The most successful project I worked on was the International Terminal T1 Departures Redevelopment Project. The project included:
The redevelopment works were unique and technically demanding, requiring the design team to undertake detailed coordination and planning to maintain continued operation of the airport in an extremely constrained environment. A significant portion of the project works was the design of temporary works and staged works to allow the uninterrupted operation of the airport. Throughout the project, the operation of the International Terminal was not disrupted at any stage through unexpected outage or loss of services.
The positive and proactive collaboration among Sydney Airport, Aurecon, the project managers, architect and the managing contractor – coupled with the advanced use of technology – was the secret to the outstanding success of the project.
Sydney Airport has been extremely pleased with the performance of the new Departures precinct. Passenger feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and the return on investment through the enhanced performance of the retail and food and beverage outlets has exceeded expectations.
The design of the structure and building services must be carefully coordinated and planned to maintain continuing operation of the existing airport. The challenge is not to disrupt any service at any stage because of unexpected outage or loss of services.
A significant portion of the Aurecon design services for the Terminal 1 Departure Redevelopment Project was the design of temporary works, to allow the uninterrupted operation of the Airport. A fully functioning temporary outbound immigration hall was designed and constructed complete with a full range of security devices. Extensive temporary retail outlets were provided to maintain passenger services and maintain the commercial viability of the existing retail outlets.
The most challenging aspect was keeping the Terminal fire and life safety systems and essential services operating effectively while the terminal is being reconfigured and expanded. As you change the operation of the terminal, the life safety systems need to follow that.
Passenger deviations can have a major cost impact. We work closely with architects to ensure that there is no major impact on services. For example, we would advise on routes that avoided expensive relocation of switchboards or duct risers.
Security is another huge issue. Maintaining physical security and electronic security throughout the refurbishment works needs very careful attention from all design team members. On one side of of a hoarding partition, you have construction workers with tools and equipment; and on the other, passengers who have already gone through a security screening. We always ensure that boundaries around the works site can be secured effectively during the design stage.
Way-finding is also critical. International passengers are easily confused, and it is paramount that signage and FIDs are modified to accommodate the changing building hording lines.
With any refurbishment project in buildings which have been in operation for 20 or more years, there is often a lack of good “as built” documentation. Surveying existing services and structure within ceiling spaces and other confined areas is difficult and time-consuming, especially within an operating airport.
One way to mitigate this is something we‘ve done recently, is a point cloud survey – a 3D survey of all the services in the ceiling space that we’re working on, which is then transferred into a BIM model. This type of laser scanning is proving invaluable, allowing us to identify all sorts of things, including services in a spatial 3D image and reducing the number of unknowns and, therefore, the risk during construction.
These assets have a long lifecycle, are expensive and need to be durable and low-maintenance. Most international airports operate 24/7 and have limited time available for focusing on maintenance in public spaces. There’s also a growing emphasis on providing a really high standard of comfort and convenience for passengers that create great traveling experience.
Airports are no longer the domain of the airlines; they are being transformed into service centres for passengers. They have to deal with a wider range of airlines and aircraft. They have to be flexible to handle both domestic and international passengers as well as budget travelers and first-class passengers. This new business model means more retail, more variety in food and beverage, more specialist lounges, .
The terminal structure and building services need to ensure they can support this dynamic change. For structural and services engineers, this means we must pay attention to:
Airports have a bit of each building type or sector in them, transportation, hospitality, retail, commercial and engineering all housed in a generally iconic building. All building services are intensively required, large power reticulation, large heating and cooling plants, etc. In addition, one has the specific aviation overlay of baggage handling, aerobridges, ground power, pre-conditioned air.
There are very few building projects which demonstrate such a breadth of engineering required; and this is why I enjoy working in the aviation sector.
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