Parking Structures (2017-MS-3)

Issued Date
December 29, 2017

[read complete report - pdf]

We also released six letter reports to the following entities: Albany Parking Authority [pdf] and the Cities of Buffalo [pdf], Ithaca [pdf], Rochester [pdf], Syracuse [pdf] and White Plains [pdf].

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether municipal parking structures were regularly inspected and repaired for the period January 1, 2015 through January 31, 2017. We extended the scope of our audit back to July 2007 to review inspection reports and repair documentation.


Municipalities face substantial challenges in properly maintaining parking structures to be safe and acceptable for public use. Accordingly, the process of continuously conducting inspections and using the results from inspections to create a clear plan for repairs should be implemented. Officials should have qualified engineers conduct regular inspections on the structural condition of their local government’s parking garages. New York State Property Maintenance Code requires that all elevators be maintained to safely carry all imposed loads, and that they operate properly and are free from physical and fire hazards. The code specifies that elevators be inspected at intervals not to exceed six months by certified elevator inspectors.

Key Findings

  • These local governments have varying processes in place to inspect and monitor their parking structures. Although available reports indicate that the structures do not have any urgent repair needs, most units could improve their internal controls over parking structures and elevators.
  • The lack of periodic inspections has resulted in three Buffalo, two White Plains and possibly two Ithaca parking structures not having inspections conducted by structural engineers within the last 10 years.
  • Buffalo, Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse and White Plains also have elevators with violations, comments on identified issues and/or uninspected elevators, and they did not make all repairs, which jeopardizes public safety.
  • All units had long-term capital plans, but Ithaca’s, Syracuse’s and White Plains’ plans were not based on structural inspections.

Key Recommendations

  • Consider establishing regular structural inspection cycles for the parking structures.
  • Document inspection decisions, priorities and dispositions of identified needed repairs and update as necessary.
  • Ensure operational elevators are inspected, as required, and meet minimum code requirements.
  • Develop capital plans based on inspection reports and documented decisions.