Imagine pulling your car into a grocery store parking lot only to find that there are crater-sized potholes, faded parking lot striping, flooded walkways from clogged drains, and trash blowing in the wind like a tumbleweed. You would probably put your car in reverse and find another grocery store! A property that does not prioritize with parking lot maintenance not only reflects poorly on the company, but can put customers – and companies – at risk. Let’s address some of the most common parking lot maintenance liabilities and how to avoid them.
Common Parking Lot Liabilities
As a commercial property owner, you are responsible for handling repairs and preventative maintenance. These responsibilities do not just fall within the office building – it starts in the parking lot. The most common parking lot liabilities include:
- Faded parking lot striping
- ADA incompliance
- Insufficient lighting
- Damaged pavement
- Surrounding landscaping
- Improper drainage
If parking lot maintenance gets neglected, your customer – and your company – will suffer. Learn how to leverage these parking lot maintenance liabilities to your advantage.
How You Can Use Parking Lot Maintenance to Mitigate Risk
Develop a regular maintenance schedule.
One of the most important ways you can take care of your property is by developing a parking lot maintenance schedule. A proper maintenance schedule should outline the lifecycle of your lot. It will help you keep track of parking lot painting, parking lot cleaning, and asphalt maintenance. The schedule should detail all of the routine work that needs to be done to keep your parking lot in good condition.
Why bother with a parking lot maintenance schedule? For the same reason, you take your vehicle in for maintenance. Keeping your property in safe and working condition is a way to mitigate risk, extend its lifespan, and address problems while they are still small – which leads to more savings in the long term.
Leveraging remote monitoring services for your facility maintenance schedule is a hands-off, eyes-on way to keep control of your property.
Make sure paint and parking lot striping are vibrant and visible.
Defining parking lot striping, directional guides, and handicapped areas of your lot is an important part of maintaining your property – and keeping your customers safe! Faded parking lot paint can cause confusion and unsafe behavior.
Check if your parking lot is ADA compliant.
Faded parking lot striping puts your customers at risk – and it can hold you or your business liable to legal damages if your handicapped parking spaces do not meet ADA requirements. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities – including transportation. The ADA Design Guide has requirements regarding parking lot striping and defining handicapped spaces.
A best practice is to review the US Access Board Technical Guide for Parking Spaces, which explains ADA Standards for parking. However, each state has their own statutes regarding ADA compliance – so it is often best to contact a trusted parking lot maintenance company in your area to help with meeting national and state compliance standards.
Fix potholes, cracks, and patched surfaces.
In 2011, a college student filed a $375,000 lawsuit against her school because she stepped in a 6-inch-by-1-inch pothole next to where she parked. The misstep led to over $14,000 in medical bills. So, who should be held liable?
In the US, trip-and-fall accidents are a major part of premises liability – an area of personal injury. Any potholes, cracks, or blemishes in your parking lot may leave you open to two different liabilities: property damage and personal injury. If a customer gets hurt on your property or whose car gets damaged as a result of improper parking lot maintenance, you may be held liable.
Insurance companies do not always favor the property owner in these cases either. As Pothole.info states: “Improperly maintained premises – including those awful potholes that sometimes spring up overnight – are considered the fault of the policyholder. If a pothole is allowed to persist, it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.”
Change to LED lights and keep them on at night.
Insufficient lighting in a parking lot can be a risk to your customers, and in turn, a risk to your business. This is yet another factor that may contribute to a personal injury or property damage lawsuit. If your business is open past sunset, you need to keep parking lot lights on.
One way to reduce the expense of keeping your parking lot lights on is by switching to LED lighting. LED lighting is energy-efficient, has a longer lifespan than other light bulbs, and will help keep your parking lot safe. Central Florida Store Services can handle LED retrofitting for your commercial property!
Maintain the surrounding landscape.
Keeping up with your landscaping does not just attract customers and boost curb appeal – it keeps your parking lot safe and prevents damages.
Many commercial properties have island planters that have small trees, grass, shrubs, or flowers between sections of parking spaces. If curbing is not set up around these planters, mulch and dirt can wash onto the asphalt and will eventually start to wear away at the surrounding pavement. This not only affects the pavement and cleanliness of your parking lot, but it drains your landscaping water bill!
It’s best to steer clear of having large trees near your parking lot. Not only can root systems that grow outward damage parking lot pavement, but if the tree falls, you may be held liable for damages. Trees growing near power lines or fences need to be constantly monitored for trimming and felling needs. Do research before selecting the surrounding landscaping – or contact a commercial landscaping company to help choose, plant, and maintain your parking lot landscaping!
Ensure proper drainage.
When it comes to your parking lot, your drainage systems are one of your most important risk management features. Poor drainage can result in pooled water. This is not only a risk for drivers, but it can also cause cracks in the pavement over time.
Parking lot drainage includes:
- Storm drains
- Catch basins
Pressure wash your pavement.
Include pressure washing the asphalt to your parking lot maintenance schedule. Seasonal pressure washing will help keep your parking lot looking clean and new. This is a great move before getting a fresh coat of parking lot paint or before restriping your parking lot!
Parking Lot Maintenance Made Easy
When it comes to property liability, you do not want to be caught by surprise. Working with a commercial maintenance company will help mitigate risk while keeping your property in top shape. Central Florida Store Services provides facility maintenance services such as commercial landscaping, pressure washing, and parking lot maintenance to business owners in the Central Florida area. Contact us today to learn about our other services and how we can help you save time and money while reducing risk!
For nearly 20 years, Central Florida Store Services has been providing facility maintenance, HVAC, refrigeration and general contracting services for the Florida market. We take care of the legwork, so you do not have to.