Monthly journal Parking Review has been the definitive source of news and intelligence on the UK and international public and private parking sectors since 1989.

The view from the driving seat

The global pandemic has had a profound effect on how we travel, which means the way we design and build car parks has to change

Steve Dunn
10 September 2020
Berry Systems created the façade for the British Parking Award winning Watts House car park at the University of Brighton
Berry Systems created the façade for the British Parking Award winning Watts House car park at the University of Brighton


To say that these are uncertain times is a huge understatement. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our world and the effects have been felt by every one of us – both personally and professionally – in one way or another. These shockwaves will be felt for many years to come and we should be prepared to face a decade of change in many aspects of our daily lives.

Changes already underway in our city and town centre planning will accelerate to meet new demands. Improvements need to be made to protect the environment and our safety must never be taken for granted. We are witnessing the transformation of urban streets to create more space for cycling and walking, and growing concerns about the future of urban centres as places to work and shop. These trends will have a profound effect on the operation of existing car parks, and significant implications for the design and construction of new ones.

Changing landscape
During lockdown, the highways and byways have been practically empty and town centres deserted. As restrictions are eased and more and more people start to go back to work, the roads will soon return to normal. However, the same cannot be said for our high streets. Town centre shopping has been on the decline for many years now. An increase in online ordering and out-of-town retail outlets has seen more and more shops close for business and the lockdown has put another nail in the coffin.

A careful balance will have to be struck by town planners for the future. Without the requirement for so many shops in our town centres, buildings will need to be re-purposed. It is likely that more of these will be used for urban living and non-retail, leading to a change in traffic requirement and more flexible parking facilities. Detailed consideration has to be given to how these buildings will be used, in both the short-term and long-term, and initial designs will need to reflect this. Future-proofing projects right from the start will ensure that the buildings constructed now are flexible enough to offer solutions to issues that may arise in years to come.

Environmentally friendly parking
One positive that the parking sector can take from the pandemic is the effect that the lockdown has had on the environment. We have all seen the footage of cleaner seas and clearer skies – we need to learn lessons from this.

The number of cars on our roads has risen by 49% over the last 25 years, to approximately 32.5 million. Predictions estimate that if growth continues at the same pace, we could have 46.9 million cars on British roads by 2043. However, the UK government is taking strong steps to counter the effect this rise will have on the environment, with plans to ban the selling of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars from 2035 at the latest.

It is vital that the car parking facilities we build today reflect the coming rise in electric vehicle use. Adding a few token chargers now will not cater for future requirements and this needs to be factored in to plans. Technology moves at a rapid rate. The innovative, environmentally friendly products that are currently being developed at Berry Systems will be in common use in a few years, enabling buildings to utilise integrated solar power systems to provide clean energy to charge electric vehicles.

Building on experience
With almost half a century of experience in building car park environments, Berry Systems has seen lots of change over the years. To help our clients make sense of a world that is changing dramatically, Berry Systems has launched the Car Park Design Advisory Service (CP-DAS) to provide expert advice, guidance and information to architects, developers and planners, to ensure that their projects are future-proof and equipped to manage the changes that are coming.
CP-DAS harnesses Berry Systems’ collective knowledge and puts the company in the driving seat when it comes to being able to assess the market and to evaluate the direction in which it is going.

Involving experts such as Berry System’s CP-DAS early on in a project means they can help model clients’ current requirements and guide them on future-proofing the infrastructure for changing demands. CP-DAS can also advise clients on technological advances and how they can be incorporated into projects, ensuring the facilities they build today are prepared to provide the solutions for tomorrow.

Safety first
One thing that definitely will not change in the future is that safety will always be the most important factor of any development and has been at the heart what Berry Systems has done over the past 50 years. Safety standards for both vehicles and pedestrians are constantly being updated and refined.

As a company we monitor these carefully to ensure all regulations are met and to help predict future changes. Berry Systems works to meet, and surpass, Health & Safety specifications. CP-DAS will ensure that clients benefit from the same exact standards in meeting appropriate legislation.

CP-DAS’s surveying service provides both precise and comprehensive reporting, detailing all recommendations and costings. Berry Systems’ in-house testing facilities ensure all products and projects meet the most stringent standards of compliance. Change is inevitable, but by learning the lessons of the past and by being clever about how we approach the future, change should be for the better.

Steve Dunn is managing director Berry Systems

Face values

Berry Systems creates sustainable cladding and façades

Whether it is a car park, commercial building, block of flats or an office complex, the changing urban landscape and tighter planning restrictions now require architects to get more creative with the look of their projects while satisfying environmental standards.

The exterior aesthetic is a key consideration in the planning process of any building. Berry Systems offers an extensive range of cladding and façade options that not only provide planners with myriad choices to create bespoke appearance but also provide sustainable solutions.

Expanded mesh suits a variety of different styles and visual requirements and due to the stretching/expanding manufacturing process, can be produced with limited to zero waste. When recycling aluminium cladding, it has an energy saving of 95% of that required through the primary smelter production route.

Environmental impact is also major factor in the plans for any building. Whether it is ensuring that the finish complements the surrounding landscape, is manufactured using sustainable products or can actively benefit the building itself, Berry Systems has solutions for all requirements.

An increasingly popular option for architects are green walls. Living façades can be utilised in various configurations to support climbing or scrambling plants. This is a practical method of giving a building a more natural appearance while helping to purify the air and lower ambient temperature inside the building, reducing the need for air conditioning.

Composite timber cladding is another environmentally-friendly choice. Not only does it create a highly attractive finish but is made from reconstituted timber and recycled high-density polyethylene.

Another green option is Sto Glass. Made from 96% recycled glass, the lightweight Sto Glass rainscreen cladding system can also be finished with solar photovoltaic cells, enabling them to contribute renewable energy to the building.
Berry Systems

Involving expert suppliers such as Berry Systems early in the planning process, means they can advise on all of the options available. For example, Berry Systems is happy to send samples of the different types of cladding available so customers can see the quality for themselves.

To find out more about cladding and façades from Berry Systems or to ask for samples, call 01902 491100 or email:

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