Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  28 Oct 2010

BUILDING: What Went Into The New Airport


Recent Western Cape Business News

THE final phase in the construction of the new R1.2 billion Integrated Terminal and R350 million new multi-storey parkade at Cape Town International Airport is now complete as reported by joint venture contractors Grinaker-LTA and Stefanutti Stocks.

The construction of the striking new terminal was phased in order to provide for the continual operation of the airport. “The completion and handing over of a project of this magnitude on time takes a major commitment from everyone involved,” comments Johan Brink, representative of the joint venture. “Each individual working on the final touches and clean up of the building - from the client and their consultants to the labour on site - has been totally dedicated to ensuring a problem free opening. This has included working day and night when necessary,” he says.

The first phase of the new terminal was completed in November 2009 and the main terminal building was handed over to ACSA (Airports Company South Africa) in November 2009, Brink explains. Prior to the handover of the terminal a number of “dry runs” were carried out to ensure that all systems where in place and ready to function when the first passengers came through to board their flights.

The construction of the first phase included a structural steel component of 1 360 tons comprising tree like support columns and trusses spanning 34 meters and up to 15 meters above the main check-in hall floor. The large spans of the trusses necessitated the use of many temporary support towers during the construction process. In addition the design incorporated the air conditionings air supply. The end result which incorporated both architectural and structural imaginative concepts, has resulted in the project being recognised in the recent Southern African Institute of Steel Construction awards as a Joint Winner in the Infrastructure category.

The steel structure supports the roof sheeting which measures 22 420 sq m in size. The domestic departures and arrivals halls incorporated a further 1 463 tons of structural steel which was used successfully to speed up construction to these sections of the project.

In addition to the new terminal buildings, a new multi-storey parkade has also been constructed at Cape Town International by the Grinaker-LTA Stefanutti Stocks Joint Venture. This facility provides parking for 4 500 vehicles, which is close to double the parking available in the original multi-storey parkade. The majority of the parking is now operational, Brink reports.

Since the terminal opening there has only been positive feedback from the general public using the facility,” he adds.

The construction of the vast 74 500 sq m new Integrated Terminal provided the joint venture contractors with its fair share of challenges. The decanting of various facilities where the new building was to be built without impacting on the ongoing operations of the airport was a challenge for both the joint venture and ACSA. Subsequent challenges included working close to the public in an operational airport, the substantial growth in the scope of the contract as it progressed, the skills shortage, and the sheer scale of this undertaking within the limited time frame.

Almost all underground services in the entire facility - the full length of the existing airport terminals numbers one to five on the land and air-side - had to be upgraded and relocated in order to make space for the new Departure Terminal.

The new building comprises piled foundations and a concrete framed structure ranging in height from three to five floors. Slabs are mainly post-tensioned, coffered and troughed, with approximately 12 000 sq m of slabs at high levels – exceeding eight metres.

A total of 32 000 cubic metres of concrete has been used, along with 3 000 tons of steel and more than 800 tons of formwork.

The new Integrated Terminal will offer an additional eight new passenger loading bridges and a new, elevated roadway along the front facade. It features an attractive, modern structural steel roof and concrete columns in an unusual ‘Y’ design. External civil works for the project comprised the elevated road for access to check-in on the second floor, and 30 384 sq m of premix roads as well as 32 000 sq m of brick paved areas.

The integrated control systems are modern and extremely specialised to ensure the two main ACSA objectives are met - these being passenger safety and convenience.

These systems were custom designed and manage all the services provided, from air traffic control and flight monitoring to the new automated baggage handling system,” Brink explains.

Safety has been a priority throughout the contract, and the site team has maintained an impressive safety record. The contract’s achievements in this area have included winning first place in the Master Builders’ Association’s Regional Safety Competition for two consecutive years in its category. The site has also received accolades for the quality of the work produced, and in particular for the off-shutter concrete. The elevated roadway, with its unique ‘Y’ shaped columns, is particularly impressive, Brink notes.

Job creation and training were key elements of the project, and at its peak 1 150 people were employed on site. Specialist subcontractors came from as far as the Netherlands and England. Training was provided in various construction discliplines throughout the project. Various ACSA Staff had to be trained to manage and operate the new sophisticated electronic monitoring security controls and running of the new Terminal.

Cape Town International is now a truly world class international airport that all Capetonians can be proud of. Passengers will now be able to enjoy a long-awaited indoor arrivals, and will be able to stay dry in the coming Winter from the time they arrive until their departure. The new facility coped exceptionally well with the busy 2010 World Cup,” Brink concludes.

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