How do you grade a parking lot?
No, we don’t mean giving it an A+ or an F. We mean grading as in to make the level of the parking lot change from one level to another over a distance. Most of the time, you won’t actually notice the grade of a parking lot. Who has time for stuff like that? You’re probably focused on what you have to do: park the car, get the kids out of the car, get a cart for the grocery store…
But there’s a lot that goes into grading an asphalt parking lot.
When we look at a parking lot installation and getting down to the nitty gritty, you have to make a few considerations for grade. We’ve talked about the asphalt mixes aspect of asphalt paving and how we design that, but what about the physical lot itself?
How do you grade a parking lot? And why do we grade a parking lot the way that we do?
Parking Lot Drainage
Drainage is the primary reason we grade parking lots the way we do. You have to take into account how the lot will drain during a rain event. Where are the catch basins? Where are the curbs and gutters?
You can get asphalt mixes that are more resistant to storm water, but eventually you need that water to runoff somewhere. You want your parking lot to slope slightly down to these areas of drainage so storm water can run off the surface and get carried off into the sewer system. To get that smooth grade, you have to first take all this into account.
The second reason we grade the way we do is for ADA compliance. ADA compliant parking spaces have particular requirements for things like slope and grade. Your parking lot contractor needs to take that into account.
Where are your ADA spaces required to be?
How many of them are there?
How many lanes will you have set up?
How many van accessible spaces do you need?
Where is the access to the sidewalk?
What’s the path to the entry?
These questions all effect how we are going to grade the spaces. And if you want that grade to stick around even in the winter, you should have all your ADA spaces done in insulated concrete. Asphalt and concrete can both heave in the wintertime. So doing a space with insulated concrete ensures you keep ADA compliant all year long.
What do you use to grade a parking lot?
Goodmanson Construction uses laser guided technology from places like RDO equipment on our skid steers in order to dial in a site plan and get the perfect grade.
3D Computer models that we build in house are programmed into our equipment. The equipment then uses lasers to shoot the area immediately in front of the equipment so that the computer can “see” effectively what it’s supposed to be grading. The 3D model then tells the equipment where to set the scoop so that the programmed grade is accomplished.
Before laser technology, you’d typically have to get a surveyor to “survey” the site with specialized equipment use a series of stakes and strings set manually each day you wanted to do a new section. And of course, you always had the problem of operator error.
With laser guided technology and computer modeling, we’re able to “shoot” the site digitally, and accomplish this in a fraction of the time with pinpoint results.
Choose Goodmanson Construction for your next Asphalt Parking Lot
If you’re thinking about a new parking lot for your business and you live in Minneapolis and St Paul, you need to call Goodmanson Construction! We have the tools and the technology to do everything in-house: from modeling to site development to catch basins and curb and gutter. And we’ll finish off the whole thing by making sure you’re fully ADA compliant.