Paving the Way

Parking lot maintenance is taking top billing in retail, as a growing number of facilities managers realize that extending the life cycle of an existing parking lot paves the way toward reduced expense in the long run.

Chain Store Age talked with Rose Paving’s C.B. Kuzlik about retail’s renewed focus on maintenance in today’s cost-conscious climate.

What role does weather play in parking lot management?

Weather conditions have a direct impact on parking lot maintenance. The winter of 2010-2011 saw heavy snowfall across the nation. Excess salting, freeze-thaw cycles and even snowplow blades expedited the weakening of asphalt, increasing the need to perform structural repairs.

On the other hand, last winter was unseasonably mild, and this past summer witnessed record-high temperatures and drought conditions in large sections of the nation. Under these conditions, oxidation of pavement occurs and pavement binder (a.k.a. liquid AC) can even lose its “superglue”-like properties from prolonged exposure to extreme heat. Oftentimes with hot and dry conditions, however, the damage is confined to the surface and can be corrected, if addressed in a timely manner, using less expensive, preventive maintenance or surface treatments.

Regardless of weather conditions, however, the key to spending wisely, even on a tight budget, is timing. If retailers budget for less expensive preventive maintenance on a regular schedule, they will avoid costly structural repairs until the very end of the pavement’s life cycle. Plus, a well-maintained parking lot boasts an aesthetically pleasing appearance as opposed to a neglected pavement, which reflects poorly on store image. Furthermore, if maintenance is completely cut out until a large pothole forms in a drive lane, for example, the cost to make a reactive repair can be twice the cost of a proactive approach on the same area.

What about environmental concerns?

Green building is a trend that we believe is here to stay, and we think that the asphalt industry has a lot of value to bring to the movement. At the onset, Rose Paving was ready with a line of eco-friendly paving alternatives. And in response to the steady demand for “green” solutions from our clients, we created our very own special projects division whose sole job it is to uncover and test new technologies and paving practices for projects requiring sustainable design solutions.

Do you find that more attention is being paid to parking lots?

Yes. With the decline of new construction, companies are strongly encouraging and, in some cases, mandating that money should be spent on the maintenance of existing pavement in order to extend its functionality and overall life cycle. However, many retailers struggle to manage the maintenance for multiple parking lots in a portfolio because they cannot be on site at all of their properties to truly assess the damage and make well-informed decisions concerning dollars spent on effective maintenance procedures.

How do services vary by region?

Application techniques and materials differ primarily because asphalt thickness varies in each region. For example, asphalt is only 2 to 3 ins. in depth in the state of Georgia, while in Colorado the depth can be 5 or 6 ins. As a result, more or less material is used and applied at varying depths based on the requirements of the region. Asphalt depth correlates not only to geographic region, but also to weather conditions. For example, in hot and dry Arizona, asphalt depth is 2 to 3 ins., whereas its neighboring states require closer to 6 ins.

What part does Rose Paving play in all this?

Rose Paving assists retailers in setting up and implementing a pavement inventory system for all properties in a portfolio. An inventory system greatly improves budgeting for and making decisions concerning parking lot maintenance. Our scoping team can go on site to a predetermined number of properties, evaluate the pavement, and provide data in one easy-to-access inventory that can be shared across the enterprise. Now, more than ever, retailers need to start tracking the history of their sites and budget in advance for future maintenance requirements.