Kitsilano Condos: Parking Garages

What you Need to Know about Parking Garages

When you go through as many inspections as most Realtors have, you’ll know that when it comes to inspecting the Parking Garage, there is generally either an issue, a fixed issue or a bandaid solution to a few small leaks. Even home inspectors will say that leaks in Condo Parkades are common – it mores depends on how bad they are and if they’re being fixed. A pro-active strata will stay on top of this, and other building maintenance.

The parking garage membrane is like any other roof – it has a life expectancy and will need to be fixed at some point. Parking Garages are typically built underground (below grade) with the parking garage roof below the building and the landscaping. This exposes the parking garage roof to moisture in the ground (especially in rainy Vancouver).

Walking through a parking garage membrane you may be able to notice signs of issues, including: a white chalky substance on the roof and walls, dripping water, moisture in the air. You may notice a white substance injected into certain points in the roof to seal a crack, or a drip pans installed to re-direct water from dripping on cars – these are bandaid solutions as parking garage membranes are expensive to fix and may experience a few small leaks before an entire re-seal of the membrane is required. Unless the building was built poorly, you don’t need to expect something like this until the building reaches 30 or so years, and where the parking garage is, and how it was constructed are major factors in the the repair.

What Happens if Parking Garages Leak?

After a few too many leaks, an Engineer’s Report will be commissioned that will analyze the issue and offer recommendations for improvement. Depending on how the building was constructed, a full repair could consist of:

  1. Removing the landscaping around the exterior walls of the building (if necessary)
  2. Digging down to the roof of the parking garage
  3. Replacing the seal
  4. Re-landscaping the perimeter

This is an expensive procedure, but one that lasts for many years (and comes with a warranty). As an owner of the building, expect to be issued a special levy or assessment in order to pay for the repair. Keep in mind that the above is an example of a big project, and not every step will be necessary. Most parking garages only need minor repairs.

Future costs are something to keep in mind when buying a condo: whether you’re stretching your budget (and wouldn’t have extra money to pay for special assessments), or want to avoid having to live through major building repairs.

Considerations

When looking for property, we’ll always take a look at the parking garage – not only to see where your parking spot it situated in the complex – but also to see how the parking garage is performing. If we end up with an Accepted Offer on a condo, the home inspector will go through the parking garage as part of his investigation.

This has been another post in our series about Buying a Condo in Kitsilano. Though we’ll be with you through the buying process to offer professional advice and guidance on things like value, maintenance, and more, I hope this series sheds some light on the process. As always, let the LiveKitsilano Team know if you have any questions.