It’s almost half a century since Berry Systems was established, and the world has changed dramatically over that time in practically every way. Fashion, music and entertainment are almost unrecognisable from the days when I was a young lad – but without doubt the biggest advances have been in technology.
Even in the last decade, the digital age has seen incredible innovations with the internet, mobile phones and transport. These advancements are applicable to our industry as much as any other, and we’ve been implementing them into our own plans and designs to provide future proof car parking solutions for our clients.
While there are no reliable figures available on the number of multi storey car parks in operation across the UK, estimates vary between 4,000 and 6,000. Many of these date from the 1960s and ‘70s and were often built within tight constraints in difficult town centre locations, suffering from problems related to poor layout and build quality, as well as from inadequate maintenance.
Thankfully, most of these have since been refurbished or pulled down and replaced with new build car parks.
Things have changed massively in Britain, even since the mid-1970s. Margaret Thatcher became the Conservative Party’s first female leader, Fawlty Towers hit our television screens and the charts were dominated by the likes of the Bay City Rollers, Showaddywaddy and Windsor Davies & Don Estelle.
Less than 50 percent of households in England owned one or more car, with the best-selling model being the Ford Cortina, narrowly edging out the Ford Escort.
Fast forward to today. The charts now feature the likes of Justin Bieber, Harry Styles and Stormzy (I’ll let you make your own mind up if that’s an improvement), the most popular car is the Ford Fiesta. However, Fawlty Towers is STILL on our screens!
There’s also a lot more cars on the roads in the UK today – approximately 32.5 million. This has risen by a huge 49 percent over the past 25 years alone, and predictions estimate that if growth continues at the same pace, we could have 46.9 million cars on British roads by 2043.
With the UK government’s plans to ban the selling of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars from 2035 at the latest, we are now entering the age of the electrical vehicle. We have already witnessed a huge growth in popularity in this sector and this is steering the need to further future proof the car parking projects of today.
While electrical vehicle chargers (EVCs) are becoming more commonplace in car parks, they are still very few and far between. This will have to change drastically to accommodate the rapid rise that is sure to come.
Also, careful consideration needs to be given to where the power will come from to actually charge these vehicles. The shift to electrical cars is being driven by the need to tackle climate change and to provide a cleaner, more sustainable environment. If we are simply using more and more electricity, then it will defeat the object of the exercise.
Renewable energy is the way forward. We have developed a new car port system that utilises solar panels to not only charge the parked vehicles, but which also has the capability to store excess power in batteries, direct it to contribute to the operation of the building, or feed back into the grid.
By combining this renewable solution with a new range of innovative EVCs, designed to be flexible in order to limit damage from errant parkers, we’ve created a clean method for car parks to be environmentally friendly while also being much more efficient and cost effective to operate.
Technological advancements aren’t the only consideration when future proofing your project though. Urban development requirements mean that parking facilities should be designed to enrich the aesthetics of its surroundings.
Long gone are the days of dreary grey concrete ‘carbuncles’ blotting the landscape. Modern designs and innovations in cladding and façades ensure that the car parks we design today benefit from architectural stylings that will enhance the community.
We design, supply and install a whole range of sustainable car parking solutions at Berry Systems. By talking to us early in the design process of your new build or refurbishment project, our expert team can provide advice and support to make sure that your car park is truly future proof.
With almost half a century of experience to call upon, we have the knowledge to provide car parking solutions that are designed with the next 50 years in mind.