Hospital parking demand: multistorey parking or temporary parking decks?

One of the main questions when drawing up tenders for parking construction work is deciding exactly what kind of parking structure is most appropriate. Some hospitals that have chosen fixed multi-storey parking structures have found that it can take a long time to pay off the initial capital investment and maintenance costs and that increased parking charges are not popular with patients and visitors.
In some cases, the demand for parking spaces may be lower than the anticipated hosting capacity of the permanent structure, which could result in a waste of money for the NHS. It is not always easy to assess parking needs they can change unexpectedly and the demand curve might vary with time it is therefore important to be able to have a dynamic management of parking areas.

Midterm temporary parking solutions could be an option to reduce the high risk on investment as the payback period is very short, maintenance costs are extremely low, and they can be installed quickly in comparison to permanent parking structures. They usually better satisfy parking demand studies, either by doubling the already existing parking surface or offering brand new parking levels on disused areas. The steel-made parking decks are generally planned, designed and installed focussing on temporary parking needs and a quick surge in parking demand.
Rather than seeing the parking deck as an alternative solution to permanent structures it is possible to consider it as an introductory choice to use whilst assessing long-term parking needs and developing more efficient parking planning strategies. Less disruptive midterm parking solutions quickly eliminate parking congestion and can be installed and demounted quickly, allowing time to assess local parking demands and pre-existing parking availability within the hospital site and ascertain whether it is better to build a multi-storey park with three instead of five levels. If a parking deck is used, the NHS has the possibility of using the asset for future parking development (e.g. incorporating it in a multi-storey car park) or having a reversible choice (it can be dismounted and removed to be replaced with a different sort of multi-storey park). Using this strategy it has been shown that parking decks and multi-storey car parks should not be thought of as opposite choices, but as complimentary solutions for a dynamic management of hospital parking planning problems and procurement strategies.
Temporary solutions sometimes offer some disadvantages: they can generate a sensation of container effect and have a negative impact on the environment; in order to keep costs down, savings are often made on materials which are not as good in quality as those used for multi-storey parks. Some parking deck types such as ours can easily overcome all these disadvantages however. Our decks are not just conceived as temporary parking decks, but, instead, are pre-engineered to be permanent - they are long-lasting and safe and offer high quality performance. They consist not only of a modular steel-made freestanding parking deck but also include concrete paving. Different finishing options can be used to avoid the claustrophobic container effect and give the park a better ability to blend with the environment. They are considered the top hospital parking product because they require no onsite disruption during erection and have low noise levels. A drainage system, lightning equipment and bay markings and signs are always included in the supply of all parking decks, such as those installed at the Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

The turnkey solution offers in a package a wide range of services from design to handover, with significant cost savings, avoiding extra fees and obligations for consultancy. As investment risks are not so high, parking fees will not be so expensive. The choice of this kind of parking for many NHS hospitals in the UK has successfully proved that good quality Fast Park temporary parking decks which can if necessary become permanent, are an excellent and feasible choice for hospital parking. As even the best consultants can make mistakes on proposing solutions to solve unusual problems such as parking congestion, it is advisable in cases of high complexity to provide solutions that can eventually afford to be permanent to avoid mistakes that could be permanently irrevocable.

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