Estimating Space for Parking

The space in gross square feet or meters required to accommodate parking lots and structures on a healthcare campus can be substantial. When it comes to staff parking, the space is greater than that required for his or her office. The guidelines shown below can be used for preliminary space estimates. Carl Walker — a parking specialty firm — cites an  average size of 334 gross square feet (GSF) or 31.0 gross square meters (GSM) per parking space and a median construction cost of $20,450 USD per space based on their database of hundreds of completed parking structures (Cudney 2018).

Surface lots generally require 270 to 300 GSF (25.1 to 27.9 GSM) per space.

Parking structures require varying space depending on the type of facility; some useful guidelines for estimating the GSF (GSM) per parking space are:

  • 300 to 340 GSF (27.9 to 31.6 GSM) per space in a long-span structure
  • 330 to 390 GSF (30.7 to 36.2 GSM) per space in a short-span structure
  • 400 GSF (37.2 GSM) per space in a mixed-use structure

Key factors that affect the cost per parking space include (Wendler 2014):

  • Total parking spaces — smaller projects cost more per space than larger projects.
  • Efficiency — depending on whether the structure is short-span or long-span which impacts the overall GSF/GSM per parking space.
  • Number of parking levels — generally, a larger footprint with less levels costs less than a taller structure with a smaller footprint.
  • Parking below grade is much more expensive than above grade — up to 50% higher depending on the number of levels below grade.
  • Geography affects the cost of labor, availability of materials, and seismic conditions.
  • Structural system — represents 60-70 percent of the cost of the parking facility; long-span structures cost more per GSF/GSM but you get more parking spaces in the same square feet/meters.
  • Foundation — poor soils, requiring deeper foundations, cost more.
  • Architectural façade treatment can cause the cost per parking space to vary by 15 percent.

Regional market conditions, specific site conditions, and additional items — such as photovoltaic systems and mixed-use projects — also impact the cost of a parking structure.

Cudney, G. 2018. “Parking Structure Cost Outlook for 2018.” Carl Walker. []

Wendler, M. 2014. “Top 10 Issues Affecting Cost of Building a Parking Structure.” Published June 2014 in Parking Today. []

See related posts: How Many Hospital Parking Spaces? and Rethinking Parking Lots and Structures.

This article is an update of a previous post.