Parking structures are complex architectural projects, so a lot of factors weigh into what it costs to build one. Any property owner needs a solid estimate, though, and getting one depends on a basic understanding of what goes into construction.

Costs to build a parking garage are not uniform across the board. Prices will differ from state to state and even city to city. Then there are considerations like breaking down the average cost of a flat surface versus a multilevel structure, weighing the different materials involved, and deciding exactly how (and by whom) it will be used.

Those are just some of the factors that will affect the price. This guide will cover other important concerns in how much it costs to build a parking garage and who to call for expert construction work.

The National Average Cost to Build a Parking Structure

A 100-car single-level lot (around 30,000 square feet) can run to $210,000. The national average for multilevel projects measured at 150,000 square feet is $9,750,000, with low-to-high costs ranging from $7.5 million to $12 million. Costs per square foot for multilevel lots can be as high as $65 but as low as $3 to $7 on surface-level projects. Here’s how it all adds up:

Paying the Personnel

Architects/drafters and construction teams get paid by the square foot, with the former averaging $2.75 to $3.45 and the latter $12 to $13.

Materials

Some are more expensive than others, and the final number is again calculated by the square foot. This is also a “now and later” cost scenario. Some materials are cheaper to lay today but may prove to be more expensive over the long run in terms of maintenance.

Land Characteristics

An ideal world would have construction-ready land all around us. The reality is that issues like land gradients and soil densities dictate how well a designated area will support a parking structure. Some spots will need excavation and added base support, which adds to the final bill.

Those are the three things that no parking structure project can avoid considering. Things get more site-specific from there, which requires weighing some structural factors and their related pros and cons.

8 Key Factors for an Accurate Quote

Building a parking structure is a big commitment. Property owners must consider a handful of factors to get it successfully onto the drawing board and off to a confident start. They include:

1. Land Ownership

Whether you own the necessary amount of property to build the parking garage or must acquire additional land is the first important factor. You can’t begin construction without sufficient space and permission, and adding the expense of land acquisition can significantly raise a project’s price tag.

It’s a simple matter to discuss the square footage rate of erecting the garage or parking lot if you already have enough property, but remember that proximity to or distance from busy urban areas will affect the cost.

2. Nature and Size of Related Structures

Parking structures typically have a building or buildings attached (commercial or residential), affecting the number of required parking spaces. Residential units can more easily project the number of necessary parking spaces, as this number is directly linked to available living space. Commercial sites may want to leave room for growth and create more spaces than are currently required.

3. Financial Models

Customers must decide whether or not they intend to charge drivers to use their parking structure. Opting for the fee model may require some extra planning to construct space for a gate-and-ticket system to monitor traffic.

4. The Scope of the Design

Commercial parking structures are typically the largest and come in one of three forms – the single level, the multi, and the underground. Building a multilevel parking garage above or below ground is a huge undertaking that will require additional planning. You will likely need to excavate the land, which requires input from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

5. Consider Preconstructed Parts

Many modern parking constructions include precast elements. Walls and beams are constructed off-site and have to be delivered via large trucks and other equipment. This will come at a cost to your company if deliveries restrict traffic, but precasting does have the potential to lower project costs and minimize weather issues.

6. Designing the Right Drainage

This is an essential concern with every parking structure. Installing an efficient surface/sub-surface drainage system adds to the final cost, but it also helps prevent erosion and reduces the potential of accidents. This is a particularly important construction factor if your structure is single-level and in a zone prone to frequent rainfall or flooding.

7. Factor In the Finishing Touches

Every parking project will at the very least need line striping to ensure safe and uniform use. Your lot design may also require concrete wheel stops, and professionals will highly recommend commercial sealing.  

Sealing your garage or lot floor extends the life of the structure and lowers long-term maintenance costs by providing a powerful barrier against the elements and threats like toxic runoff from parked vehicles or stormwater.

8. Arrange for a Contractor Consultation

Chances are you don’t understand the full scope of building a parking garage unless you’re the general contractor on the project. Contractors have extensive practical experience and often have established relationships with architects and municipal permitting staff. Paying a quality company to assess your site can help confirm your current plans or lead to better suggestions.

Parking structures are static, but there are many moving parts in constructing one successfully. Blueprints, permits, and the different materials available are just some of the concerns with the power to make or break your project. Speak to a professional team that will make the whole process transparent and help you avoid project pitfalls.

Parking Structure FAQs

There are further important considerations before committing to a design. Some of these apply universally, while others are site dependent. Here are some of the most common questions from customers considering a new parking structure.

Can I Build Any Lot Design if I Have Enough Land?

Not necessarily. You may have limitations on your design options dictated by local or state zoning or building code requirements.

How Much Maintenance Will Be Required?

This depends on four things: the size of the structure, the surrounding environment, traffic flow, and how proactive the site manager is in looking after it. It’s safe to say that years can pass without the need for serious maintenance following a first-class job for a vigilant owner.

What’s the Life Expectancy of a Completed Parking Project?

Well-designed and executed construction combined with attentive maintenance can deliver decades of confident use.

Do Striping and Sealing Offer Any Other Advantages?

Sealing and striping make a parking structure look attractive and project a positive, professional image to visitors, along with having practical benefits. Investing in both keeps your parking structure safer, helps maximize available space, and keeps you compliant with ADA guidelines and parking lot fire codes.

Does the ADA Require Structural Additions Beyond Striping?

Yes. Your structure will need to be easily accessible for everyone. This means a minimum number of reserved spaces clearly designated for disabled visitors that will need to be wider to allow room for on- and off-boarding of the vehicle, typically a van. Ramps and walkways will also be required. Review the further guidelines from the ADA for dimensional requirements.

Is Concrete or Asphalt Better?

Each has its advantages. Asphalt is less expensive, easier to repair, and does well in milder or colder climates. Concrete requires less maintenance, lasts longer, and has lower levels of toxicity.

What Are Parking Angles?

Your parking structure’s spaces can be stripe-set in straight lines (common in residential projects) or at angles of 45, 60, or 90 degrees (more common on commercial sites). Angles make a big difference to how smoothly someone can enter and exit a space and are often dictated by the length and width of the project’s driving aisle. Angles also influence the possible number of spaces.

Are There Any Other Things to Consider?

It’s also important to factor in the potential disruption to your day-to-day operations and to any nearby businesses when constructing any parking project. Plan ahead in case you’ll need alternative parking during construction.

FAQs don’t represent every possible question. Getting the right ones answered to ensure your project’s success requires getting in touch with the paving professionals who can provide all the insight and advice your unique project needs to proceed.

Contact the Experts With Any Questions

Limitless Paving & Concrete brings experience and excellence to the construction of residential and commercial parking lots in and around Frederick, MD. We also deliver the entire catalog of parking lot repair and maintenance to ensure your investment stays safe and looks great for years to come. Contact our team and speak with an expert today.

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