Bangalore International Airport Expansion Shaping Up An Integrated Design Plan
A glance at the ongoing project expansion of Bangalore International Airport Ltd’s (BIAL) terminal-1 would resemble an unexceptional airport infrastructure expansion work. The taxi parking lots, area of passengers movement at the multipurpose arrival and departure centre, have been neatly demarcated by barriers segregating activities of project site without hampering the daily activities of the greenfield and busy airport. There are arrangements in place by putting up sufficient way finding signage, deployment of adequate staff from the airport operator. However, venturing inside the site area would present a different picture altogether of a complex infrastructure project that is being given shape by cranes of various capacities, as they form the vital integral construction machinery for the expansion project to materialize.
A new mezzanine is being added on both ends of the expansion. The western side would be used for airline lounges, etc., and the eastern side would house a relocated and increased immigration area. The domestic security screening would be housed in the expanded western section and the international security screening would also be increased and re-aligned in the same direction as the current emigration counters. Additional bus-gate departure seating is being provided on the first level (ground floor) of the terminal.
The architectural concept is based on the idea of a dramatic swooping and curving roof which is the unifying element for new and existing facilities, bringing both together as one composition. It also forms a dramatic canopy to the main entrance, offering passengers and public a giant covered area, protection from the weather. Besides, the undulating wave form of the roof provides the Terminal with great physical presence.
In addition to these, the radiant interiors and breathtaking exteriors have been designed to mirror the rich culture of Karnataka and the vibrant colors of the Garden City.
Construction & Compatibility
The complexity of the expansion project emanates from the fact that it needs to put in shape the design ingredients of compact modern airports involving short walkways, ease of convenience and usage, linear flow and flexible design. According to a BIAL spokesperson, “As part of expansion plan, the terminal design takes into account core strengths of our existing infrastructure and integrating the existing project with the newer ones is the major construction task for the EPC contractor.”
However, for L&T, the EPC contractor for the project, it seems to be getting away with the construction work, countering the challenges with the task awarded to it during August 2011 for expansion of the terminal buildings in both directions involving south, east and west pier. Expanding the floor space of the airport would involve raising the current terminal area space from 73,347 sqm to 150,556 sqm by 2013 by L&T when it would hand over the project to GVK, the private operator of the airport. The expanded capacity would facilitate the operator to handle 20 million passengers by 2017 from 12.8 million passengers.
According to BIAL spokesperson, “The new temporary protective walls on the sides of the terminal building are being constructed to remove the existing one for enabling ‘seamless’ integration of the new structure with the existing one. Roof structures are being expanded both on sides and front. Four temporary walk, ways have been constructed to provide access to the terminal building during construction to provide safe passage to passengers to and from the terminal building.”
Setting up of the roof structures supported by the column is the vital element for integrating the existing ones with the upcoming project. Tower cranes are performing the job for lifting the steel structures, structural roof struts and façade according to the ‘seamless integration’ design plan. Four number of Terex flat top tower cranes can be seen free standing, working for the job lifting maximum load between 7.5-8 tons. L&T site officials inform, “The tower cranes are also being put into use for pouring concrete at spots where truck and trailer mounted concrete boom placers are inaccessible.”
The vital construction metho- dology adopted by L&T characterizing the lifting plan, so as to integrate the design of its meticulous planning for lifting the designated loads. In accordance with the same, different capacities of cranes are being employed for specific jobs. Officials say, “We have space restrictions at the demarcated site to assemble the structures. On this, fully assembled steel structures have to be erected at higher designated heights. The complex equation is being taken care of by utilizing higher capacity cranes with longer telescopic booms, capable of lifting and placing loads at higher working radius. Similarly, we are ensuring that much higher capacity cranes are not being utilized for lifting disproportionately lighter loads. To ensure there is better consistency between the cranes while lifting the assembled structures, the fabrication is being done for various shapes and sizes.” Appropriate fabrication takes care of site space restriction and inconsistency in lifting, thus ensuring appropriate utilization of the equipment by the contractor. The mobile and tyre mounted cranes at the site are working for 12 hours shift every working day.
Involvement of cranes is all encompassing at the job site. Hoisting platforms are being used to fit the bolts of the fabricated steel struts. At least 15-16 numbers of access platforms are reported to be working at the expansion project.
Most of the cranes used at the project have been hired by L&T from Gandhi with only few from L&T. Officials from L&T say, though the crane rental company has provided erection plan support. However, vast experiences of the EPC contractor in project execution have added greater value to the plan giving shape to the project.
It would be better evident when the project finally gets completed enabling airlines to improve operational performance and above all passengers experiences. The terminal would be opened in phases starting from early 2013.