By Sam Rkaina and Dan Evans
MORE than £1 million will be spent repairing one of the city centre’s primary multi-storey car parks.
Bristol City Council has been warned that if no repairs are carried out there is a “real risk of injuries” to members of the public using Trenchard Street.
At a meeting on Thursday, the council’s cabinet approved work totalling £1,064,475 to the building at the back of Colston Hall.
It is the cheaper of two options to address problems with what has been described as a building constructed with “sub-standard materials and workmanship”.
It is believed the work will extend the life of the car park by 10 more years, although it is already some 20 years past its original estimated lifespan.
Trenchard Street was designed and constructed in the mid 1960s, with an anticipated lifespan of 30 years.
The car park is well used, serving three of the city’s largest entertainment venues; the Hippodrome, the Academy and Colston Hall. It brings in around £2 million in parking income for the council every year.
Completely rebuilding it would cost between £12 million and £16 million, money the council does not have.
The decision comes two years after concerns were first raised about the condition of the building.
Inspections in the summer of 2009 and discovered the structure had deteriorated in a number of places, raising “serious health and safety concerns”.
This included the poor condition of the pedestrian walkway on level eight and loose material falling from the external cladding.
Blue Sky Consultants were hired to assess the costs for two levels of repair, one for 10 years and another for 20 years.
The 20-year repair cost came in at more than £4.8 million, more than triple the 10-year repair costs.
Annual maintenance costs also went up, from £261,000 for 10 years to £1.6 million for the two-decade option.
The consultants’ report stated that the rate of corrosion in the building is speeding up and cannot be stopped but can be slowed for 20 years.
It said: “The car park has been constructed of materials and workmanship that are highly variable and sub-standard.
“This has adversely affected the durability of the car park and has resulted in the premature deterioration of the main structural elements.
“The concrete in the car park is deeply carbonated, which has reduced its ability to protect the steel reinforcement from further corrosion.
“Combined with high moisture levels and calcium content, the existing structures and its previous years’ repairs are failing.”
The council will borrow £815,475 of the costs and pay the remaining £250,000 from its reserves.
A further structural appraisal of the building will take place five years after the work is completed to see if more repairs are needed to extend the car park’s lifespan after 10 years.
As the investment was agreed at the council house, executive member for transport, Timothy Kent, described the current building as “ugly”.
Deputy leader Simon Cook, who is a member of the Bristol Music Trust, said it was “vital” to keep the car park running to cater for people going to venues such as the Colston Hall and Hippodrome.
But he warned: “We need to start thinking now, what the replacement for this will be. There needs to be a car park, but we need a better-looking replacement.”