The Parking Lot Asphalt Paving Specifications That Will Keep Your Government Building Up-to-Code

August, 29, 2022 By CASSIDY PAVING 5 min read
Paving a parking lot.

A lack of oversight can quickly devolve into chaos – this applies to everything, including asphalt parking lots. You might not give a second thought to a building’s parking lot, so long as you’re able to access it without a major problem. If, however, a facility manager loses sight of relevant parking lot regulations, their lot might not be optimized or even safe for regular use – this is why governmental institutions create strict guidelines for parking lot construction and maintenance. Many of these rules differ from state to state. Massachusetts has its own set of standards for its asphalt surfaces. And if you’re in charge of overseeing a government building, it’s even more important to understand and adhere to these regulations.

With that in mind, here are some parking lot asphalt paving specifications to know about that will keep your government building up-to-code.

Parking Lot Asphalt Paving Specifications That Will Keep Your Government Building Up-to-Code

Proper Thickness

If the asphalt paving parking lot is too thin, it can quickly lose its shape and integrity. Therefore, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in Massachusetts recommends that roadways and parking lots adopt a course thickness as follows:

  • 12 inch processed gravel or reclaimed paving base course
  • 2 inch binder course
  • 1 inch finish course


  • 12 inch processed gravel or reclaimed paving base course
  • 1-1/2 inch binder course
  • 1-1/2 inch finish course

Moreover, the DCHD notes that mix designs must be provided during the submittal process during construction, and that any mixtures brought to the site be, “...accompanied with a certificate of compliance provided by the asphalt batching plant and countersigned by the paving contractor.”

The Right Materials

As alluded to above, the materials used for asphalt paving have a significant bearing on compliance, too. The DHCD states that paving materials must comply with the Standard Specifications for Highways and Bridges of the Department of Public Works of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (latest edition). Here’s how this organization lays it out:

  • Subgrades must be either Type 1, 2, 3, or 4 in accordance with related specifications
  • Sub-bases must be Type 6 screened gravel in accordance with related specifications
  • Binder courses must be Class 1 bituminous concrete base course type I-1 per Massachusetts State Highway Specifications, (current edition)
  • Finish courses must be Class 1 bituminous concrete pavement per the Mass. Highway Specifications (current edition)
  • Curbs may be vertical granite or Cape Cod bituminous asphalt (vertical bituminous curbs will only be permitted in to match existing curbing)

Necessary Markings

A parking lot is not complete nor safe until it has been properly marked with visible and optimally-spaced lines, colors, and symbols. The DHCD notes that these markings can be painted or composed of thermoplastic, so long as they delineate on-site parking and handicap parking spots.

Adequate Accessibility

This specification follows directly from the previous one. Put simply, people (regardless of mobility status) must be able to safely and easily enter, park on, and exit the lot. According to Massachusetts regulations, “...parking lots shall be located to the rear and sides of the buildings with only visitor, handicapped, and preferential parking situated within the Front Yard setback. Preferential parking includes spaces for electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel vehicles, carpools, vanpools, and other ridesharing vehicles. Parking allowed in the front of the building shall be limited to 10% of the required parking spaces in accordance with 974 CMR 3.04(3)(a)1.f. The remainder of the parking serving the project shall not be located in front of the building facade.”

Moreover, parking spaces must maintain the proper dimensions, which in this case are no less than 9’ wide and 18’ deep. Spaces for compact cars can be smaller at 8’ x 16’. And aisles must be at least 24’ wide. The placement and dimensions of handicapped spaces must conform to 521 CMR: Architectural Access Board – as for their number, this is determined by the total number of parking spaces required for a given building.

Strategic Landscaping

To keep your government building up-to-code with Massachusetts parking lot specifications, you must also pay attention to landscape components. Not only is it crucial to minimize harm to the natural environment – landscape islands can become an ally when it comes to drainage and shading. With this in mind, the state has detailed asphalt parking lot paving instructions on how to properly implement landscape islands for both sustainability and functionality. See: “Parking lots shall extend no more than 180' in either length or width without a landscaped island and a pedestrian connection through the parking area and previous landscape island(s) that is a minimum of 5' wide and bordered by 3" caliper deciduous shade trees planted a minimum of 40' on center…”

More details on these specifications (and more) can be found here.

Keep Your Pavement Compliant

There’s a lot more to building and maintaining a parking lot than merely paving asphalt on a given plot of land. Attention must be paid to the pavement’s thickness, composition, visibility, accessibility, and relationship to its natural surroundings. Following the relevant regulations mandated by your local government (whether town, city, or state) will ensure that you stay up-to-code whenever paving, repairing, or resurfacing your lot. To make things even easier, the experts at Cassidy Paving are pre-qualified with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which means we’re already well-versed in these rules and regulations.

Call us today at 866-978-9788 to learn more about our various government and commercial paving projects and to receive a free estimate on your next asphalt project.

Filed Under: Asphalt

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