Airports today serve as important hubs for a region around which business and innovation often thrive. Heathrow airport does serve that function in the London area. A lot of facilities locate themselves near Heathrow to take advantage of its status as an international hub airport. The famous architectural critic, Reyner Banham, once described airports as being continually redundant.
The Capital Investment Program at Dublin Airport is one of the largest infrastructural programs in the State. It is a response to huge growth in both passenger numbers and freight transport. Dublin Airport is projected to continue growing into the future necessitating the development of further new facilities.
In 2002, 15 million passengers were processed at Dublin Airport. By 2007, that number had risen to 23 million passengers. By the time, the brand new Terminal 2 is complete Dublin airport will have the capacity for 35 million passengers and an extra 20 aircraft boarding gates. This affords a lot more capacity for long haul flights.
Airports are the last major unskilled worker employer in western economies. Dublin Airport Authority has 3300 employees. Until recently, Dell, the computer manufacturing was the biggest private employer in Ireland with over 3,000 employees. Manual to white collar worker ratio was about 1:1.
Dublin Airport Authority is 100% owned by the Irish State. Other major airports around the world such as Heathrow are owned and by private companies. DAA receives no government funding, but still has €600 million in annual turnover from airport charges and commercial revenues.
The initial master plan for Dublin Airport was done by Irish firm ‘Project Management’ in 2002. The airport study began with the analysis of baseline capacities and service capabilities. What its existing facilities and infrastructure was able to handle. The next phase was to develop various approaches to land use. A study which generated 31 ‘high-level’ options.
Following an extensive evaluation process, four options were short-listed and ranked in terms of functionality, deliverability and cost. From that range of options, it was narrowed down to the final option, which is the current master plan. All stages of the process involved inclusive and transparent consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.
The planning application procedure consisted of two different streams. All 130 projects would go initially to An Bord Pleannala to be assessed. An Bord Pleannala is Ireland’s higher council for planning permission approval. If not deemed to be ‘strategic infrastructure’ by the Bord, the planning application would go to Fingal County Council for normal processing. An Bord Pleannala would assess projects based on a four week cycle.
Spending €2 billion required stepping up to the next level in management consulting. Program management was deemed necessary in this multi-project environment. The goal was to enable a consistent and common reporting methodology across all projects. Dublin Airport Authority needed to fully integrate UK program management consultants Turner & Townsend into their team. T&T set themselves up as the central information control for all projects. They handled all project management, document control and change management.
T&T have a background in aviation and were involved in the Terminal 5 project at Heathrow. Their Irish branch office, Healy Kelly Turner and Townsend became the ‘programme office’ for the client DAA. They were responsible for presenting and managing the integrated master program and cost schedules (including cash flow).
Also involved at T5 in Heathrow were the Arup team from London. Arup handled engineering, construction management and architectural design. So Turner and Townsend and Arup joined forces again in Dublin. Many of the contractors at T5 in Heathrow were the same at T2 in Dublin.
Dublin Airport Authority being a state owned institution was required to provide clear visibility and reporting. DAA’s job to demonstrate the value delivered to the wider stakeholders at the airport. It was also hoped that efficient reporting, would provide the information needed to drive ‘action’ in all projects. Information quickly becomes outdated in a multi-project environment. Reporting had to be provided in a timely manner from accurate data sources. This involved a document management system applied to all levels of the organisation.
Major stakeholders included Aer Lingus as tenant in the new Terminal 2 building. The landside and airside upgrade works program affected many more stakeholders. Landside projects amounted to €120 million in investment. The CEO of Ryanair was vocal in his opinions about progress being made. DAA’s job was to identify and proactively manage all stakeholders to minimise risk whilst maximising opportunities.
Forecasted costs were input into DAA’s own cost database. Prima Vera P6 was then linked to this database. The system allowed viewing of the cost scheduling, both past & future. It was used for the processing of payments and it left an audit trail. Inputs into Prima Vera P6 were items such as ‘start and finishes’, major milestones etc. Outputs from Prima Vera included Excel work stream reports, interface registers, change control and information to DAA finance, an Oracle database.
The plan was to deliver priority work first. The phasing of projects is important, to find a logical path through the entire investment programme. To smooth resources, both internal and external across the program. To help the contractors on site, and also offer best value to the client, Dublin Airport Authority. Major Milestones are targets, which have to be achieved. Failure to do so will have repercussions throughout the entire program. The main ones are listed below.
