The Benefits of using steel frame technology in Car park construction

According to the BPA*, at any one time 30% of city centre drivers are searching for a car parking space.  This requirement, coupled with the prediction of a potential increase in traffic of up to 43% over the next twenty years, places an even greater importance on delivering high quality, high volume, future-proof car park structures.

Due to the increasing value and limited availability of land in town and city centres, multi-storey car parks, sometimes consisting of many floors or a single floor above a new or existing surface level car park, are the most common solution for those wanting to accommodate a large volume of vehicles within a limited footprint.

‘Fast Track’ Steel Frame Construction

The majority of multi-storey car parks are constructed using steel frame technology. Project architects, engineers, contractors given the task of constructing a multi-storey car park have recognised that the combination of steel frame and composite flooring (steel decking and concrete flooring) delivers many benefits, including:

  • fast track construction
  • large unpropped spans and, therefore,
  • flexible design options to maximise parking bay volume
  • reduced foundation requirements, as steel is lightweight
  • low maintenance
  • durability and longevity
  • fire/vandal resistant

Being able to construct high volume car parks quickly is a particular advantage for commercial operators, including railway stations, airports, ports, office blocks, shopping centres and supermarkets, as well as hospitals which may have to remain open during construction or that require a multi-storey car park to be constructed prior to opening.

‘Future Proof’ Car Park Construction

There is also a growing requirement for multi-storey car parks to be designed and built so as to be ‘future-proof’; accommodating renewable technology and smart parking solutions such as solar powered charging points for electric vehicles, ANPR access systems and intelligent bay monitoring.

The flexible design options and large free span layouts offered when using steel frame as a method of car park construction allows the easy accommodation of these and other emerging technologies, including self-drive vehicles.

Durability and Longevity

Car parks must be durable by design.  Their purpose is to accommodate a high volume of traffic all day, every day.

In addition, whilst the majority of vehicles on the road remain reliant on polluting fossil fuels to function, the basic design of multi-storey car parks requires an openness to allow pollutants to escape and fresh air to circulate, thereby also leaving much of the building exposed to the elements.

Over time, heavy traffic coupled with vehicle pollutants, de-icing salts, and chemicals in the natural environment, such as salt in the air around coastal locations, can begin to damage car park structures.

Any full or part closure to instigate repairs is classed as ‘down time’ which can be damaging commercially and reputationally for the operator, and cause inconvenience for the motorist.

Steel is incredibly durable and robust and is resistant to fire and vandalism. The longevity of structural steel frame and steel decking (also known as metal decking) can be further enhanced through the addition of special protective coatings, that are applied during manufacture.

Kingspan Multideck, a class leading galvanised steel decking of which Metpark UK is an approved supplier and installer, is widely used in car park construction.  Different metal deck profiles can be specified according to project requirements. 

Kingspan Multideck MD206C is a steel deck manufactured specifically for use in car park construction and is powder coated for enhanced durability. 

Kingspan Multideck is one of a limited number of profiles that can also be manufactured with Magnelis corrosion protection, known as Kingspan XP, for use in the most aggressive C5 and C5 environments and providing up to ten times more protection than standard galvanising. For more information on Kingspan and on steel deck and concrete flooring construction visit the Construction page.

Tailored Car Park Solutions from Metpark UK

Metpark UK is an experienced provider of high quality single and multi-storey car park structures. Our steel car park structures are designed and built using a combination of galvanised structural steel frame, composite steel decking, in situ concrete flooring and waterproof toppings. Metpark UK will design and build a bespoke single or multi-storey car park that accommodates individual project requirements.  To discuss a project, please contact our Design Team on 01695 566880 or email us.

*British Parking Association