As Airport Project Activity Soars, How Can Owners and Delivery Teams Keep Everything on Course?

August 15, 2019 | 3 minute read
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Don’t plan on airport construction slowing down anytime soon.

Worldwide annual passenger traffic is projected to reach 10.7 billion by 2022, up from 4.3 billion in 2018. Seasonal peaks in air travel are increasing, too. And this is a global trend that is even more prominent in emerging economies, according to the airline trade association IATA.

A flurry of global airport construction plans

Almost US$750 billion in airport construction projects are underway or planned globally. The current seasonal influx of travelers amplifies airport owners’ and construction firms’ already-high sensitivity to managing large infrastructure projects without compromising passenger experience.

Minimizing the potential for friction demands the complication of temporary locations for  coffee shops, restaurants, and other passenger conveniences. There are myriad subprojects to sequence while the heavy construction goes on behind the veil of temporary walls.

To manage the pressure of traveling throngs, airports and their construction firms can and must examine all options to keep their projects moving swiftly and with the least possible inconvenience to customers.

Technology delivers needed efficiency, visibility and control

Airports and construction firms can run what-if scenarios with modern project delivery solutions, analyzing the potential risks and impacts of adjusting the sequence and timing of subprojects within the timeline of the entire project. This level of thorough planning will ultimately result in a more positive customer experience.

With advanced scheduling and project management capabilities, project owners and managers can examine the costs and benefits of shifting discrete portions of work to non-peak travel hours, including an assessment of the risks around changes in schedule and completion timelines.

On large, complex projects, airports and their construction and engineering partners are increasingly adopting a combination of Lean Construction methodology and critical path method to streamline project management while coordinating subprojects and tasks across the broader enterprise. Typically, automation tools support only portions of the Lean methodology and don’t connect to the broader project and project management platform. But new, sophisticated technology solutions address these challenges by digitizing Lean processes and integrating them with the CPM schedule, delivering compounded benefits. This approach automates processes and integrates project data from the back office, front office, and field to enable complete coordination and command of even the most complex construction projects.

Mobile enablement of project management and workers on site is proving to be a project accelerator. For example, workers photograph an issue they find on-site and use mobile-enabled solutions to communicate the problem to project management, triggering a change order on the fly. The best part: the change order happens in minutes instead of the days that legacy processes required.

If mobility is an accelerator, collaboration technology is oil on every cog of the construction process. For example, on its Denver International Airport project, Parsons leverages Oracle technology to provide visibility and control across the project, connecting teams and reducing risk while also facilitating efficient document management and faster response to RFIs.

If, for instance, a manager wants to be sure they’re scheduling an activity during off-peak hours, the integrated systems enable rapid confirmation of current plans and–if necessary–quicker markup and changes.

In terms of passenger convenience, modern project management platforms and solutions can help owners and managers go a long way toward optimizing project planning and accelerating correction or mitigation when a problem is identified.

If a manager or worker on the project site spots something that threatens passenger comfort or convenience, it’s easy to document the issue quickly with mobile technology, activating appropriate responses throughout the contractor network.

These are challenges we can all relate to because we’re air travelers, too. Thinking “like a customer” is easy to do. Digital tools can help us bring that value into the project and operate effectively from it.

Read our whitepaper to learn more about improving capital efficiency in airport infrastructure investment.

Explore how you can deliver project success with Oracle Construction and Engineering.

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Werner Maritz

Werner Maritz is director of industry strategy for Oracle Construction and Engineering

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