A Parking Lot Checklist

The 10 most-important boxes property managers should check before signing off on a job

Just before a job is finished, most contractors work through a “punch list” of things they check before leaving the site – just to make sure the job is complete, the work is finished to their satisfaction and the area is cleaned up.

Just like contractors have a list to review before they send the bill, property managers should have their own list to work through to make sure the job is completed to their satisfaction and that they get what they’re paying for – before they pay for it!

Here’s a checklist to get you started. Following these tips and checking off these boxes will confirm a job well done or will enable you to identify – and have your contractor fix – any of your concerns before the contractor moves on to his next job.

1. Know the job.

This is the first step every property manager should take before reviewing a project. Often the time between signing a contract and the final day of the job are weeks or even months apart – so it’s in your best interest to make sure you know what it is you actually hired the contractor to do. Sealcoating and striping are easy to remember because they’re easy to see. But were there any crack repairs? What about pavement patching? A quick scan of the contract will tell you all you need to know and put you on the right track to approving the job.

2. Were there any change orders?

Alterations of the job once the initial contract has been signed and work has begun are common. Make sure you review any work added so you can check it in the field and look for it on the invoice.

3. Walk the site before you meet with the contractor.

This is something few property managers do but it gives you an opportunity to review the job at your leisure. So take the time to walk the site – and don’t just wander it.  Start in one location and systematically walk where the work was done. Bring you cell phone and make notes in the phone about what you see and any questions you might have.  If you discover areas of concern use your phone to take a photo – then you can even email the photo with your question to the contractor.

4. Walk the site with the contractor.

If your contractor offers this, take him up on it. If he doesn’t, suggest it yourself. There’s no better way to get a good feel for the success of the job than by having the contractor show you what he did. This also enables you to point out concerns and ask questions – and it gives the contractor an opportunity to address those concerns immediately, letting you know how he will satisfy you. This also gives you some insight into your contractor and reaffirms the relationship you have with him.

5. Liability Issues.

You just did a nice job upgrading the appearance of your property and extending the life of your pavement. Don’t make the mistake of leaving your property (and the contractor) open to a lawsuit because you overlooked a potential liability issue. While this is rare, especially following procedures to improve the pavement, make sure to keep liability concerns foremost in your mind as you walk your property. Trip-and-fall hazards should be a primary focus, but pay attention to anything that pops up on your liability radar.

6. Sealcoating.

When sealcoating is finished your parking lot will look great! Minor hairline cracks will have been filled, the surface will have a smooth, even texture, and it will be a consistent blackish color. Check to see that all this is true. Also, take note of areas where asphalt butts against brick or concrete (walls, island curbing, parking stops, sidewalks). There should be no sealer on the concrete or brick.

7. Striping.

This is the finishing touch for parking lots – and it should look that way. Lines should be straight and edges of markings should be crisp and clean, and ends of stripes should line up with one another. Handicap symbols should be a bright blue, squared up nicely with the white universal wheelchair icon, and the squares should be centered between the parking stripes and should line up with one another across adjacent stalls. Cross-hatching in “no parking” areas should be striped in the same direction, parallel to one another and spacing between crosshatches should be equal. And when you step back and take a look at your entire lot, stripes should line up all the way across the lot. And if they don’t (occasionally architectural design requires shifting of rows of stalls) they should certainly line up within each double row of stalls.

8. Crack Repair.

Crack repair material is placed into the crack and then a squeegee forces it in and creates a “band” on the pavement surface. This band should extend no more than 2 inches on either side of the crack and the entire repair should be flush with the surface.

9. Pavement Repairs.

These are structural improvements – patches – that required removal and replacement of the asphalt subbase, base and asphalt surface. What you should find is a nice, clean, flat asphalt surface with straight (not curved), edges surrounding the patch. Edges of existing pavement should not be cracked or chipped.

10. Drainage.

If drainage improvements were part of the job take a look at those areas. If a change in slope is not evident to the eye, a bucket of water should make the improvement clear.

11. ADA Compliance.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) outlines federal requirements to assure that people with disabilities can access public buildings. These requirements – which range from specifications for accessible parking stalls, to the Access Aisles immediately adjacent to accessible stalls, to the Access Routes that lead from the accessible stall to the doorway, and more – are the minimum requirements your parking lot must meet. However, many states and communities have established their own more-stringent standards. Your contractor should be up-to-date on what your parking lot requires.

All these are fairly simple and straightforward reviews you can – and should – make before signing of on the finished job and paying the bill. You manage the property, you let the contract and you hired the contractor. There’s nothing wrong with making sure you got what you needed.

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