What are the steps to inspect a parking deck?

Following the collapse of certain parking lots in Quebec, notably in 2005, 2008 and 2009, Law 122 concerning the inspection of parking lots was introduced. This inspection is a task carried out by expert engineers; and it takes into account a certain number of well-defined steps. It should be noted that following the various accidents that have already occurred, the Quebec authorities are meticulous about the application of law 122. Find out what it is and what are the steps involved in the inspection of parking garages.

 

Law 122 and parking garages: what is the relationship?

 

The inspection of parking lots has become a requirement since Law 122. This law stipulates that all regulated infrastructures with underground or overhead parking facilities where at least one of the running surfaces does not rest on the ground must be checked and maintained periodically. They must undergo a general inspection every 5 years and routine checks every year. The persons to whom this law applies are:

 

  • Homeowners

  • Co-owners

  • Syndicates of co-ownerships

  • Occupants

  • Users

 

General inspections must be performed by building experts who hold a professional or engineering designation. They are required to prepare a (well-developed) parking deck inspection report.

In addition, infrastructure that is considered unsafe should not wait 5 years before undergoing a general inspection. They should be inspected as soon as possible.

 

The steps of the annual inspection

 

The annual inspection is simple. It can be done by an owner. The owner should ensure that the annual reports are kept in a logbook designed to show the good condition of the parking structure. Each report will include dated photos to report on the condition of the infrastructure and a completed form in annexe 1 of the regulations.

General Inspection Stages

The general inspection, which takes place every 5 years, is divided into 4 stages.

Stage 1: Visual inspection:

During the first stage of the general inspection, the professionals will first analyze the existing documents and information available about the parking structure. They will identify any issues that have been determined through previous inspections and will be informed of any work that has been done on the infrastructure.

 

In the terrain, they will visually inspect elements such as beams, columns, structural slabs, and membrane. The purpose of the visual inspection will be to identify areas where the concrete is degraded, cracked areas, the condition of the membranes and any other problems that may exist there.

Step 2: Destructive testing and analysis

If the visual inspection reveals the presence of anomalies on the infrastructure, the destructive test aims at finding the causes. The engineers then proceed to the development of certain tests. To do this, they will take different concrete samples from the structural slabs. These tests are essential in order to identify more precisely the elements that are responsible for the deterioration of the construction materials. They are obviously done in the laboratory and will therefore serve to determine the quality of the concrete and the salt content at different depths. Deteriorated concrete is often contaminated by chloride ions (at a high rate), by carbonation or by sulfate contamination due to humidity.

Step 3: Non-destructive testing

As the name implies, non-destructive testing does not involve taking any samples. They are simply performed to obtain additional information. The professionals will then proceed to detect defects (conduits, reinforcement or delamination). They will also check the drainage and the reinforcement elements of the columns.

Step 4: Preparation of the inspection report

As mentioned above, the inspection report is written by the engineer in charge of the inspection. It can be divided into three parts: observations, comments and conclusions. Each of these parts must meet very specific standards.

 

The observation part, of course, contains the results of the visual analysis and tests. In the comments, the professional will identify the defects in the concrete and estimate the extent of the damage. Finally, the conclusion includes the expert report and the nature of the recommended interventions.

 

The report enables us to judge to what extent the parking lot is a danger for the people who live near it.

 

What happens if the parking structures are in dangerous conditions?

 

If a parking deck has defects that could expose users to danger in any way, the person in charge of the infrastructure is obliged to notify the Régie du bâtiment du Québec. Naturally, the implementation of emergency measures is what follows. Within one month, descriptions of the corrective work to be done must be provided and carried out in an effective manner. Once the work is completed, the person in charge will have to obtain a verification report that must also be sent to the Régie.