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CROSS Safety Report

Multi storey car park defects

Report ID: 119 Published: 1 October 2008 Region: CROSS-UK

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A reporter has been concerned for some time that there potentially could be another failure similar to Pipers Row in Wolverhampton and raises their concerns.

Key Learning Outcomes

For asset owners and managers:

Full Report

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This section contains the Full Report submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s concerns or experiences. However, the text has been edited for clarity, and identifiable details have been removed to ensure anonymity and confidentiality. If you would like to know more about our secure reporting process, or submit a report yourself, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.


A reporter says it was interesting to see the note on the staircase collapse in a MSCP (multi storey car park) in CROSS Newsletter No 11 and it prompted them to write to express concerns which they have held for some time. They are regularly sent photographs on defects in MSCPs (below is a typical one of a soffit) and has been concerned for some time that there potentially could be another failure similar to Pipers Row in Wolverhampton.

Despite efforts by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to encourage owners and operators to inspect and maintain their car parks as recommended in their publication ‘Inspection, Maintenance and Management of Parking Structures’, there are still car parks in alarmingly poor structural condition.

The reporter has raised his concerns on several occasions with relevant bodies but the take-up has been very poor and, in their view, the neglect continues. To make matters worse the reporter was concerned to find that the ICE publication (which was considered to be the Bible) is no longer in print and there are apparently no plans to update or republish it.

The reporter has also found that clients are paying lip service to undertaking Life-care plans and unless Government makes inspections and maintenance compulsory, similar to bridges, there will soon be another collapse. They want CROSS to lobby on this matter.

Expert Panel Comments

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It had been hoped that the publicity following the collapse of Pipers Row car park and the publication of the ICE report would ensure safe regimes in all car park structures. Such structures are subject to harsh environmental conditions, repetitive loading cycles and lack of maintenance. Structural engineers dealing with these buildings must be aware of the need for inspection, monitoring and repair.

Owners and local authorities should follow the guidance given in the references below. CROSS would welcome further information on this subject in order that a comprehensive picture may be established, and will check with the ICE as to whether their guidance will be re-printed.

The planning portal from the Department of Communities and Local Government has a report ‘Enhancing the whole life structural performance of multi-storey car parks' which provides guidance and advice.

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