As the apartment revolution continues in Melbourne, car stackers and automated parking technology is set to play an ever-growing role in the life of the everyday Melbournian.
As developers build bigger and bigger projects, space is at an absolute premium and automated and semi-automated car parking technology can help maximise the efficiencies of those spaces.
Overseas, the technology has been in use for some time but in Australia, automated and semi-automated car parking systems remain a new phenomenon for the average person.
Like most new technologies, there have been teething issues and some developers have learned the hard way that some car parking solution providers are more reputable and reliable than others.
But what is painstakingly obvious is that these systems are here to stay and we can expect to see a lot more of them in the year to come.
In 2017, Strata Plan sat down with Klaus Multi Parking systems, to get a better understanding of the state of play in new and upcoming Melbourne developments and the role that automated car parking systems will play in them.
Klaus’ Technical Consultant Daniel Balacich said that as subdivisions become smaller and more complex, the need to fit more cars in less space was becoming an increasingly bigger priority.
“They’re becoming a necessity, because developments are getting smaller and titles are getting subdivided more and more and that level of efficiency is required now in all of these developments,” Mr. Balacich told Strata Plan.
“The ideal car spot is a regular space, but the next best thing for the efficiency needed is an automated or semi-automated parking system.
“At Klaus, we try to provide reliability of service and range of different products that suit a wide range of projects with different scales and different uses.”
AUTOMATED PARKING SYSTEMS v SEMI-AUTOMATED PARKING SYSTEMS
There are a wide range of parking systems on the market, but generally they fall into one of two categories.
Automatic or semi-automatic.
An Automatic parking system does exactly what it says on the box.
Drive your car in, get out and let the system do the rest.
The video below gives you one particularly cool example of this in China.
Semi-automatic systems are a little less cool, but can be just as efficient.
They are also the most commonly found systems in Melbourne.
“What we see most of is systems of 10-30 spaces in a semi-automated system, that’s the way the market is shifting,” Mr. Balacich said.
“We see a lot of three to four level multi-storey dwellings popping up everywhere.
“In the next five years we expect that to be the majority of our parking implementations.”
A semi-automatic system requires some sort of operation from the end user when parking their car.
These systems often park between two and three cars, stacked one on top of another, or can shift cars between positions as called by the user.
Other systems are strictly a lift, in which you drive your car, select your floor and then drive into your spot.
KNOW YOUR CAR PARKING SYSTEM
As car stackers become an increasingly normal part of everyday life for Melburnians, it I crucial that prospective tenants or owners do their homework before committing to a property with an automatic or semi-automatic car parking system.
Most car stackers have restrictions in terms of size, weight and height.
Every stacker is different, so it is always so important that if you are inspecting a property or buying off the plan, you ask about the building’s car parking system.
“A lot of people might not know that there are some limitations on parking systems,” Mr. Balacich said.
“It’s very important for tenants moving in to look into these first before purchasing or moving into the property.
“Based on the location of where their vehicle is allocated in the system, there might be a limitation on the height of the vehicle. That’s probably the most common one.”
Owners of bigger cars like SUVs or Four-Wheel Drives need to be particularly careful of committing to a property with a car stacker without doing their own due diligence on whether or not their vehicle will fit into their system and their allocated spot.
IMPORTANCE OF SYSTEM INDUCTIONS
It is a requirement of almost every semi-automatic car parking system that users are inducted – or trained – in the system’s operation before they use it.
“A lot of the issues around car parking systems on a day-to-day basis are user faults,” Mr. Balacich said.
“We like to do [inductions] one-on-one, just to provide that bit of training as a bit of fault management.
“We’re just ensuring a bit of a safety net to ensure that people know how to use the system safely and use it reliably.”
Inductions are the responsibility of the end user – so the tenant or the property owner – to arrange.
As your Owners Corporation Manager, Strata Plan can help put you in touch with your building’s system supplier or service company, but it is up to you to arrange – and pay for, if there is a cost for – your induction.