Thinking About Parking Garage Demolition Costs?

Thinking About Parking Garage Demolition Costs?

December 7, 2017

Diagnostics expert
Sunil Puri, P.E. discusses some important factors to consider.

When the useful service life of a parking structure is near its end, it is time to return to where the idea came from ... back to the realm of potential and endless possibilities of building something new. These possibilities can begin to take shape with the critical step of demolition of the existing structure.

As the future possibilities for the garage site are explored, the costs associated with the demolition of the parking garage is raised often. The demolition costs for a parking garage depends upon the following factors:

  • Geographic location: Geographic location of a parking garage plays a major role in how much you’ll pay for the garage demolition. It comes down to the cost of living for the respective city and the distance of the parking structure from the disposal site.

  • Type of construction: Precast or cast-in-place concrete (conventionally reinforced or post-tensioned); with pre-cast structural system relatively cheaper to demolish as compared to cast-in-place structures. Other construction type-related factors affecting demolition costs are as follows:

a) Foundation/retaining wall system: Is it a fully or partially above-ground or under-ground garage? Demolition of an underground garage is typically more expensive.

b) Number of parking levels: For the same number of parking spaces, a taller garage costs more to demolish.

c) Ramp system: Existence of an independent helix or express ramp requires additional volume of structure to be demolished and hence is an additional cost for demolition.

  • Surroundings: Access to the demolition site for the use of needed demolition equipment is governed by the buildings surrounding the existing garage. Lack of proper access for the demolition equipment can increase the demolition costs.

  • Disposal Costs: Depending upon the criteria specified for the management of waste from the demolition process, the cost of demolition can vary significantly. Recycling of waste material, though beneficial for environmental impact, can increase the cost of demolition.

  • Contaminant Management: If the parking structure has hazardous elements like asbestos and lead, the cost of waste disposal will increase. Removing these elements and disposing the contaminant materials according to the local government laws requires more time and expertise. A professional service is needed to handle these contaminant substances and proper disposal can significantly increase the cost of garage demolition.

  • Method of Demolition: Depending upon the location, construction type, surroundings, and the disposal requirements; planned demolition may be accomplished using an implosion, high reach arm, crane & ball, or selective demolition methods. In order to calculate the overall demolition costs, it is important to consider the planned method of demolition along with the pros and cons of each method.

  • Post-demolition Site: Dirt surface, a parking lot, or a big hole in the ground can be a few of the scenarios attained after the demolition of a parking structure. Post-demolition site requirements have a significant impact on the overall demolition costs.

  • Risk Management: Are there any adjoining buildings which may get impacted by the procedure of demolition? Heavy demolition in congested locations adjacent to other existing infrastructure poses significant risks related to third party claims for property damage. Additionally, is the parking structure in a healthcare campus? In a hospital environment there are additional considerations related to patients, sensitive medical equipment and procedures that must be evaluated. It is prudent to identify all the risks upfront and proactively mitigate them through engagement with adjacent property owners, performing pre- and post-demolition surveys of the adjacent infrastructure, performing real-time vibration monitoring, and following healthcare construction protocols throughout the demolition process to document the nature of the onsite activities.

  • Opportunity Costs: The true cost of demolition must also consider the lost revenue that is unavoidable during the demolition and reconstruction process. In addition, inherent costs associated with eliminating your parking resources (even if just temporarily) need to be incorporated. If deemed necessary, additional costs of alternative parking should also be accounted for.

Irrespective of the type of construction, a proper plan is needed to demolish an existing parking garage. The planning phase is where the demolition project is further developed in as much detail as possible and the steps necessary to meet the project’s objective are planned. In this step, the designer and owner team together to identify all of the work related to the demolition phase and a demolition plan is created outlining the activities, tasks, dependencies, responsibilities, and timeframes for the demolition of the parking facility.