TERMINAL RENOVATE, RECONSTRUCT OR
JUST START OVER
By Bret A. Pilney, PE, LEED AP BD+C
When faced with aging terminal, airfield infrastructure or
aviation support facilities, airport operators need to evaluate
the available options to meet changing facility requirements.
However, the challenges of aging infrastructure, airline
consolidation and fierce competition for capital dollars can
make even the best option a difficult implementation. Still, there
are proven strategies to help you maximize your investment
budget to provide flexibility for the future.
Which One Is Best?
Several questions should be answered when deciding whether
to renovate, reconstruct or start over. First, the airport or tenant
should consider functional and operational needs:
• Does the terminal meet forecasted passenger needs?
The answers to these fundamental questions should serve as a
guide to deciding which approach — renovation, reconstruction
or starting over — will best serve the needs of passengers,
concessionaires, airlines and airport staff.
If the existing facility is architecturally and structurally sound —
meaning the existing terminal facility can meet your functional
and operational needs without falling down — renovation may
be the best option. Finishes are the first facility component to
fail in the wake of daily passenger and tenant wear. Electrical,
mechanical and plumbing systems are next, while architecture
and structure can usually last longer.
Similarly, if the terminal is 20 to 30 years old and the existing
envelope can meet the functional and operational needs,
renovation may be your best option. For most terminals,
the building envelope, structure and aircraft aprons/utilities
represent a significant investment. The terminal’s interior and
building systems have likely evolved over time, so a holistic
approach to renovation will help “reset” the facility to meet the
current needs while providing the flexibility for the future.
Within the same age range, the building systems are aged and
possibly obsolete. Replacement parts may not be available
or the systems may be limping along. This is an excellent
opportunity to consider complete replacement of these systems.
Typically, you can realize significant energy savings and reduce
long-term operating costs.