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Car park safety back on agenda


LONG-DELAYED design standards and routine inspection procedures for multi storey car parks are at last being prepared by ICE and IStructE working parties, it emerged this week.

The renewed effort to regulate the operation of car parks comes two months after the latest incident of a car crashing through edge barriers. A motorist walked away after his car plunged four storeys from the Dingwall Road multi storey car park in Croydon on 22 November.

The accident - the third of its type since 1996 - and the lack of obvious response by the industry, triggered a flurry of questions on car park safety in the House of Lords this week. However, preparation of standards follows repeated calls for action from the joint ICE/IStructE standing committee on structural safety since 1994.

The ICE working party will concentrate on developing inspection procedures for existing car parks, many of which are several decades old. At the same time, the IStructE will undertake a major revision of its 'Design recommendations for multi storey and underground car parks', the first since 1984.

SCOSS first called for urgent action on multi storey car park safety in 1994. Since then, one car park in Wolverhampton has partially collapsed (NCE 27 March/3 April 1997)) in addition to the incidents of cars smashing through edge barriers.

SCOSS renewed its call for an urgent revision of existing car park codes and standards after a car plunged from a Canterbury car park in 1998. This was similar to an accident at the same car park in 1996.

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