Parking is an integral part of most major projects, and yet since they are not often revenue-generating space, they can become an afterthought for owners.

Though parking structures may seem simple, they still require contractors and owners to issue requests for information and go through architectural conceptualizing and design choices. When left to the last minute, owners and projects can get bogged down by the details and approvals, which can take up weeks of valuable time.

When it comes to parking, pursuing design-build work with a sizeable self-perform component can be time-consuming and costly for both a general contractor and its clients.

National commercial construction firm Swinerton accumulated a wealth of knowledge in this field, having built over 100,000 parking spaces worth $1.5 billion, including 145 stand-alone structures in its recent history.

“We wondered, what if we designed a stand-alone parking solution that could be used over again on a variety of Swinerton projects before we ever received an RFP? We could reduce risk, design time, and cost and provide a quality parking solution to our clients. That’s where the idea behind Perq was born,” said Randy Vandewater, Swinerton’s Perq Director.

From Perq’s user interface, stall counts and lot sizes are used to configure a base model.Swinerton

To achieve this goal, Swinerton teamed up with Walker Design Consultants, one of the largest parking consulting and engineering firms in the nation, to design a structure that would meet various needs in the market and offer clients an easy solution to achieve their parking needs.

In 2021, Walker Consultants and Swinerton launched Perq, a pre-designed, pre-engineered, customizable parking solution that’s sold to customers as a product.

Leveraging Walker’s extensive design experience and Swinerton’s self-perform knowledge, the companies co-developed a standard set of plans for two- and three-bay parking structures that range from 3 to 6 levels and provide parking from 300 to 1100 stalls. These plan sets have also been adapted for various seismic hazard zones in different parts of the country to ensure the design is competitive in local markets.

Choices made in the interface reveal the costs and features of the selected Perq model along with the plan set.Swinerton

“The key to bringing this concept to life was to look at the parking structure more like a product than a project,” Vandewater said. “By adapting the project site to our structure rather than the structure to the site we can eliminate the custom nature of most construction projects.”

Through the design-driven Perq app, owners only need to enter four variables—desired stall number, length and width of the project site, and the geographic location—and Perq will immediately suggest a design that meets their needs, fitting building codes across the country. By using Perq, owners can eliminate a lengthy internal process of approvals.

“The owners interface with the app. They have their site or know their parking need, and now they can cycle through which model makes the most sense for them and get that immediate information on cost,” said Casey Wagner, an executive vice president at Walker Consultants.

Perq has also provided some alternates such as EV charging stations, paint, and skin options to create a more custom solution.

Facade options are reviewed and attached to the base Perq model in the user interface app.Swinerton

Clients receive a high-quality, cast-in-place concrete design created alongside Swinerton’s expert field team to maximize efficiency and eliminate waste in the field. The designs are 90% complete. Walker needs just four weeks from when they receive the geotechnical report to validate the structure design and review local codes before submitting for permit. This process saves clients months of design time and cost.

And with a fully coordinated set of drawings with standard specifications for all Perq models, project teams are able to expedite procurement and utilize offsite prefabrication, ultimately shaving weeks off the construction duration.

“The most interesting and compelling concept to our clients has been the speed to market. The product itself delivers to market much faster than a traditional procurement,” said Brian McCarthy, a vice president at Swinerton who leads the firm’s healthcare, education, and parking practices in Southern California.

View of the coordinated, P24 structural modelSwinerton

Since launching this first-of-its-kind innovation to market, the Perq team has been on the road, setting up booths at national conferences and visiting with internal and external clients from Los Angeles, CA to Atlanta, GA. Perq has sold its first product, a P25 (2-bay, 5-story) structure that is anticipated to start construction this spring.