The pinnacle of car parking technology is the fully automatic parking systems, because they involve a high level of automation for fast, efficient and reliable parking.
First, what is a fully automatic parking system?
Basically, it’s a single point of entry parking system that only requires users to park in a designated parking area after which the system will perform the necessary operations to park the car. They often do not have designated allocation of spaces and will use the control automation to find the fastest space available.
What differentiates them from other types of parking systems?
Other different types of parking systems require the user to park in their designated space and will require direct access to that space by their vehicle. Whereas a fully automated system chooses the nearest free car park for the car and mechanically slots the car into that space.
Whilst there are also car lifts available, they are not considered fully automatic parking systems as the user drives into the lift and then out again at the relative level to park conventionally. Whilst fully automatic parking systems often incorporate “lifts”, they are an integrated element of the system and the user leaves the car prior to it being used.
Fully automatic parking systems are generally used for projects in highly developed areas where there is a premium for parking, access is difficult and plot ratios are high.
So why choose a fully automatic parking system?
Primarily, for efficiency.
Parking systems are generally an incredibly efficient means to achieve a project’s parking requirements. Sometimes they can provide up to three times the spaces than conventional parking may offer, if conventional parking is even possible.
The most efficient use of space for parking
Fully automatic parking systems offer the most efficient use of space to park cars. They are not constrained by manoeuvring cars and aisle widths, minimum head height requirements, ramps, and other elements that limit conventional parking arrangements.
Due to the flexible nature of parking in a fully automatic parking system, the parking system can be located in a less commercially sensitive part of the building, such as along a blind section of proposed building adjacent other buildings and with limited access to natural light.
Further, the footprint of the parking system is incredibly flexible and the designer can lay out parking in ways not possible conventionally, such as parallel to the aisle. Parking parallel to the aisle is fundamentally more efficient than conventional parking as the aisle width needs only be 2.8m wide. This can lead to up to 20% more spaces in plan than conventional parking.
The design of the parking system is relative to itself only. This means that we can have levels of parking determined by the heights of the cars being parked. For example, parking sedan cars of 1600mm height, requires our level to level height to be only 1725mm. This means that we might get four levels of parking in three levels of building, creating a 33% greater number of cars than a conventional parking arrangement, over and above the footprint benefits.
The parking system does not require any building structure itself, apart from a base and a secure envelope to house it. However it is flexible enough in its design that it can accommodate both vertical and horizontal structural elements to achieve the most efficient structural design.
Usually, the most valuable part of land suitable for commercial or mixed use developments is the ground level fronting the commercial strip. Therefore, a commercially effective design will look to reduce the amount of footprint taken up by accessing parking.
Remove the need for ramps
Conventional parking requires the provision of ramps from the ground level to the parking levels which, on some sites can be difficult to achieve, especially those with small footprints.
A two way ramp between conventional parking levels can occupy approx 100 square metres of footprint at each level. Where as an entrance cabin with turning will occupy less than 40 square metres. If we are turning in the system, then the entrance cabin will only occupy less than 25 square metres.
Alternatively, greater provision for back of house operations can improve the value of the frontage by providing greater commercial opportunities. Removing ramps can increase the NLA of a site at ground level and therefore increase the project’s value.
Often there are considerations, such as flooding zones, that can also affect the ability of the designer to accommodate ramps. Entrance cabins for parking systems can help to avoid issues here also.
Often, especially on sites with small footprints, we can work around “fixed” elements such as the lift core to ensure we can still park an optimal number of cars.
Installation of parking system not in critical path – reduced construction time
The parking system is not built as part of the critical path of the construction program and is installed once the envelope of the system has been completed.
Therefore, the construction of this area is very fast and by the time the parking system is ready to be installed, the main construction works are further up the building or finishing.
Improved constructibility of buildings – potential to remove basements
As the parking system provides flexibility in how it is implemented with no ramps required to the parking levels, often we can remove the need for one or more basements for parking. This generally saves significant time in the construction program as below ground works take longer than above ground structural works. Further, below ground works are at greater risk of time and cost blowouts because of any unknown elements that may be encountered.
Cost effective in the overall building program
Due to the efficiencies, reduced volumes, reduced construction program, fully automatic parking systems can be a cost effective solution to provide significantly more parking spaces than would be available using conventional parking
What about benefits for the user?
Simple and safe to use
Parking systems provide a simple and safe means for users to park their cars. They have a single guided point of entry and do not need to negotiate structural elements such as columns and other residents’ cars, minimising the chance of nasty scrapes.
Furthermore, the system instructs them to ensure they are correctly parked. Once the user has parked in the entrance cabin, their involvement is complete as the parking system does the rest. There is no need to walk through the car park or wait for lifts, and users love the time saving they enjoy with this feature.
As there are no people in the parking area, cars are safe and cannot be tampered with. You could potentially leave a convertible in there with the roof down without risk!
Risk of damage to the users’ cars by other parkers is eliminated as all cars are parked by the system. The user also doesn’t need to worry about scraping columns or other building features negotiating tight turns or difficult spaces.
Make parking “sexy”
Too often, parking is the last aesthetic design consideration of a building, especially as car parks are often large underground spaces that would be expensive to give a design treatment to. Given the interface of the parking system is just a small entrance cabin, designers can explore their design treatment within that space to integrate it with the design theme of the rest of the building.
Energy efficient solution
As the system does not have regular inhabitants, or running cars, there is a reduced requirement for ventilation and lighting. As the system is volumetrically efficient, it also requires less raw material, labour and energy to build. Manufacturing processes in the factory are far more efficient and less wasteful than works on site.
Whilst the system will have electrical peak loads that are quite high, this is for very short periods of time and they are quite electrically efficient to run, whereas ventilation systems and lighting for conventional parking are required to run at all times.
The systems use highly advanced control automation and engineering to ensure safe and reliable parking. They are remotely monitored for reliability and service personnel can assist with any problems that might occur remotely.
The parking system incorporate user friendly interface options, such as smart phone apps or remote control to give the user greater flexibility and comfort in how they access their car.
What are the risks, or what should we be looking out for?
As with any technical solution, there are considerations we must make to ensure a successful outcome for both the project and the users, including:
- car size and weight limitations
- power consumption requirements
- fire brigade requirements
- off site queuing risks
- noise and vibration
- reliability of the system
These risks can be effectively mitigated by employing a highly skilled and experienced team throughout the design process, through supply and installation and beyond installation with service and maintenance, using the industry leading fully automatic parking systems from Klaus Multiparking.
Want to find out more about space saving car stackers for your home? Contact our friendly team for a chat.