Texas parking garages have no inspection requirements, lack of r

Texas parking garages have no inspection requirements, lack of regulation

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

About 60 vehicles were removed over the weekend from an Irving parking garage that collapsed, causing extensive damage. These damages could have been prevented. In the state of Texas there are no laws or regulations that require a routine structural inspection on private or public parking garages.

"There is no regulations then it is in the incentive of the owner of this place, and it is voluntary," said Mukaddes Darwish, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Construction Engineering. "If the owner doesn't get a private company to do the inspections than we don't know what is going on there." 

It's up to the parking garage owner to hire a structural engineer, conduct an inspection, and identify maintenance issues. It usually costs about $3,000. Owners are only required to conduct and inspection during the construction and after the construction is complete, but there is no requirement after.

When it comes to design, Darwish said engineers consider a series of metrics from the maximum load it can withstand to its overall safety, but there are several factors that can cause them to collapse and that can be anything from its design, to the materials used or the weather. 

"It could be like dirt collected and then with the rain it increases the load," said Darwish. "Second is, most of the parking garages are precast concrete structures and they are lighter than other structures."

Along with its parking garages, Lubbock has five pedestrian bridges, four of them are on Marsha Sharp freeway and one on the interstate. While parking garages are up to the owners, bridges and overpasses are in the purview of the state. TxDot indicated the walking bridges are inspected every four years, overpasses every two.

Texas isn't in the only state that doesn't require structural inspections of parking garages after the construction is complete. New York is one of the only states in the country that has structural inspections. These regulations were implemented in 2017. 

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