To create a feeling of safety in the garage, long-span castellated beams and slim vertical supports engender a sense of openness, allowing light to penetrate and encouraging air flow and circulation. Lighting is critical to the success of any parking structure, affecting visibility, safety, and patron comfort.
Eliminating the need for heavy shear walls means more natural light will flood the garage floors- the need for buzzing, glaring fluorescent lighting will be greatly reduced. Better lighting throughout the structure means an easier, safer drive for vehicles, preventing shadowy regions from inhibiting sight while driving.
In this case, safer for cars means safer for pedestrians. With greater visibility, patrons walking to their cars will be obvious no surprises around the corner. Fewer shadow areas also mean nowhere to hide for shady characters. Visitors can travel throughout the open, well-lit structure with confidence.
Beyond safety and aesthetics, the openness generated from utilizing galvanized castellated steel beams serves to increase air circulation. Open-deck parking structures do not require the use of mechanical ventilation systems, as fresh gusts and breezes work naturally to keep the air fresh and moving. Compare this to the dank, tinny air of an enclosed concrete garage, and steel framing is a significantly more appealing option.
Hot-dip galvanized steel framing systems not only develop visibility and the appearance and feeling of safety in a garage, they also can provide seismic advantages. Steel framing structures are more seismic resistant than concrete frames due to the ductile, adaptable steel members.
Able to bend within reason without breaking, the tensile strength of a steel structure can alleviate damage during seismic activity, protecting the builder's investment, and more importantly, the cars and people sheltered within. Diagonal members, moment frames, and connections can be utilized while taking up minimal usable space within the garage.
Concrete, on the other hand, requires additional shear walls, further limiting usable space and eliminating natural light. Concrete moment frames also require workers with a high degree of field expertise and may extend beyond the footprint of the structure, requiring additional site area. Even after implementing these concrete "solutions," the rigidity of concrete can cause cracking and crumbling under duress. A steel frame protects the structure from seismic damage while accommodating the original design.