Hambro Portable Parking Structure
A gleaming utilitarian marvel, the Hambro Modular Parking System is an ingenious construction with wide-reaching market implications. The system is a portable parking structure comprised of a parking deck and ramp, rails, and fencing elevated on support columns, all assembled over an existing parking lot to increase the number of usable parking spaces.
The moveable structure offers the flexibility to resolve issues of limited space for parking, typically encountered in urban areas. The parking system can be used to alleviate pressure on popular parking lots, or serve as a temporary solution when part of a lot is taken out of commission for construction purposes, fairs and markets, or other temporary events that reduce available parking. Potential markets that could benefit from such a structure include airports, train stations, hospitals, parking lots designed to encourage transit use, shopping malls, university campuses, and more.
Because the components of the structure are pre-fabricated and partially pre-assembled, field installation is quick and economical, taking only four to six days. The construction is carried out on an already-paved surface, thus eliminating the need for a foundation, and the entire structure can be disassembled, then reassembled at a new location and even reconfigured. When the structure is no longer needed, the area previously occupied by the parking facility will automatically return to its original state, undamaged.
The entirety of structure has been hot-dip galvanized, top-to-bottom, including everything from the deck panels and railings, to the fencing, supports and railings. It was a logical choice to utilize galvanized steel throughout the system, as these modules must be able to stand strong and corrosion free against the abuses of steady traffic and corrosive environment. The abrasion resistance, maintenance-free nature, and sustainability of galvanized steel made it the ideal construction material for this project.
Because of the portable nature of the structure, the steel will be exposed to rough handling during transport and likely during assembly as well. A tough, durable corrosion protection system was necessary to preserve the attractive metallic aesthetic of the parking structure, which will be visible in close proximity due to the intended public use.
Galvanized steel protects steel from the inside out, utilizing both tough barrier protection and intrinsic cathodic protection created during the coating process to defend against corrosion. The durable barrier protection will guard the steel from constant exposure to sunlight, moisture, road salts, and grit carried in by tires. Because the zinc coating created during the hot-dip galvanizing process is harder than the substrate steel, it creates a tough-to-penetrate barrier that will defend the steel against corrosive moisture and vehicle pollutants.
The metallurgical reaction that occurs during the galvanizing process also protects the steel cathodically – meaning nicks and scratches (up to ¼ in. diameter) exposing the substrate steel will be protected from corrosion by the sacrificial properties of the surrounding zinc. This makes galvanized steel particularly well-suited for the potentially rough garage environment, where vehicles may bump or scratch exposed beams.
Not only does the galvanized steel provide superior protection from the inevitable exposure to corrosive elements and superficial damage, it does while remaining maintenance-free for 75 years or more. This means none of the indirect costs of routine maintenance will be incurred – the structure will not need to be taken out of commission for routine maintenance.
This aspect also lends itself to the sustainable nature of the portable structure. Because the system is to be used and reused time and time again, the structure should also utilize the most sustainable corrosion protection system on the market. Utilizing 100% natural, abundant, and recyclable zinc and steel, hot-dip galvanized steel remains maintenance-free over the life of the project. This means no wasted energy or materials on continuous upkeep. Galvanized steel supports the earth-friendly nature of this parking solution.
For this specific application of the system, the entire 300-plus ton project was completed in only one month, from the design assessment and the galvanizing of the pieces, to the last shipment to the site. This quick turnover is characteristic of the galvanizing process, which is factory-controlled indoors and can be conducted regardless of weather or environment.
The fast track planning and execution of this project called for close and effective co-operation between the engineers and the galvanizer to quickly come up with manufactured components that achieved the high aesthetic quality necessary, were free from distortion, while remaining cost-effective for both the fabricator and galvanizer.
Two completed modules were leased to the city of St-Lambert, Quebec. The municipality opted for this concept of modular structure to accommodate business owners and shoppers during the reconstruction of a busy thoroughfare in the heart of the city. The new, portable two-story parking facilities provide the municipality with a total of 70 additional parking spaces.
The concept of the portable parking system offers new and exciting market potential highlighting the inherent qualities of galvanizing, including durability, abrasion resistance, and sustainability. The aging urban infrastructure of our inner cities promises many more applications for this structure, and the use of hot-dip galvanized steel guarantees the structure will stand strong, corrosion-free, to fulfill its purpose for generations to come.