Parking lots – adding value to your business

Parking lots – adding value to your business

July 12th, 2017

Customer service….Sustainability….. Compliance…. Today’s business plans have owners looking at how the goals in these areas will be met (dare exceeded) by all aspects of the company. Experts are hired to train on how to deliver exceptional customer service, others what to do to decrease carbon footprints, and yet others on how to have a culture of sustainability and how to navigate regulations to ensure proper compliance and avoid costly fines. But do business owners stop and look at their parking lots and think about how these spaces can add value to each of those important elements of the business?

Parking lots can (and should) be a key participant in a company’s customer service, sustainability, and compliance programs. A parking lot is a capital asset that requires regular maintenance for optimal appearance, performance and longevity. A properly maintained lot can last 4 to 12 years longer than a neglected one. A customized maintenance program, managed by a provider using responsible paving practices, can help a lot provide exceptional customer service, deliver good corporate citizenship through compliance and sustainability, and create a great lasting impression with a client.

Storm water management

Storm water runoff is simply the rainwater or snowmelt running off a lot. It flows from the lot through properly installed and well maintained drainage in a way that is not detrimental to the environment.

Poorly installed and/or maintained drains can be in violation of protective environmental regulations; but poor storm water management will also cause expensive damage to a lot as well as create unsafe conditions. A professional parking lot management partner should have a clear understanding of how storm water drainage impacts the environment as well as the integrity of the lot and apply this knowledge in developing a realistic maintenance plan that will support local and national standards and regulations. The result is a functional and safe lot. There are now materials, such as pervious asphalt and concrete, that allow storm water to drain through the surface versus being funneled through to a storm drain.

Sealcoating

A number of factors can negatively affect the look and color of an asphalt surface. These contributors include weather, chemicals from vehicles, and heavy equipment usage. A great way to give a lot a facelift is by applying a sealcoat. This important maintenance activity will not only give it a fresh new look, but will ultimately extend the life of the lot by preventing water seepage from undermining the subgrade. Preventing water seepage and encouraging proper drainage are critical to maximizing the life of an asphalt lot. The sealcoat product can be asphalt-based, a refined tar, or could even include filler such as small chips. A site visit will help the installer understand many aspects of the lot, from areas of erosion that will require patching to traffic patterns that will need to be adjusted to storm drains that should be blocked during application. Sealcoat should not be applied if rain is forecasted within 24 hours to prevent the uncured product from washing off. A properly sealed lot will have a longer life, as well as provide a smooth and safe parking, driving, and walking surface. An annual application of sealcoat supports sustainability initiatives through avoidance of more costly repaving, is environmentally responsible when properly applied and provides a safe and functional parking lot for clients, employees and vendors.

Helicopter

Overlay

When a lot shows severe deterioration with deep cracks and many potholes, a good choice is to overlay. Overlay is a method of repaving and involves applying a layer asphalt compacted to about two inches directly on top of the existing surface. Areas that have total failure to the base level supporting the pavement will require removal and patching prior to the overlay. A good choice of asphalt with sustainability in mind is warm asphalt, a product that requires less heat to mix and includes recycled materials. An overlay will breathe new life into a lot with extreme wear. Correcting failed surfaces with a properly installed overlay of warm asphalt is a responsible way to extend the life of a lot.

Full replacement

Parking lot surfaces do not last forever, and there comes a time when a lot simply needs to be replaced. Complete replacement will be recommended when 1/3 of the lot has failed. A full-depth reclamation involves removing the asphalt and some of the base materials and pulverizing them into tiny pieces. These pieces are used as aggregate for the new lot, thus eliminating the need for old materials to be trucked to a landfill. This process of incorporating the existing parking lot materials into the new surface is what makes asphalt the number one recycled product in America. The use of warm asphalt from a nearby plant is yet another way a provider can install a new lot with sustainable practices. This is also an opportunity for introducing more green space to a lot, such as adding trees for natural shading. This choices not only benefit the environment but also enhance the aesthetic quality of a fresh lot. An engineer will ensure the base is stable, drainage is correct and any new features are properly added before the fresh surface is paved when a full replacement is required.

Striping

The proper application of striping is essential for a safe lot. The application can include a variety of methods, from the use of global position systems to stencils. No matter the method or equipment used, a well striped parking lot creates a set number of parking spaces on a lot. One school of thought for increased sustainability is reduction in size of the spaces, increasing the total number of spaces or creating space for new features such as more trees for natural shading. A parking lot management’s engineering team can help create new striping options after the application of sealcoat or new asphalt that can support a sustainability plan.

ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and subsequent revisions ensure, among other things, that all persons will be provided accessible accommodations when entering, exiting, and parking at facilities. Meeting both federal and state ADA requirements with regards to parking and entryways demonstrates good corporate citizenship and employee inclusion. It is a cost avoidance for penalties and fines. A good parking lot management provider will identify risks and gaps in a lot’s asphalt overlay.

ADA Compliance Parking Lot
Freshly updated ADA areas

A lot with refreshed greenspace compliance and recommend changes needed to bring a lot into alignment with the current federal and local standards.

As you examine the means of reaching the various goals for your company, don’t forget to look to your parking lot. It is essential to work with a provider that understands federal and local regulations, material options, the proximity of necessary resources and your goals. A responsible management company will create a customized maintenance program that will not only extend the life of your lot from 4 to 12 years, but will also extend your campaigns of customer service, sustainability and compliance to your parking lots, creating a great lasting impression with your customer.

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Christie Knable is the VP of Marketing for K.A.I. Total Pavement Management. K.A.I. Total Pavement Management (KAI) is a nationwide parking lot management company. Headquartered in Kansas, K.A.I. has field offices with experienced construction managers across the country, with certifications that range from traffic control to OSHA30 to ADA compliance to storm water management. K.A.I. uses responsible paving practices for its clients across the country. For more information on how K.A.I. can help you manage your parking lot with an eye on your sustainability, customer service, and compliance goals, reach them at info@kai-pavement.com or call toll free at 877-384-2280. K.A.I. Total Pavement Management is a division of Kansas Asphalt, Inc.

 

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