The majority of parking garages in Texas were constructed in the 1980s. With a life span of 30 years, according to experts, their design operational period is coming to an end. Therefore, there is no guarantee that those stations will be preserved if the issue is left unaddressed.
Most of the construction projects (e.g. roads and bridges) are periodically inspected and repaired, if necessary. However, in Texas, the owners of parking lots are not obliged to conduct inspections and thus their structural strength remains unknown.
Last summer, a multistory parking garage partially collapsed on O’Connor Ridge Boulevard in Irving crushing 21 vehicles. Miraculously, no person was injured. Evidence showed that it was complex failure while the lack of maintenance could have deteriorated the strength of the structure. But, since no one was injured, an official investigation about the causes of the collapse was not issued. Amir Hassan, an engineer, took photographs of large cracks in the structure that were present before the collapse. “The building was trying to tell us something. The building was saying we have a problem here, come and fix it or at least come and have a closer look… and someone missed that,” Hassan said.
Since the collapse in Irving, the situation seems to have slightly changed. Some owners stated that they had qualified engineers inspect their properties while the Fort Worth suggested that all garages of the city should be inspected every 10 years.
It seems that water is the most critical factor that causes the degradation of parking garages' structural strength. Water can propagate into concrete's cracks and weaken the material significantly. “Water is our number one enemy,” Mark Duebner, Love Field's director of Aviation, stated.