2006, New Coach Park
2006/09, Aircraft Parking Stands
2006 Temporary Forward Lounge
2006 Ground Floor Check-In (Area 14)
2007 Pier D
2007/08 Terminal 1 North Extension
2009 Terminal 2
2009 Pier E
2009 New Kerbs and Access Ramps
2010/11 Pier B Extension
2010/11 Internal Road Network
Turner and Townsend developed a project review structure with DAA called the gateway procedure. The gateway procedure enabled projects to align themselves with the program. Peer review of all project proposals could happen in an orderly fashion. The approval process worked on a 4-week cycle. If you did not submit details of your project at the beginning of a cycle, you had to wait for the next cycle.
The system of ‘gateways’ would designate the level of completion of individual projects. The range is from ‘G1’ to ‘G5’. At the gateway one, the consultants needed for a project were approached. Financial approval would begin at this stage. The Gateway Committee could approve anything up to half a million euro. The CAC, Capital Approval Committee could approve projects costing up to €3 million. Any projects over €3 million in cost would require DAA board approval meetings. By gateway four, financial approval had been settled and construction could begin. By gateway four, the key stakeholders also had to be identified. Gateway five signified the post-construction stage.
€40 million per month’s worth of construction cannot be delivered without a coherent cost and schedule plan. Decisions need to be made based on the most current information. Dashboard reporting was found to be an excellent tool for high-level management. To see immediately where the red areas were.
DAA found that ‘expenditure’ was a good indicator of the progress a contractor was making. A good question to ask: Is the contractor spending his projected budget for this month? Reporting methods have to be defined for each organisational level. Reporting ‘calendars’ were produced by Prima Vera. The calendars turned out to be an effective presentation method.
DAA wanted to operate the safest construction site in Ireland. An Accident Frequency Ration of less than half the national standard was the target. A safety ‘league table’ proved useful for the contractors on site. The method, borrowed heavily from the Soccer League Manager computer game. ‘Rogue reporting’ by contracts managers who are under pressure is always a risk. Quality of input needs careful scrutiny. Compliance with Quality Assurance and safety management needs to be consistent across all projects in the capital investment program.
Interface management is needed for the 20 or so, different third party stakeholders on the airport campus. An interface might be a neighbouring project. It was important to have consistent reporting to all stakeholders. Specific individuals known as ‘Interface coordinators’ were appointed by Turner & Townsend.
In one instance, six companies on the car rental campus had to be moved to new facilities across the road. Car parking for company employees had to be managed. It was necessary to keep stakeholders informed in advance, to allow time to make such adjustments.
Interface management, was handled in the following way: Identify the interface, assess the interface and control it. Interface registers were developed and linked to Prima Vera. The registers could identify ‘at risk’ interfaces. Simple colour codes were used: Green, Amber and Red. The risk register was found to be an extremely useful tool. The measuring or ‘scoring’ of risk could be standardized for all 130 projects.
This would help to alleviate a problem: Individual project managers had their own personal ways of scoring or measuring risk. A common method for assessment of risk and contingency management had to be found. Turner and Townsend provided plenty of ‘risk and value engineering’ workshops. This in turn, helped to coordinate the publishing of reports.
Risk is measured in terms of a hierarchical structure. The strategic level being at the top. Followed by programmatic, work stream and individual project level. While Prima Vera technology does help to identify risk and manage it – it does not remove the need for individual project managers to speak to each other. T&T consultants made it their goal to embed a ‘risk management culture’ in Dublin Airport Authority.
Risk and opportunity management needs to be tackled at both the program and at the project level. A good example of ‘opportunity’ management is as follows: The months of June, July and August need long-term car parking. But for the remaining months of the year, that area of car parking space could be used to store building materials. This is the kind of strategic thinking that Turner and Townsend wanted to embed in the client organisation, Dublin Airport Authority.
At Dublin Airport, there was €1.2 billion to be spent over the 130 projects, in a period of a few years. With so many discrete projects within the airport campus created a huge number of interfaces between different projects and stakeholders. The need to identify interfaces, manage risk and control information is evident in this final example.
The power supply network within Dublin Airport campus was inadequate to cope with all the new projects. As part of the overall works program, a new MV Campus distribution network and switchgear upgrade was required. The Terminal 2 site was off limits to Dublin Airport Authority. The appointed main contractor for Terminal 2 had to supervise 900 people on site and therefore required independent control of the site for the duration of the contract. 20% of all MV ductwork had to be completed was within the Terminal 2 site area.
The remaining 80% of MV ductwork was within DAA controlled area. The interface between the 80% and 20% of MV ducting was very important. Permanent power supply had to be delivered to Terminal 2 by May 2009 for final commissioning. The ‘hand-over’ of an airport terminal involves the full training of airport staff in managing the building systems. The more time you leave for this activity in your program the better. As the team at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 learned in the past. More detailed information about Terminal 2 at Dublin airport can be found in the second half of this report.
Brian O' Hanlon