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If your condo’s parking garage is over 20-years old, you should develop a five-year schedule for condition assessments. This proactive approach allows you to make incremental repairs resulting in more manageable garage maintenance costs. Here are the tests you should be applying every five years.
Delamination Testing: Chain Drag and/or Hammer Tap Survey
While this sounds like a noisy mess, it is actually a non-invasive process for garage maintenance. You can either:
- Drag heavy chains across the surface OR
- Tap a on exposed concrete surfaces with a hammer
During the test, the goal is to listen for deep hollow sounds that point to concrete delamination. When this happens there’s a good chance the reinforcing steel has corroded.
De-Bonded Waterproofing: Test Pits for Roof Deck Waterproofing
In this case the testing becomes more invasive. It involves excavating a square meter area of the roof deck to expose the waterproofing membrane. Tests of the samples look at flexibility, adhesion, and thickness. You of course then also have to pay to repair the area you dug up. In the case of mastic waterproofing the chain drag test works. The hollow sound in this case is a sign the waterproofing has been separated (debonded) from the concrete below. You can confirm the condition by then opening up the area.
Chloride Contamination: Chloride Testing
Chloride contamination in concrete is common. It’s caused by exposure to de-icing salt in the winter. This is another invasive test as part of garage maintenance – you need to take a deep sample of the concrete. It is also costly as it involves a lab test to check chloride levels. Once contamination is confirmed, it’s just a matter of time before the reinforcing steel begins to corrode.
Carbonation Contamination: Carbonation Testing
Another drilling session is required to take incremental samples ¼ inch at a time. A PH indicator reads the levels and tells you how far down the contamination goes. A comparison of the depth of the contamination to the depth of the reinforced steel tells you how risky the contamination is for corrosion.
The Benefits of Garage Condition Assessments
Your condition assessments provide valuable insights that help you with proper garage maintenance. Because something like replacing an entire slab in the garage is not only costly, but inconvenient, you want to take steps to have a more manageable garage maintenance strategy.
Your garage maintenance strategy allows you to address repairs, and also contribute useful information for your reserve fund studies and findings. You can consider repairs more strategically ensuring they make sense in the broader scheme of things. With the right information you can determine a more accurate schedule based on minor repairs and major replacements. This allows you to be far more effective in managing reserve fund study findings. There is a vast difference in cost between repair interventions to protect the waterproofing of the garage and a complete replacement of the waterproofing system. This might extend the life of the garage allowing you to avoid waterproofing every 10 years.
Your assessments make it easier to allot costs planned strategically to fit in with your reserve fund study cycles. As a result, you create accurate repair forecasting and allowances spreading out the budget between minor repairs and major replacements. A proactive approach to garage maintenance allows you to improve your long-term strategy, possibly accommodating more resident friendly upgrades that increase value and quality of life.
At CPO Management, a property management company in Toronto and the GTA, we can help reduce parking garage repair and replacement challenges and ensure finances are always available. Contact us today.