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Parking Garages Q&A with Chris LaPunzina

Parking Garages Q&A with Chris LaPunzina

Design 2147 CEO Sisto Martello recently had the opportunity to speak with Chris LaPunzina PE, Executive VP of Development and Construction at Gordon Property Group, about the latest developments in parking garage inspections under Local Law 126. Here are some of the important takeaways from the conversation.

Q. What is Local Law 126?

A. Local Law 126 (LL 126) is a local law in New York City that requires existing parking garages throughout the city to be inspected to ensure that they are structurally sound and safe for the occupants as well as the customers using the garages.

Q. How often are annual inspections required?

A. LL 126 mandates periodic assessments of all parking structures within the five boroughs of New York City every six years to ensure the structures maintained in a safe condition.

Q. Who actually does the inspections?

A. Owners are responsible for the proper inspection, repair, and maintenance of their parking structures, which must be examined by a Qualified Parking Structure Inspector (QPSI), and a report must be filed with the DOB.

Q. What are the inspectors actually looking for when they are at the site?

A. The inspectors first do a visual inspection. During this phase, they are looking for spalling concrete, exposed rebar, and cracks in the slab or columns.

The second part is a sounding inspection that requires at least 10% of the garage to be inspected for hollow points within the structure.

Q. Once the inspections are completed the report gets filed. At that time, the engineer determines if any work needs to be done and, if so, how quickly.

A. It is at this point when the engineer makes recommendations for repairs. If there are unsafe conditions, an application gets filed immediately and works starts immediately.

Q. What is the average cost per square foot annually to maintain a parking garage to keep the garage in the safe order?

A. The cost for maintenance is difficult to quantify on a square-foot basis for an entire garage because it really depends on the condition of the structure and whether upkeep has occurred on a regular basis.

Q. How expensive is it for these repairs?

A. Costs for localized repairs for overhead spalls or full-depth slab replacement can vary between $70 and $120 per square foot.

Q. What is the life expectancy of a parking garage?

A. The life expectancy of a parking garage depends on the construction type (concrete, steel, etc.), the quality of construction, and how well the garage was maintained. The life span decreases rapidly if the structure is neglected – but on the other hand it can be extended through proper maintenance. We have garages that date back to the 1960s that are still in good operating condition.

Q. How have electric vehicles changed the parking garage business?

A. Garage operators are starting to think about and install charging equipment. They are also figuring out how to monetize the investment in this equipment. As EV use increases, operators will need to evaluate the impact of the additional weight on their parking structures.

Q. How and when do you need to bring in infrastructure for charging stations into existing garages?

A. New York City recently enacted Local Law 55-2024, requiring installation of chargers into existing garages by 2035. In many cases, this will require operators to upgrade their electrical infrastructure and Con Ed service in order to accommodate the charging loads.