Letter to the Editor
NPA Parking Consultants Council Not “Oblivious” to Issue
Chuck Cullen, CPP, CAPP
The May issue of Parking Today contained a letter to the editor from a New England-based engineer (“Are Engineers Oblivious to Safety?”). The writer expressed the opinion of who he thinks should be responsible for shutting down existing parking facilities that are potentially in such poor condition as to be in danger of collapse, as well as preventing parking construction collapses.
Construction contracts specifically indicate that the contractor is responsible for the stability of the building during construction, and they are subject to local, state and federal codes, laws and inspections such as OSHA.
Regarding maintenance issues related to existing garages currently in service, owners are always responsible for the maintenance of their facilities. The owner of a car is responsible for maintenance of it, not the manufacturer. Under professional licensing laws, engineers who specialize in structural design and/or parking are not required to inspect every garage and/or building they enter on personal time for potential problems.
There are municipalities that require owners to hire engineers to inspect buildings, including parking structures in some cases, on a periodic basis. If the letter writer wishes to force owners to maintain facilities, his effort would be directed to lobbying local or state governments to require inspection of buildings regularly, as is the case with bridges in the US.
The letter writer sought to transfer this obligation from the responsible parties (contractors, owners, government code regulators) to members of the NPA Parking Consultants Council (PCC), even falsely stating that we are “oblivious to the issue.”
The NPA PCC develops, improves and promotes best practices in all aspects of the parking industry. Members of the PCC have been instrumental in bringing about needed changes in the fire, building, lighting and traffic codes that govern the construction of parking facilities. This peer group of designers, architects, engineers and consultants is dedicated to this effort.
In point of fact, the NPA PCC publishes guidelines for Parking Garage Maintenance, Parking Structure Fires, Parking Garage Geometrics, Parking Security Design and related topics. The information contained within these publications provides knowledge to improve safety and reduce the potential for structural failures.
The NPA PCC has a long history of advancing safety in the parking industry. Any statement to the contrary is oblivious to reality.
Chuck Cullen, CPP, CAPP
Chair, NPA Parking Consultants Council
Article Abstract from July, 2013