Are Parking Garages Safe? Recent Collapses Raise Serious Concerns

Recent parking garage collapses in the Netherlands, including at Sint-Antonius hospital, Eindhoven Airport, and Van der Valk hotel, highlight serious safety concerns. These incidents are often attributed to construction defects and cost-cutting from the low-bid system introduced in 2012. Such events raise significant doubts about the structural integrity and safety of parking garages.

"Are Airport Parking Garages Safe? Recent Collapses Raise Serious Concerns"

Picture: Groentje,

Imagine you are planning a well-deserved vacation for you and your family to a beautiful sun-drenched country somewhere in South America. You have talked about the fact that you would like to visit the land of the Incas, Peru. As you know, before you can go on holiday with a whole family, many things need to be planned. Just think of the following things: checking the validity of all passports, ensuring vaccinations are up to date, verifying the condition of clothing or diving equipment, applying for necessary visas, and renewing credit cards. Oh, and don't forget about taking out good travel insurance and everything else that comes with it these days.

Who or What Stays Behind at Home During the Holidays?

Maybe you have pets, or one of the children stays behind because they can't get time off from school during your intended period. What about watering the plants in the living room, and if you are going on holiday in the summer, taking care of the garden? Anyway, you've arranged everything on time, and all you must think about is the transport to and from the airport. Are you going with your own car, or an airport taxi, or are your friends or family kind enough to drop you off and pick you up later?

Is Parking Still Payable at the Airport?

Parking at an airport is often not very cheap, and I often notice the metal signs on the fences that say: "Parking is at your own risk, and items that are in your car while parking are also not insured." In other words: "You only pay for the place where your car is parked; for the rest, you run a very high risk of car burglary and car damage." So, in my view, we often pay a lot for very little. But fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, there are other alternatives. You can be taken to the airport by a taxi or your neighbors; this costs a bit, but then you probably run less risk.

Do You Also Find Parking in Parking Garages Increasingly Risky?

Parking the most expensive possession after your house in a place that has little or no monitoring. You must pay a lot of money for a small piece of land or a piece of a parking deck. The valuables you leave behind are often not guarded. And when you return from your appointment or outing, you just must wait and see in what condition you find your property. Recently, an additional danger has been added (in the Netherlands). Since 2002, another risk has been added to you and your valuable possession. Since that year, three parking garages have collapsed in the Netherlands due to construction defects.

Do You Still Feel Safe in Those Large Parking Garages?

Yesterday, the twenty-sixth of May 2024, a parking garage spontaneously collapsed at the Sint-Antonius hospital in Nieuwegein. This building is in the middle of the country. This hospital is one of the most important heart surgery centers in the Netherlands. The hospital, built in 1983 at Koekoekslaan 1 in Nieuwegein, treats approximately 3000 patients annually. It is a very important hospital where many people visit the outpatient clinic every day. This hospital is open twenty-four hours a day for emergencies. Fortunately, the accident happened in the quieter late evening hours, so there were no casualties. All ramps for ascending and descending parking traffic collapsed at once.

Do We No Longer Have to Go to a Hospital by Car?

Recent history, unfortunately, teaches us that these collapses do not only occur in hospitals. In 2002, a parking deck collapsed at the Van der Valk hotel in Tiel. Many cars were damaged, but fortunately, the human suffering was not too bad. In 2017, a parking garage collapsed at Eindhoven Airport, an airport from where many Dutch people starts their holidays to European destinations. As you can see, you can only breathe a sigh of relief when the plane takes to the skies with you on board. The bizarre thing often happens that most people only then develop their fear of flying, which is when the fear arises in them.

Who is to Blame Here?

Of course, it is difficult to blame anyone here. The man or woman who oversaw the construction of the garages. The architect at the drawing board? The buyer of the construction company who bought all the equipment for the construction of the garage. Or the calculator responsible for all the calculations. Sometimes I secretly think that the entire system of tenders that was introduced in the Netherlands in the year 2012 is responsible for this. To guarantee fair deals, construction companies must indicate at the start of their projects the amount for which they are going to build something, whereby simply put, the one with the lowest bid wins and is allowed to build. It is a system devised by civil servants to distribute orders more fairly. But in the end, entrepreneurs must get their profits from somewhere to be able to continue to pay their staff, so it often comes from the length or breadth.