Concrete Trip Hazard Removal
Imagine this scenario: A guest has just parked their vehicle in your hotel’s parking lot. They’re making their way into your building for a big meeting and their arms are loaded with presentation materials and files. Before they can make it to the entrance, they trip over a raised concrete slab or pothole and spill their work and papers all over your parking lot.
It could be worse. Imagine a handicapped guest parks in your lot and can’t safely get their wheelchair onto the ramp due to damaged and raised pavement. Not only will both these guests be angry, but there could also be legal implications to your commercial parking lot.
If you own or manage a commercial parking lot, it’s up to you to keep your lot safe and accessible for any type of visitor which includes removing any trip hazards. Let’s learn how to find and eliminate concrete trip hazards including steps to be sure your lot is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.
What is a Concrete Trip Hazard?
A concrete trip hazard is any portion of your parking lot that could trip a guest on foot or trip up someone with accessibility issues. Trip hazards are most often seen where two portions of concrete meet, but they could be found anywhere in your lot.
You should regularly do a drive-through inspection of your entire lot to look for any potential hazards. Ideally you should be able to get to any part of your lot from any other part without issue. If you find issues, there are a few different solutions available.
Why Trip Hazards are a Problem
It’s not only an inconvenience if portions of your lot are inaccessible or dangerous – it’s illegal. All public parking lots must meet certain ADA compliance standards to allow all visitors easy access to your building. If you’re found to be non-compliant you could be cited or even sued. Making your lot safe and accessible is not only the moral thing to do, it’s the law.
How to Fix Trip Hazards
There are a few different ways to attack trip hazards and which is best depends on your budget and the scale of the problem. Let’s review four fixes from least to most expensive and consequently least to most effective.
Painting the Hazard
Most property managers and HOAs see painting the trip hazard as a smart decision, so pedestrians see the hazard and can avoid it. Unfortunately, this is a costly mistake. While your heart may be in the right place, during litigation this serves the plaintiff as acknowledgment that you knew the trip hazard was present and you did nothing to mitigate the problem. While painting the trip hazard may help avoid an accident, it’s no substitution for removing the hazard and should be treating as an extremely short term solution.
Concrete Grinding to Remove Hazards
Concrete grinding is the least you can do to “remove” tripping hazards. Concrete grinding involves using a specialized grinding drum to file concrete for a smoother transition. Although grinding minimizes the hazard, it seldom eliminates it. Grinding is not an ADA compliant solution in most cases because the resulting concrete often doesn’t have the correct slope to be ADA compliant.
Though it minimizes the immediate problem, grinding also does not fix any underlying concrete issues and you’re likely to see more tripping hazards until the real cause is addressed. If it’s the least amount you can do, it’s normally the wrong thing to do and grinding will likely not bring your lot up to ADA compliance.
Horizontal Cutting to Remove Trip Hazards
As the name implies horizontal cutting uses a concrete saw to cut away the tripping portion of your concrete. While it does remove immediate tripping dangers, it doesn’t address the core issues of why your concrete is jumping to begin with and like grinding, is only a band-aid fix. Like grinding, cutting the concrete might not bring your lot up to standard and should only be considered a temporary fix. Horizontal concrete cutting is a better solution than grinding because an ADA compliant slope is achievable.
Most sinking concrete is caused by voids below your pavement and lifting is caused by pockets of moisture which swell and push the concrete up. Slabjacking fixes the issues by backfilling these pockets with a slurry or foam to push them back into place. Slabjacking won’t last as long as a full remove and replace but it’s less expensive than removal and can bring your lot up to ADA standards. Slabjacking also does not address the underlying issue causing your concrete problems. Improper drainage is often the cause of lifting or settling concrete or asphalt.
Remove and Replace to Eliminate Hazards
After slabjacking, removal and replacement is one of two ways to truly fix any tripping hazards. Mud/foamjacking pumps the concrete or foam back into place but remove and replace involves completely removing the previous concrete before installing new concrete.
Removal and replacement is the most best option because with a new install you can be sure all your concrete meets ADA standards and that your fix will last for multiple decades. Any Denver concrete company hired should be well-versed in ADA standards and how to install new concrete the correct way. Always be sure to understand what caused your concrete to fail and address that before a replacement project.
Get Your Lot Inspected
The best thing you can do for your commercial parking lot or sidewalks is have them inspected and brought up to standard by a professional paving company. Colorado Pavement Solutions knows what it takes to make a safe, ADA compliant lot and will help you create a parking lot or walkway that’s usable by everyone. Most paving professionals can help not only with tripping hazards but other ADA compliance factors like parking lot striping and parking spaces.
Don’t wait while your commercial lot remains a liability, get in contact with Colorado Pavement Solutions today for a FREE inspection and the next steps to bring your lot up to code.