WHEN he was asked last October why Dubai International Airport needed a multimillion dollar face-lift and expansion, the director general of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Mohi-Din binhendi didn’t mince words. ‘The airport is getting too small,’ he said. ‘We are losing the state of the art in some areas, such as baggage handling. In others, like check-in desks and car parking, we don’t have enough space. We need this expansion to meet the year 2000 and beyond.’ Recent visitors to the airport will easily understand Binhendi’s concerns. Dubai’s gateway to the airways is bursting at the seams. No sooner had the summer holiday rush ended, than the airport had to deal with the thousands of Asian expatriate workers seeking flights home in advance of the new UAE residency law coming into force. Crowds of passengers formed outside the main terminal building, and the carparks were packed to capacity.

The days of lengthy queues and scarce car parking spaces are now numbered, however, with the first contracts already awarded on the expansion project. By mid-1999, the airport will have been transformed in a $540 million investment programme, aimed at doubling handling capacity, enhancing comfort and convenience, and preparing the emirate for a new era in its aviation history.

DCA and International Bechtel are the two key players on the development. The USbased engineer has a broad brief, acting as the design. engineering and construction supervision consultant, as well as the overall project and programme manager. The design work is being prepared in three separate locations. The company’s headquarters in San Francisco is responsible for the archi tectural design, the London office is drawing up the structural design and the Delhi bureau is charged with preparing the mechanical and electrical (M&E) designs.

Co-ordinated ‘It is a global co-ordinated effort,’ explains Hunter Clayton, Bechtel’s site design manager in Dubai. ‘Each office does their assigned designs, while co-ordinating electronically with each other.’ Once completed, the design packages are sent to the programme and project management team and the engineering corps at the airport site office.

Adopting the strategy used on other landmark developments such as the Chicago Beach resort and leisure scheme, the government has opted to split the project up into separate contracts: there are some 40 packages in all. ‘For a project of this size, you really can’t find one main contractor with all the various capabilities required, so it doesn’t make sense to award just one contract,’ says Clayton. ‘Packaging is also a far more costeffective system.’ Inevitability, this approach presents greater challenges for the project and programme manager. Close coordination is required between Bechtel and the individual contractors. Precise scheduling of the contract packages is paramount, if the tight deadlines are to be met and normal operations of the existing airport facilities are not to be affected. One of the main reasons why the north concourse apron contract was the first major construction package to be awarded was that the completed area will be required when construction begins in earnest on the new concourse building itself next year.

‘Different aspects of the project present different challenges,’ Clayton explains. ‘The concourse building is technically challenging, but it is at least a new structure.

The substantial renovation planned for the existing terminal is perhaps more difficult, as it has to be carried out without interfering with the airport’s operations.. we will have to build a fairly substantial amount of temporary buildings to maintain existing operations during the renovation of the existing terminal.’ Bechtel’s client, the DCA, has adopted a standard tendering procedure. For the main construction packages, a list of prospective prequalified bidders is drawn up and presented to the DCA for approval. For speciality contracts, such as the baggage handling system and the boarding bridges, companies are selected on their technical qualifications.

As part of the drive to secure the most cost effective and up-to-date systems for the development, the DCA is hosting a special exhibition in late October*. More than 120 contractors, subcontractors and suppliers will be showcasing their services and products while other companies attempting to be involved in the scheme will also be present.

‘The way the project is set up is that there is a group of engineers that reviews every component. There are technologies and products out there that neither the DCA nor Bechtel have seen. The exhibition will provide us with a direct link with potential suppliers,’ says Clayton.

Regional focus While the exhibition organisers, the Dubai World Trade Centre, stress that the event will have a regional focus, it is obvious that the main attraction will be the Dubai development. Even though seven packages have already been tendered over the past six months, the project has yet to move into top gear. There is everything to play for as more than 30 contracts, with an estimated total value of $400 million, are still to be awarded. Moreover, Bechtel is not due to complete all the design work until next spring.

Several major changes have been made to the project since plans to expand capacity were first hatched in the late 1980s. The price tag has more than doubled to an estimated $540 million, largely as the result of the DCA’s decision to substantially increase the size and order radical alterations to the design of the concourse.

The selected design concept envisages an 800-metre-long concourse, curved both longitudinally and axially and mirroring the shape of a high-speed aircraft. The exterior will boast blue-green tinted glazed metal panels. The structure, five-storeys high at the centre, will have a five star hotel on its two upper levels with the boarding level below. There will be a 9,300 square-metre duty free shopping complex on the apron level. The two lower levels will be reserved for the ramp operations and the passenger tunnel, which will connect the facility with the existing terminal.

