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fter decades of minimal ac-

tivity, steel-framed parking
structures are gaining popu-
larity with designers and de-
velopers, according to Dale
Denda, an industry analyst with the Parking
Market Research Company. Exposed steel-
frame construction is back as a recognized
option for multi-story parking structures, he
Steel has long been recognized for its ob-
vious advantages: lower construction costs (in
addition to reduced structure weight which
reduces foundation costs), rapid construction
time, and longer clear-spans. Some designers
have also touted steels security benefits
fewer and smaller columns mean fewer places
for predators to hide.
In the past however, some designers have
shied away from steel because of structural
fire protection requirements and perceived
failings of standard coatings. Fortunately, the
steel industry has addressed both of these
In 1972, the steel industry sponsored the
full-scale Scranton Fire Test, the results of
which put the fire safety issue to rest. The test
showed that a car fire in an open parking
garage does not spread to fully involve adja-
cent vehicles, and temperatures of unpro-
tected steel during this exposure are well
below those at which the strength of struc-
tural steel begins to diminish. Today, under
the International Building Code, open, de-
tached parking garages up to 75-high can be
framed with unprotected steel in most juris-
dictions. In fact, a study of more than 400
STRUCTURE N July/August 2001 37
John Cross, P.E.
AT&T-Lucent, Warren, NJ
38 STRUCTURE N July/August 2001
parking garage fires during the past decade by
the Parking Market Research Corporation
reveals less than a total of $50,000 in struc-
tural damage.
The coatings industry has also played
their part in increasing the viability of steel
for parking structures. Today, coating tech-
nology exists that can effectively protect steel
framing systems with limited touch up for
significant periods. Hot dip galvanizing,
which utilizes the cathodic process of intro-
ducing zinc to the corrosion circuit as the
sacrificial anode, has a projected protection
life (less than 5% surface corrosion) in excess
of 40 years.
Likewise, new high-performance paint
systems are now available at an economic
price. Todays high performance paint sys-
tems, which utilize zinc rich primers and one
or two topcoats of epoxy, have an expected
life-span (with minimal touch-up) that ex-
ceeds 25 years.
Steel has made the fastest inroads into the
airport, health-care and university markets.
These three markets share the need for fast
erection on tight sites, and also often are in-
volved with the expansion of existing struc-
Portland International Airport,
Portland, OR
A notable recent project is the expansion
of a parking garage at Portland International
Airport. The project involved adding 3,300
spaces to an existing three story, pre-cast con-
crete framed parking structure. Steel was cho-
sen as the framing material for the garage
expansion to minimize structure weight and
allow the existing garage to remain open dur-
ing the construction process. The design of
the expanded structure called for a four-story
addition to the top of the existing garage and
a 95 widening of the existing structure with
a seven-story steel framed addition.
The expansion of the garage required
7,500 tons of structural steel. Typical interior
floor framing for the expansion consisted of
3 composite G90 galvanized metal decking
with a 3-1/2 concrete topping. Reinforcing
steel was added to the low flutes of the deck
as a backup system in event of deck corrosion.
W16x26 floor beams span 30 to W30x116
girders with columns in a 30 x 60 bay sys-
tem. Two levels of the expansion were sup-
ported directly on top of existing pre-cast
concrete columns. New pin piles were in-
stalled inside the garage and supported ap-
proximately half the weight of the existing
structure and the upper two levels of the ex-
The west expansion of the garage was col-
umn free to allow buses and commercial ve-
hicles unimpeded access. To create this
column free space, W33x118 beams at 10 on
center span 95 between column lines. To ac-
complish this span large cambers were re-
quired that varied from beam to beam to
provide slope for storm water runoff.
Structural engineer for this award-win-
ning project was KPFF Consulting Engi-
neers. Project architect was Zimmer Gunsul
Frasca. Baugh Construction served as general
contractor with Fought & Company and
Canron Steel as steel fabricators.
Jefferson at Lenox Park,
Atlanta, GA
A different approach to steelframed,
conventionally reinforced cast-in-place deck
system was utilized for an apartment complex
parking deck at Jefferson at Lenox Park in
Atlanta, GA. A clear span, 62 parking bay
was constructed using a castellated steel beam
in a composite system with the slab and the
deck. The system included the use of a 30
castellated beam fabricated from W21x44
and W21x50 wide flange beams. The typical
beam weighed only 47 lbs. per lineal foot, re-
ducing the overall weight of the parking
structure. The smaller top cord section had
welded stud shear connectors applied in the
field and is composite with the corrugated
metal deck and concrete. The deck consists of
a 3 deep, 20-gage composite galvanized deck
with 3 of normal weight, reinforced concrete
over the high corrugation.
