BUILD STRENGTH INTO
AGING FACILITIES WITH
With so many busy terminals approaching middle age, how do
airports and airlines keep them operational while still giving
them the much needed upgrades they need to meet the
demands of an increasingly demanding public? Some airports
simply shut down portions of the terminals, then gut and
rebuild. However, this is a luxury that most busy airports cannot
afford. Gates, holdrooms and concession spaces are in high
demand and must remain operational during any modernization
program. So, how is this achieved?
First, thoughtful planning is essential. What are the key
upgrades and changes the airport, airlines and concessions
folks need to achieve? Are power and data upgrades
necessary? Are modifications to the HVAC system in order?
Are additional toilet facilities desired? Critical to any successful
renovation program is a detailed planning document to which
all parties agree.
Once planning is complete and the scope is defined, the real
work begins. Understanding airport passenger flow is critical
in developing a plan to close off areas for construction while
maintaining full operations. Among questions that must be
answered in the early stages of design: What holdrooms
and support spaces can be closed concurrently? How will
passengers and employees get through the construction zone?
What temporary accommodations must be made?
Providing a 3-D model that details temporary conditions and
pedestrian/cart flow is key to helping all affected parties
understand the conditions expected during construction.
Identifying work that can be completed behind the scenes
before any public impact is critical for minimizing operational
disruption. As design progresses it becomes even more critical
to continue providing visual models to all parties, showing how
construction will occur and how the facility will be affected.
Throughout the process, existing mechanical, electrical
and plumbing systems should be evaluated to determine if
replacement or retro-commissioning could reduce operating
costs and maintenance budgets while improving the
environment of the terminal. In many cases, replacement
or retro-commissioning of systems pays for itself in one to
BProfessionals can work with airports and airlines to design
and renovate all or parts of terminals. Key to success in such
efforts can be the use of building information modeling (BIM).
By integrating such modeling with engineering analysis, data
regarding materials and building systems can be used to
generate efficient design, significantly reducing impacts of
changes during construction. An effective project-management
system can give owners and interested parties regular reports,
photos, status updates and other information, providing daily
progress on a project.
The result is a refreshed and revitalized terminal — designed
to meet the needs of owners, operators and vendors — that is
completed with minimal disruption. During the next few years
American Airlines and Burns & McDonnell, along with their
By Rhett Workman and Katherine Goudreau