The striking design is intended to make a splashy statement of Dubai’s enthusiasm for the new and advertise its ambitions as a 21st century hub. ‘The building will be in a class of its own,’ Clayton promises. ‘What it has to offer will place the facility among the top 10 airports in the world.’ DCA has every intention of pursuing an even more prominent position. A second stage development which is a virtual mirror image of the current expansion has already been pencilled in as part of the overall airport masterplan.

Dubai’s current airport expansion may be just the start of more ambitious things to come.

*Airport Build & Technology Exhibition.

27-29 October, Dubai World Trade Centre

Contracts already awarded or under tender evaluation:

TD-45, north concourse aprons. The local Al-Naboodab Contracting took the first construction contract on the project, estimated AED 87 million. (MEED 17:5:95)

TD-59, jet A-1 fuel storage tank farm.

The local Thermo picked up the estimated AED 50 million contract in September. (MEED 13:9:96)

TD-60, fire stations. The local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct took the estimated AED 40 million contract in June (MEED 28:6:96)

TD-62, terminal 2/charter terminal.

Bel Hasa Six Construct was awarded the estimated AED 64 million contract in September.(MEED 4:10:96)

TD-66, field erected storage tanks.

The local Cylingas Company is working on the estimated AED 6 million contract.

(MEED 11:10:96)

TD-46, concourse foundations.

Tendered in September, the package includes detailed design, preparation of construction shop drawings and construction of the foundations for the concourse facility.

TD-57, automated baggage system.

The contract was close to being awarded in late September.

It calls for the design and engineering, preparation of shop drawings, fabrication, supply and installation, testing, training and first year maintenance of the new complete baggage system in the renovated and new facilities.

Dubai International Airport expansion project: the tender packages

The estimated $540 million Dubai International Airport expansion project comprises 20 main contract packages, some of which have been sub-divided. In total there will be about 40 separate contracts placed.

By the end of September, contracts amounting to 10 per cent of the overall cost of the project had been awarded, with a further 10 per cent out to tender.

The main contract packages to be tendered are:

Contract TD-47, the concourse concrete structure. The package includes detailed design, preparation of construction shop drawings and construction of the concrete superstructure for the 46,000 squaremetre concourse building. which will have 28 aircraft boarding gates

TD-48, the concourse steel structure. Expected to be the largest single contract, it includes the supply, erection and installation of the steel structure and architectural finishes for the concourse and fixed bridges, plus the architectural finishes for the pedestrian/utility tunnel

TD-49, south concourse apron.

The contract calls for the preparation of construction shop drawings, the supply of materials, construction and commissioning of the concourse apron. It also includes the structure for the passenger/utility tunnel, which will serve the satellite concourse

TD-50, air traffic control tower.

The scope of work includes preparation of construction shop drawings, supply of materials, construction and commissioning of the control tower and related support facilities

TD-53, central utility complex.

The package covers the preparation of construction shop drawings, material supply, construction and commissioning of the central plant

TD-54, terminal landside development. The contract involves detailed site design, preparation of construction shop drawings, material supply and construction of the landside site components, including relocating the airport road and associated parking, the pedestrian walkway system, landscaping and general site development work for the areas between the passenger terminal and the airport road

TD-55, passenger terminal renovation. Another substantial package, it consists of renovating the existing terminal to accommodate the tunnel connection to the new concourse, expansion of the existing facility to provide additional passenger check-in desks and an upgrade of the baggage handling system

TD-56, passenger loading bridges.

The contract covers the supply and installation of passenger loading bridges for 28 gates at the new satellite concourse

TD-58, elevators, escalators and moving walkways. The package provides for the supply, installation and testing of the passenger and freight elevators, escalators and moving walkways in the concourse, terminal and tunnel, plus passenger elevators for the control tower

TD-68, FIDS and BIDS systems.

The contract includes design, supply of materials and services, fabrication, delivery, installation start-up and testing of the flight information display system (FIDS) and baggage information display system (BIDS) for the new satellite concourse

TD-69, integrated systems. The package calls for the design, detailing, supply of material and services fabrication, delivery, erection. testing and calibration of the security, communications and building management systems for the new concourse, fuel farm, control tower, new charter terminal, including renovation of the existing terminal, the fire stations and central plant

TD-70, FF&E. The package includes the supply and installation of furniture, furnishings and equipment (FF&E) for the new concourse, pedestrian/utilitv tunnel and terminal TD-71, signing and graphics. The contract covers the supply, installation and testing of the signing and graphics for the new facilities