FAQ by Condominium Board Members
The biggest error made by many condominium boards (and even seasoned property managers) with respect to underground parking is the mistaken belief that parkade cleaning is merely a janitorial issue when in fact it is a serious building maintenance envelope concern.
Off the prairies, the vast majority of municipalities in North America either use salt on their roads or they experience little to no snow or ice conditions but for whichever reason, refrain from using the vast amounts of traction sand that is the norm in Northern Alberta.
As such, most building elevators, drains, carpets, sensors, light ballasts etc are not designed nor were ever intended to operate in an environment that can become as dusty and for as prolonged a period as what we experience here in an average Alberta parkade.
Alas, paradise does have its price.
Why should we have the parkade swept regularly, especially when it will just get dirty again right away?
There are many reasons. Chief amongst these are:
a.) dirt carried by snowmelt will over time reduce the drainage capacity of floor drains and eventually clog them resulting in costly cleaning by a vacuum truck and even possible repairs;
b.) the dirt found in parkades is considered “contaminated” by the Province of Alberta and prolonged exposure to the dust is known to be unhealthy;
c.) by their nature parkades are very dry environments and the moist dirt brought in by vehicles quickly looses it’s moisture allowing dust to be stirred up from the movement of vehicles (or even pedestrians) which will coat everything in the parkade and cause gas, fire and other sensors to malfunction over time or in extreme cases, prematurely set off an alarm or fail completely.
This dust is also very hard on the air makeup unit, garage door opener and elevator components requiring more service calls and in excessively dirty parkades, is tracked throughout the building increasing janitorial expenses and significantly reduces the lifespan of carpets;
d.) dirt and gravel will wear down water protecting membranes on multi tiered parkades requiring high repair or replacement costs. Many buildings that are multi levelled with a membrane are even cleaned monthly during the winter depending on vehicle traffic.
What do you mean by "contaminated"?
There was a time when anyone could drive down to the city maintenance yard and load their pickup truck with sweeping sand and use it to backfill low spots around their property.
Today road and parkade sweeping debris is known to harbour a number of pollutants (such as heavy metals) that can contaminate ground water, cause respiratory issues and there are now legally mandated disposal requirements.
How often should we have the parkade swept?
Depends on your location in the city (major road vs residential side street) and how frequently residents move their vehicles in and out. 2-4 times per year is generally sufficient for a residential building.
Why can’t I schedule a line striping and scrubbing together?
Simply because there is additional time required to wait for floors to sufficiently dry before we can paint on them.
Why do more parkade sweeps equal less cost per visit on your quote. Are we getting a volume deal?
No. When the parkade is properly maintained it requires less time to keep clean and there is less abuse on our equipment, less material to dispose of and thus less cost per sweep. Parkades that have not been swept in several years can actually cost more to clean one time then the combined cost of three or four cleanings over the same period.
What is “line striping” and why must it be done with a sweep?
Line striping is the painting of the parking stall lines, handicap symbols, directional arrows etc.. It is done with a sweep to ensure the surface is as clean as possible for best adhesion and overall aesthetics. This should be done every two years to maximise appearance.
You have a call back charge to come back and paint one line?
Because it takes about 30 minutes to prepare the line striping machine to paint and then more time to clean and purge the lines and nozzles when striping is completed not to mention travel time.
The call back charge is minimal and we suggest you bill it back to the owner of the stall who failed to move.
What is “scrubbing” and why must it be done with a sweep?
The objective of scrubbing is to remove all excess salt, dirt and oil stains and is generally done once a year or every second year depending on the severity of winter, mechanical soundness of the residents vehicles and how often the building is having the floors swept.
This procedure can involve power washers, soaps and mechanical scrubbing and squeegee equipment depending on the type of parkade being serviced. For parkades without membranes, we still advise a scrub in the spring but if there are budgetary constraints it is better to take the money dedicated for scrubbing and sweep more often instead.