Parking garages can be built from a variety of materials – cast-in-place, precast concrete, steel framing with concrete, even wood. Perhaps most often seen as stand-alone buildings, they are frequently incorporated into a larger structure, concealed below ground level or several floors above ground. Architecturally speaking they can range from simple to highly unique, boasting tailor-made façades. Functionally most are quite plain though they may be outfitted with complex automatic parking systems.
At any rate, we need them. A lot. That’s why they're being built all over the place. Here in Vilnius, Lithuania, car parks are gradually relieving the lack of parking spaces, an all-too-common problem affecting cities worldwide. Underground ones are ideal in the city center here for preserving views of the city’s splendid architecture. Although every situation is different, precast concrete is probably the best choice for your typical, economical, functional parking structure due to its relatively simple design and fast construction timetable that's less affected by weather conditions. Plus architectural ideas can easily be implemented in façade wall panels.
The AEC industry has been undergoing the transition from 2D digital drafting to 3D informational modeling, data management, sharing, linking between people and software platforms. In four words, building information modelling/management. In a word, BIM.
Image courtesy of CKR Engineers
If we look at the case of an independent, standalone parking garage building, most of it is structural. A typical one has simple architecture, and there’s hardly any MEP or other parts of the project to deal with. So in this article, I want to review the design workflow and available tools that make the process efficient in structural BIM models, particularly as regards modeling and documentation.