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Airport roundtable

Design-build process provides best value, team for terminal expansion

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In order to save money, time and provide a better product for its patrons, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority decided to hire a joint venture and go with a “design-build” method to expand Terminal 2 of Lindbergh Field.

During a recent roundtable discussion hosted by The Daily Transcript and sponsored by Turner Construction Co., construction and airport officials explained why certain companies were brought on board and why the airport authority wanted a design-build system.

“As this project began to develop, we knew that we weren’t going to go with a traditional design-bid-build process of delivering this product,” said Thella Bowens, president and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. “We think that using one of the alternative methods of delivery we can get a better product, we can get a better price (and) we can get the best teams available.”

The $1 billion expansion of Terminal 2 ($865 million for construction cost and the rest for bonding, financing and interest) will add 10 new gates, a dual-level roadway for arrival and departures, six additional security checkpoints, a “smart curb” for faster passenger check-in and an expanded concessions quarter.

Richard Bach, senior vice president of the Southwest region for Turner Construction Co., said because of the size and complexity of the airport’s expansion, Turner felt it needed to partner with PCL Construction and Flatiron on a joint venture, along with Tucker Sadler Architects and HNTB.

“It’s by far the biggest project San Diego has going currently and in the near future,” said Bach. “So we looked at partners that we had worked with in the past and who can complement our resources and add to the team…”

PCL was a “natural choice,” he said, and Flatiron is a sister company that does a lot of civil construction and has worked on prior improvements at the San Diego International Airport.

Bob Newsom, HNTB vice president, said the design-build joint venture is a good marriage because of the experience each of these companies has working with each other.

“We have key personnel with the expertise to run projects like this and also firms who have teamed together before on design-build projects,” he said. “Turner, HNTB and PCL have done design-build projects all across the country on other airports…”

All of the companies involved with the project work out of one building, behind the airport at Liberty Station, and meet with the airport authority on a regular basis.

“We work very closely with them,” Bowens said, “it’s very important to us that we have a lot of input into the designing of the facilities as they are coming online, and that’s one of the beauties of a design-build project.”

She added that this was one reason why the airport authority selected these particular companies to lead the project, which is expected to have up to 1,000 workers on the jobsite at the project’s peak.

The expansion of Terminal 2, which the airport authority dubbed the Green Build, will feature various sustainable, water- and energy-efficient amenities include a lighting control system, solar photovoltaic panels and electrically charged ground service vehicles to offset emission put out by aircrafts.

The airport authority has always considered a sustainable airport as a goal, said HNTB’s director of aviation architecture, Tom Rossbach. “We are using that leadership to incorporate a very sustainable design in the building.”

The project was designed and is being built to reach LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. According to Art Castro, principal at Tucker Sadler Architects, the price to build greener and more sustainably has gone down due to demand.

“I think you find a lot of manufactures now jumped on the bandwagon and are basically producing products that are sustainable and really meet the requirements of LEED. Everybody has got on board now, so it’s not that expensive anymore,” Castro said.

Another way the joint venture is saving not only money but also time is by using building information modeling (BIM), where architects and contractors can see a project built on a computer in five dimensions -- the fourth and fifth being time and money.

“Anytime you can build (a project) once virtually and then build it again out on the field you can eliminate a lot of conflicts,” said Darin Chestnut, district manager for PCL Construction. “As the architects start designing it, (contractors) work closely, and then it transfers right into construction. It really provides a seamless process.”

The Green Build, which officially got under way in July 2009, is scheduled to be finished toward the middle of 2013. Once completed, Terminal 2 will increase from 300,000 square feet to 700,000 square feet.

Roundtable participants

Richard Bach, Senior Vice President

Turner Construction Co. (sponsor)

Thella Bowens, President/CEO

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

Leon Campbell, Attorney

Campbell Law Offices

Art Castro, Principal

Tucker Sadler Architects

Darin Chestnut, District Manager

PCL Construction

Bob Newsom, Vice President, Los Angeles Office


Jayne O’Donnell, Vice President & General Manager of Aviation

Turner Construction Co. (sponsor)

Tom Rossbach, Director of Aviation Architecture


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