Flights Ahead of Time and Budget

02 Dec 2009

Construction of Dublin International Airport’s new €55m Terminal One extension, T1X, has completed and it is open for business, marking an impressive result for the expert multi-disciplined team who have worked meticulously on the ground-breaking and ambitious project since 2006.

T1X covers an area of 7500m2; over two storeys and a mezzanine level, providing high-quality facilities. At ground level lies the entrance to the underground baggage hall facilitating the whole airport and a retail delivery hub for both landside and airside retail. Above this, two upper levels provide extensive departures facilities, shops and restaurants in a steel superstructure, supported on columns and enclosed with fritted glazing.

The expansion is part of the €1.2bn Transforming Dublin Airport capital programme, which comprises more than 120 separate projects in total and provides much needed capacity to comfortably and efficiently accommodate the 20 million plus passengers who travel through the airport each year1. It has also enabled the introduction of new flights to and from Copenhagen and Oslo through Scandinavia’s second largest flight operator Norwegian.

RPS was initially appointed as project manager and engineer, and then as Employer’s Agent for DAA, and has been engaged on the following contracts within the capital programme:

  • Design of airside infrastructure facilities
  • Utilities design and construction supervision
  • Airside polluted water and surface water attenuation
  • Landside surface water attenuation
  • Planning Application for the northern parallel runway
  • Upgrade of the R132 airport approach road
  • Environmental monitoring and assessment
  • Terminal One extension
  • Contract administration for 1100m² direct retail outlet
  • Contract administration and technical consultancy for DAA retail rebranding
  • Dublin Airport city framework planning and civil/structural works

RPS’ input into the €55million T1X extension included acting as technical reviewer, contract administrator and site supervisor for the construction phases of the extension, and providing planning services and civil, structural and fire engineering for the project as well as advising on drainage and geotechnical matters.

The brief for the extension was incredibly challenging – the airport must remain operational on a continuous basis throughout the works, with the works site being the busiest area, and needing to allow free access through the existing terminal building.

RPS Technical Director, Stephen Byrne says:

"The Terminal 1 extension posed particular challenges, requiring extremely close collaboration. From the outset RPS affirmed the client that the sure way of achieving their ambitious programme was for T1X to be engineered as a solution predominantly built off-site, transported and erected on site with the minimum use of wet trades."

This innovative approach to the issue ensured the minimum disruption to airport operations, and enabled the construction to progress at an uninhibited speed once planning approvals has been confirmed. The timescale and budget restrictions were tight, and engineering the extension off-site meant that progress was kept on track to fit. The result of this process was that the extension was not only delivered below budget, but it also enabled it to be successfully delivered six weeks ahead of programme.

Another series of challenging projects undertaken by RPS has been the airside infrastructure facilities. This has involved the delivery of a new taxiway, widening existing taxiways, extending the parking aprons for aircraft and a new MV substation. Similar to the T1X project all of these projects required the airport to remain operational on a continuous basis. Sustainability solutions were also provided in the airfield infrastructure projects. An example was during the construction of 200,000m² of concrete surfacing to accommodate 21 aircraft where soil stabilisation techniques were used to strengthen the existing ground and thus reduced the amount of material that had to be removed from the construction site. In addition this also reduced the quantity of required granular material that needed to be imported. This technique not only reduced construction cost but significantly reduced the number of transport movements on the local highway network.

RPS Associate Director, Geoff Dewick commented, "The €80 million airside infrastructure projects were delivered within the time and budget constraints. Considering that the majority of these projects were being undertaken concurrently indicates the successful collaboration between the Client and RPS during the design and construction stages."


123.5 million passengers used the airport in 2008.

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