Principal exterior girders are regular
W24x62 wide flange beams on 30 spans. The
largest column section is a W8x67. The low
Portland International Airport, Portland, OR
Jefferson at Lenox Park, Atlanta, GA
weight of the steel in the structure allowed
significant savings in the foundation costs for
the project resulting in a total per space cost
of $4,500 and a differential cost savings of
$600,000 compared to a concrete alternative.
A vibration study of the finished project was
conducted by Dr. Thomas M. Murray, P.E.,
who concluded that the performance of the
beam-deck system was excellent with barely
perceivable vibrations.
The project was developed by JPI, Inc.
with JPI Construction serving as the general
contractor. Structural design was completed
by Alliance Structural Engineers. SMI Steel
Products supplied the castellated beams.
Winthrop University Hospital,
Mineola, NY
The parking requirements of the
Winthrop University Hospital were ad-
dressed through the recent construction of a
630 space, three-story steel framed parking
structure with a 6 nominal composite, post
tensioned deck. Ten feet floor-to-floor height
is typical with a minimum clearance of 72.
Architectural pre-cast panels are used as a
faade treatment for the structure. The post-
tensioned deck was chosen based on the hos-
pitals desire to avoid joints and maintain a
large expanse of crack free space typical with
this style deck. This minimizes the probabil-
ity of leakage and/or chloride contamination
of the slab, which in turn reduces mainte-
nance and future repair expense. Also, by uti-
lizing post-tensioning, the amount of steel
required to reinforce the slab was reduced. A
40% solids penetrating silane sealer was ap-
plied to the deck surface to act as additional
protection against moisture and chloride ab-
The structure utilized 750 tons of steel.
Typical members were 30 deep spanning 60
across drive lanes and parking bays. By utiliz-
ing the composite action of the steel frame
running in a single plane across the drive
aisles and parking bays and the concrete deck,
the weight of the steel frame was reduced to
about 9 lbs. per square foot. The concrete
faade panels were erected at the same time as
the structural components to add stability to
the structure during erection.
The steel was protected by shop blasting
to bare metal (SSPC-SP6) and shop applying
3 mils of an epoxy/zinc based primer. A 4 to
6 mil epoxy topcoat applied in the field com-
pleted the protective coating system.
The project was constructed as a de-
sign/build project by Carl Walker Construc-
tion and Carl Walker, Inc. Sydney Brown and
Son served as the architect and Axis Con-
struction was the construction manager. The
design/build contracting approach was cho-
sen in order to facilitate faster project deliv-
ery and resulted in significant time savings
through the simultaneous structural design,
foundation work, steel fabrication and mill
AT&T-Lucent, Warren, NJ
The benefits of combining a steel-framing
system and pre-cast double tee decks are very
apparent in four parking structures con-
structed at AT&Ts office complex in War-
ren, NJ. The four garages contain a total of
3,600 spaces on three levels.
The garages were designed by Zaldastani
Associates and fabricated by Interstate Steel
utilizing the Hybrid System approach. The
Hybrid System consists of paired steel
columns and girders designed to support the
pre-cast floor deck and provide lateral stabil-
ity during and after construction. Paired
plates at 5 -on-center interconnect the paired
columns vertically. The columns were erected
to full height, interconnected at each floor
with steel girders at each of the two column
lines. This arrangement provides vertical sta-
bility in the transverse direction by the ladder
frame cantilevering from the ground and in
the longitudinal direction by conventional
frame action.
Special attention was given to connection
details in order to create a moment resisting
frame that enabled the steel supported struc-
ture to readily resist lateral forces without the
introduction of unsightly shear walls or brac-
The floor consists of pre-cast double tees
that were attached to the top flange of the
frames steel girders. The flanges of the dou-
ble tees were welded together in the manner
normally provided for pre-topped tees and a
connection was made between the tees in a
shaped cast-in-place infill that incorporates
floor and roof drains into the deck system.
The Hybrid System has been optimized
to reduce the number of pieces in construc-
tion and to simplify erection. The advantage
of the approach was evident in the design and
construction of the project in a ten-month
period, matching the demand for parking
spaces from the adjacent office buildings. The
total cost savings of the Hybrid System over
the concrete alternative exceeded one million
John Cross, P.E., is National Project Director
with AISC Marketing, LLC in Chicago.
STRUCTURE N July/August 2001 39
Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY