Project Spotlight: University Hospital Employee Parking Deck Restoration
By Juan Sanchez, PE
Restoration and structural repair work are currently underway at the University Hospital employee parking deck in Augusta, Georgia. The current restoration effort is led by WGI’s Charlotte, NC restoration team, Andrew Kong; Juan Sanchez, PE; and Attila Gergely, EI.
Built in the 1970s, the employee parking deck is a four-level precast facility providing 1,200 parking spaces for the UH system employees.
To address years of deferred maintenance, improve the deck’s appearance, and extend the parking structure’s service life, the hospital engaged WGI to complete an engineering assessment, deliver a prioritized list of recommended repairs, develop design documents, and provide construction administration services for the recommended repairs.
During the engineering assessment process, WGI outlined multiple issues impacting the structure’s durability. The 50-year-old structure was in relatively poor-to-fair condition, yet performing as expected for a parking deck of its age, construction type, and years of deferred maintenance. The parking structure exhibited structural distress, damaged and under-reinforced elements, and many other issues ranging in severity from immediate safety hazards to modest aesthetic concerns.
WGI developed a repair program based on the assessment’s findings, addressing the structure’s multiple issues and extending its service life. WGI’s outlined its repair approach in three categories:
- Structural repairs
- Preventive maintenance repairs
- Aesthetic improvements
1. Structural Repairs
In general, parking structures are exposed to more severe conditions than a normal building structure. Exposure to ambient weather conditions, extreme temperature fluctuations, and continual wetting and drying result in premature deterioration, which can be costly and, in many cases, impair the facility’s overall structural integrity.
Key structural repairs currently underway (as of June 2019) include:
Concrete repairs: approximately 2,000 square feet of concrete repairs are in progress
Structural strengthening: several double-tee stems are scheduled for a combination of supplemental steel supports and carbon-fiber strengthening
2. Preventive Maintenance Repairs
It is a common misconception that parking structures are maintenance-free. Parking structure preventive repairs are designed to minimize water and chemical penetration. By properly and consistently implementing preventive repairs, major structural repairs can be reduced.
Some of the key preventive repairs currently underway (as of June 2019) include:
Concrete sealer: due to the structure’s age, WGI recommended installation of a concrete sealer on all of the deck’s exposed driving surfaces. A concrete sealer is a clear and breathable system that works by limiting the amount of water and chloride ingress into the concrete surfaces through capillary action
Joint sealant replacement: approximately 60,000 linear feet of joint sealant replacement is in progress
3. Aesthetic Repairs
Parking facilities are typically the first point of contact/introduction at any medical campus. Therefore, it is important to provide a good first impression upon arrival at the parking deck. Aesthetic repairs are work items that result in a more pleasant and secure environment, increasing users’ comfort in the parking facility.
Some of the key aesthetic repairs currently underway (as of June 2019) include:
Parking deck wash down to remove years of weathering, chlorides, and chemicals, the repair program includes a parking deck wash down
Refunctioning and restriping to improve user comfort and delineation, the entire deck is undergoing a restriping program
Most restoration projects, like this employee parking deck, typically need to remain in service during the repair process. As part of the recommended repairs, WGI provided phasing documents to streamline and minimize the repair’s impact on facility operations.
WGI recommends every parking facility completes a bi-annual review to identify and address any major repairs needed. It is also recommended that these reviews are completed by a licensed structural engineer, experienced in parking facility design and maintenance. WGI’s restoration team can assist with this review.