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Parking Structures

D. Matthew Stuart, P.E., S.E., F.ASCE, SECB

Course Outline

The primary purpose of this course is to gain an understanding of all of the primary components and variables that must be considered when designing a parking garage facility. Concepts associated with planning, design, building codes, security, structure, durability and maintenance are discussed.

A. Introduction.

B. Planning.

C. Design:

1. Level of Service.
2. Circulation.
3. Ramps.
4. One and Two-Way Traffic.

D. Building Codes:

1. Life Safety Issues.
2. Open and Enclosed Garage.
3. Use and Occupancies.
4. Fire Separation Considerations.
5. Means of Egress.
6. MEP.
7. Vehicular and Pedestrian Barriers.
8. Accessible Design.

E. Security.

F. Structure.

G. Durability and Maintenance.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will be able to:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for structural engineers, architects and parking consultants.

Benefit to Attendees

This course will enable a design professional to develop an appreciation and understanding of the many components that must be evaluated and accounted for as a part of the design process for the development of a parking garage facility.

Course Introduction

There are many elements that must be considered when designing a parking garage. Some of these elements are directly affected by the requirements of the building codes and include life safety, use and occupancy, fire separation and means of egress issues. Other elements involve the circulation of vehicles, the level of service anticipated by the users and the determination of the number of spaces required for any given facility. The proper consideration of MEP, structural and security systems must also factor into the design of a parking garage. All of these elements must be considered together to enable the proper development and design of a parking garage.

Course Content

In this lesson, you are required to download and study the following course content in PDF format:

Parking Structures

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Course Summary

The proper design of a parking garage is dependent on a number of different factors. Some of the factors are directly related to the requirements of the building codes. Other factors include traffic as well as pedestrian circulation. The incorporation of the appropriate security systems for the site specific requirements of a parking garage are also critical to the proper design and use of a parking garage. Proper attention to the incorporation of adequate MEP systems and affordable and durable structural components are also of equal importance to the proper design of a parking garage. All of these many elements, which directly affect the proper use and operation of a parking garage, must be taken into consideration during the design of any parking facility.

Related Links

For additional information related to this subject, please visit the following websites or web pages:

Parking Today:


Watry Design:


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.