There are hundreds of millions of parking spaces across the United States. Around one-third of them are thought to be in asphalt parking lots.
In a 2012 study titled “Rethinking a Lot,” MIT Professor of Urban Planning Eran Ben-Joseph wrote that “in some U.S. cities, parking lots cover more than a third of the land area, becoming the single most salient landscape feature of our built environment.”
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why parking lot maintenance has become such big business. Parking lots represent a critical form of infrastructure, and they don’t look after themselves.
Parking Lot Maintenance
Parking lots don’t have many moving parts, but they are still exposed to rough treatment from vehicles and the weather as the days go by.
Damage to the surface can render a lot dangerous and, well, ugly. Regular maintenance, ranging from repairs to specialized treatments, can help preserve a parking lot’s value and ensure its users are kept safe.
For parking lot and facilities managers, there are a number of tasks that come together from an overall maintenance strategy. At a basic level that means sweeping, cleaning, and removing debris to reveal areas that need special attention, as well as repainting lines that have faded over time.
When damage is discovered, cracks need to be filled to protect the top surface layer; asphalt needs to be sealed every couple of years to prevent weathering, and, in the worst-case scenario, lots need to be partially or entirely repaved if the ground begins to crumble.
Parking Lot Inspection Checklist
Below are a series of checks for parking lot managers to run through during an inspection.
Entrance & Markings
The first set serves as a parking lot safety inspection checklist to ensure the entrance to the parking lot is in a safe and working condition:
- Are the sidewalk and entryway free from obstruction and debris?
- Are auto-open gates operating smoothly?
- Are walkways free from vegetation?
The second set ensures markings and signs are correct and visible:
- Are mirrors or STOP signs in place to cover blind spots?
- Are navigation signs and arrows readable and well lit?
- Are all pedestrian walkways marked clearly?
- Are all handicapped and specialized parking spots clearly painted?
- Are the lot’s bumpers visible and easy to spot?
Surface condition and drainage
The third part of the checklist ensures the lot’s surface is in good condition:
- Is the lot’s paved surface free from cracks or crumbling asphalt?
- Is the lot free from trip hazards?
- Is the lot’s surface free from pot-holes?
- Are all stormwater inlet grates clear of debris?
- Is the lot free from standing water, ice and snow?
Parking Lot Security
The final part of the checklist concerns security, keeping customers safe and reducing risk:
- Is the parking lot free from dark spots that might require additional lighting?
- Is the lot’s CCTV system online?
- Are all emergency call boxes in place and operational?
- Is the lot clear of litter, any potentially hazardous or flammable materials, and any abandoned vehicles?
- Are all appropriate emergency signs in place and clearly visible?
- Is the parking lot patrolled by a security professional?
- Are all of the parking lot’s lights in good working order?
How drones can help with parking lot inspection
The checklist above is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to inspecting a parking lot. And the task is even greater as the scale increases, in a lot with thousands of spaces and hundreds of square feet to be checked.
It’s when the scale is ramped up that drone technology is particularly effective. With a drone, property managers can identify anything that’s out of the ordinary, from vegetation growing where it shouldn’t to cracks developing on the parking lot’s surface. You can even quickly and safely perform a commercial HVAC inspection, utilizing drones from the ground-level of a property to its highest points.
With high-quality images and smart software able to analyze that data in minutes, maintenance teams can be alerted to issues and act on them quickly. And, because drones can cover ground far faster compared to manual inspections, the whole process takes place in a fraction of the time.
For more information on how you can tap into the DroneBase Pilot Network to simplify your property maintenance tasks, check out our property management page.