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Feature Story - November 2007

Airport Construction

Green elements added to LAX’s Tom Bradley Terminal refurbishment project

By Joe Florkowski

Los Angeles International Airport has launched an ambitious project to renovate and refurbish its international terminal and is about to launch another to install an improved baggage handling system in its domestic terminals.


Working with a design from Los Angeles-based LEO A DALY, the joint venture of Clark Construction and McCarthy Building Cos. began construction in February on the $723.5 million Tom Bradley International Terminal refurbishment.

The international terminal refurbishment will include a number of renovations of existing facilities, such as the ticketing lobby, arrivals lobby and construction of a larger gate to handle large aircraft like the Airbus 380.

Four airport lounges and an in-line baggage system will be installed, as well. Los Angeles World Airports, the owner of LAX, has also budgeted $10 million for green building elements for the refurbishment in order to apply for LEED certification.

Airport ConstructionOne of the most difficult challenges of the project will be maintaining terminal operations while the project is ongoing, says David Shuter, deputy executive director for projects and facilities at LAWA. The construction on the international terminal will be phased in to minimize the impacts on customers and flights, Shuter adds.

“We believe the multi-phased scheduling – while protracting the construction period – will allow us to minimize delays to flight operations and passenger processing,” says Shuter.

The Clark McCarthy team has completed the first two phases of the planned eight phases for the refurbishment. The project is expected to be completed by early 2010.

LEO A DALY is serving as the architect of record as well as the design architect, says Gordon Phillips, the design firm’s project manager for the international terminal refurbishment. Throughout the construction process, LEO A DALY will change the design of the project as necessary because of evolving airport regulations and new requirements, Phillips says.

Meanwhile, this month, Swinerton Builders will start construction on an in-line baggage system at LAX’s terminals one through three. The in-line system will allow bags to be checked in at the ticket counter and then conveyed to a separate area of the terminal where the bags are sent to an explosive detection system machine before being sent to the airplane.

The current system has passengers check in at the ticket counter and then they take their bags with them to be screened.

The in-line baggage system is expected to cost $273.7 million and be complete by January 2010. The cost for terminals four through eight is not yet known. The in-line system was designed by Gensler.

“When the in-line baggage screening systems are installed and operational, there will be improved passenger service and convenience because the waiting queue to get your bags screened will be eliminated,” Shuter says.


Ground Work

Designers, engineers start work on SMF modernization project

By Joe Florkowski

Construction on the terminal modernization of Sacramento International Airport is not yet underway, but many of the project’s players are in place.

Ground WorkForth Worth-based Carter & Burgess and MWH of Broomfield, Colo. are the program managers for the $900 million project. Dallas-based Corgan Associates, Denver-based Fentress Architects and two Sacramento-based design firms – Lionakis Beaumont Design Group and Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects – are working on the design for the terminal modernization.

The only unknown is who will build the project, expected to be completed by mid-2011.

The airport is leaning toward using design-build on the project, says Leonard Takayama, the airport’s deputy director of special projects. He says design-build would save time and lower construction costs.

The project is not expected to have any major impact on airport operations, he adds. “We will be able to operate most of our existing terminals while we build this,” Takayama says.

Sitework, including structure and foundations, will begin at the airport next year. The overall design of the project is expected to be complete by late 2008/early 2009 with a contractor selected at about that time.

The project consists of a new central terminal, concourse, parking structure, 200-room hotel and upgrades to outdated facilities. The new 700,000-sq-ft central terminal will have 23 gates and is being built to accommodate passenger growth.

The design for the project is not particularly complicated, but the phasing and logistics will be, says Jim Sumwalt, program manager of strategic projects for Carter & Burgess.

The new terminal will be built on an existing major parking lot and will require the construction of parking facilities for those cars. And the airport will continue to operate throughout construction, Sumwalt says.

Carter & Burgess’ role will be to oversee the project from the airport’s viewpoint – to act as an extension of the airport, Sumwalt adds.

“We will advise the airport on processes and manage the contractors on the project,” he says.


Design-Build Success

Terminal improvement project at SJC staying on schedule

By Joe Florkowski

Officials at Mineta San Jose International Airport are using design-build for the first time to complete a $1.3 billion program to improve its terminals.

Design-Build SuccessAnd while this is the first time that the airport has used design-build, everything seems to be working so far, says David Maas, deputy director in the planning and development division at the airport.

“It’s a challenge, but so far, so good,” Maas says. “I don’t think we could do this project in the same timeframe under a traditional low-bid contract.”

General contractor Hensel Phelps, working with designs from Fentress Architects, will work on the terminal aspect of the program. Granite Construction was subcontracted to do the roadway improvements and utilities work working with design firm DMJM.

Construction has already started on the first major piece of the airport’s improvement program – the airport’s north concourse. That piece is expected to be completed next year. A parking and rental car facility is also being developed that will accommodate 450 cars for long-term parking and 3,000 spaces for rental cars.

Meanwhile, the southern portions of Terminal C are being modified and reconfigured to accommodate the airport’s growth plan; that reconfiguration is expected to be complete this month.

After Terminal C is reconfigured, its northern portion will be torn down to make room for construction on the airport’s new Terminal B in early 2008.

Also in early 2008, the airport will begin an improvement program on both levels of Terminal A, including new security checkpoints, ticketing counters and in-line baggage screening system. The Terminal A improvements are expected to finish in 2009.

When Terminal B is finished, the airport will tear down Terminal C to make room for future expansion.

Managing such a complex project necessitated the airport use design-build and the airport is meeting its cost targets, Maas says.

Using design-build, though, means the airport has to communicate what it wants from the contractor right away. Later changes will mean higher costs, he says.

“As a client, it forces you to be clear up front,” Maas says. “It forces us to make decisions much earlier.”

The terminal area improvement program is meeting its goals so far, he says.
“Hensel Phelps has been very good to work with,” Maas says.


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