Its true — according to parking architect Rick Choate the building of a parking structure, particularly in the west, is problematic at best.
Oh, there are a bunch on the drawing board, a bunch funded, and a bunch that are ready to go. But there’s no one to build them.
Building a parking building, according to Rick, is a craft that only a few have perfected. Many try to build garages but most end up way over budget. The construction firms that can bring a ramp in on time and on budget and with good quality are frankly sold out.
This has driven the cost of garage construction through the roof. I’ll bet you thought it was those crafty Chinese who are taking all the steel and concrete to build their infrastructure. No so, says Choate.
Think about it, garages are 30% material 70% labor. Garages that should cost $12,000 a space are costing $20,000 or more not because of the cost of materials, but because if you want one built, you have to pay the price.
The smart owner will allow his architect work with a builder to design a parking building that fits the builder’s way of construction (forms, timing, and the like). Then the builder can take the job, get in, build it and get out. According to Choate, if you want your garage built, make sure it fits the mold, literally. Buildings that have a lot of "hand work", that is fancy exteriors, non standard shapes, and the like, can cause many contractors to take a pass, or bid a number so high they won’t get the job.