subject to vandalism.

To generate revenue from your car park you can also look into various solutions such as pay and display machines, self ticketing or permit parking. Enforcing these payment solutions can also allow you to more effectively manage unauthorised parking.

At Creative Car Park we offer a range of car parking solutions from state of the art ANPR technology to self ticketing and pay and display machines. Regardless of the type of car park you are looking to build, Creative Car Park’s payment and parking enforcement solutions can allow you to more efficiently manage your car park so you can keep freeing up spaces for new visitors and generating more revenue.

For more information about how to manage your car park, browse our blog posts or contact us today.