While there’s no specific design template for all car parks, it’s essential to build a facility that’s safe to use all year round – including winter. Whether you’re planning a multi-story development in the city, or want to adapt a rural parking space, there are plenty of safety features to think about, including:
A suitable storage area
The weather can take a turn for the worse at any point during the cold snap, so there must be a suitable place for storing rock salt and other winter safety products. This might be a small room where snow shovels, ploughs and liquid ice-melt spreaders can be kept, or it might be a cupboard where lockable grit bins can sit. Whatever the case, equipment of this kind is essential in hazardous conditions and should be stored away correctly.
Flood control measures
If you’re planning to build a car park without a roof, all surface areas should be as flat as possible to avoid puddles gathering in certain bays. Large areas need to be prepared carefully before self-levelling concrete is put down and an appropriate draining system must be installed. Construction workers might also want to think about building off the ground to prevent flooding, or using drop-down flood barriers for underground car parks.
Safety signs should not be an afterthought. They must be incorporated into the design and used to instruct and inform anyone who uses the facility. According to the British Parking Association (BPA), clear and visible signage must be used to identify exits, lifts, stairwells, payment machines, parking zones, levels and other hazards. Temporary winter signs can also come in useful and should be positioned wherever there’s a risk to health.
Adequate lighting can reduce people’s fear of crime says the BPA, but it can also help people navigate their way when it’s dark outside. As there are minimal daylight hours during winter, artificial illumination should be used where necessary so people can see where they are going. What’s more, walls and ceilings must have light coloured finishes to reduce the amount of lights needed and maximise their effectiveness.
Everything from keeping grit bins with de-icing salt, to using the right signs can have a big impact on safety, so build all car parks with winter in mind – especially as it gets extremely cold in the UK.