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Q&A - What you Need to Know About Car Park Design

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

The car park is a crucial part of any development's design. Often, planning approval will come down to whether the car park is up to standard. That said, car park design is something you shouldn't have to spend too much time on to get right. As traffic engineers, we are often called on to make recommendations for a development's car park.

So what are the reasons behind our car park recommendations?

To help get your car park design on point, we've answered the questions we often get from architects and building designers about car parks.

Do I use the Australian standard or planning scheme dimensions for car park spaces?

Victoria's planning scheme sets slightly different standards to the Australian standard (AS2890.1:2004). In particular, the planning scheme requires 4.9m minimum space lengths, whilst the Australian standard requires 5.4m minimum lengths.

Victoria's planning scheme is generally the preferred standard in Victoria. The dimensions in the planning scheme typically result in improved maneuverability by allocating more space to the access aisle.

But the Australian standard has its merits too. The dimensions of the Australian standard car park can provide a better outcome in some situations, particularly on a site that has particular constraints, such as limited accessibility.

What about a parking space next to a wall, does it need to be wider?

Yes, any parking spaces adjacent to consistent obstruction (walls, fence, etc.) typically need to be widened by an additional 300mm. This helps vehicles move in and out of the space and allows occupants to open their doors comfortably.

Does the space widening apply to columns?

You can place columns in envelopes where they can be located directly adjacent to a space without impacting on door opening. The second consideration is the accessibility of the space for the vehicle, with columns needing to be set back from the access aisle end of the space to avoid impacting vehicle swept paths.

How do I provide accessible parking spaces?

Accessible parking spaces need to accord with standard AS2890.1:2006, which outlines the provision of off-street car parking for people with disabilities. Disabled parking includes both the physical parking space and an adjacent 'shared area' to allow for wheelchairs and other aids to move to and from vehicles.

Given the requirement for a shared area next to a disabled space, it is most efficient to provide even numbers of disabled spaces, with two spaces sharing a central shared area.

Can I use tandem parking?

Tandem parking involves two spaces in series, with the front space moving through the rear space for access. Tandem parking can be very efficient in terms of space, but you need to ensure that it is appropriate for your development and its expected end-users.

Typically, we recommend tandem parking only for resident and staff parking, where the users of the space know each other and can coordinate access to the spaces.

What about car stackers? Are they viable or just something you see overseas?

Car stackers are an increasingly prominent feature of many urban developments, with their space efficiency allowing for more parking spots in confined spaces.

It would be best if you planned for car stackers from the commencement of your development, as it's not a straightforward process to convert a conventional car park layout to a car stacker layout.

Critical features of car stackers that you'll need to account for when considering one for your development are:

  • headroom clearance (car stacker units require a higher headroom clearance than conventional parking).

  • Length (stacker units are longer than conventional spaces).

  • Width (car stackers will need to be wider than a conventional parking space).

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