Institution of Structural Engineers calls for changes to UK car parks to deal with weight of modern cars

New guidance from The Institution of Structural Engineers has said that car parks in the UK need to evolve to cope with bigger and heavier cars.

Many car parks across the country were designed when cars were smaller and fitted with less technology – and there are now growing concerns that multi-storey car parks that were built in the 1960s to the 1980s could be a safety hazard for drivers.

The Institute said that the design of multi-storey car parks should be “carefully considered” amid concerns over the growing popularity of larger style SUV vehicles, EVs, and cars with more tech and safety equipment than in previous decades, reports the RAC.

Experts at The Institute contributed to the guidance, which highlighted that modern vehicles are considerably heavier and that an alarming number of car parks are now potentially a hazard.

Institution Fellow, Chris Whapples, one of the leading experts, told the Telegraph that many of the 6,000 multi-storey car parks could be struggling under the growing weight of modern vehicles.

He said: “Potentially if we just ignore this issue then we could have a partial collapse.

“I’m not trying to create any scaremongering – not all car parks will have to close, only the very old ones, built in the 1960s and 70s, which are in a very poor state of repair and have weakened over time which will probably need to have some work done to them.

Mr Whapples lead the team of 10 to review the issue, and then report back on their findings. The experts proposed that car park owners should have their infrastructure reviewed by engineering firms to see if it needs to be strengthened.

However, this may not be the option that many of those owners would choose.

He continued: “I think a lot of old owners will opt for imposing a weight limit rather than paying for strengthening measures.”


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