Working in the World’s Busiest Airport
The Carroll Daniel | Force Joint Venture Team has been hard at work at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — working night shifts on the Domestic Terminal Interior Enhancement Project and Fire Life Safety Enhancement Project. This project, happening at the busiest airport in the world in a building where roughly 7 million travelers pass through monthly, includes removing and replacing the North terminal and South terminal ceiling systems with new infrastructure, signage, and lighting.
The ceiling system replacements are taking place throughout the domestic terminal complex, including baggage claim areas, North and South ticketing halls and North and South circulation corridors. The domestic terminal is also receiving new overhead LED lighting and LED cove lighting along the corridors.
Maintaining Communications Capabilities
Our project team is also refitting the existing communications equipment, including the cellular distributed antenna system (DAS) — an effective way to deal with poor reception inside a structure — by installing small antennas that serve as wireless cellular signal repeaters, which are physically connected to a central controller integrated with the wireless carrier’s network.
Working with Travelers & Staff in Mind
The project team is also refitting the people counters and emergency broadcast systems into the new ceiling system, upgrading the public address systems and installing new wayfinding signage, throughout the domestic terminal complex.
Fire Life Safety Enhancement
For the Fire Life Safety Enhancement Project, the scope of work includes:
· Replacing doors and frames throughout the entire domestic terminal. The doors will receive upgrades to hardware, security access control systems and signage.
· Making improvements in various stairwells to maintain current code requirements, including handrail and guard rail replacement.
· Replacing fire dampers and ductwork.
· Removing and replacing old smoke exhaust fans on the roof and installing new roofing and flashing.
· Improving fire alarm components.
· Spray fireproofing exposed structural members in certain areas along the North and South passenger corridors.
· Installing new HVAC air diffusers along the corridors.
Challenges & Solutions of Working in an Occupied Airport
The biggest obstacle of this project is working in the busiest building in the busiest airport in the world. Working in an occupied airport, where operations never stop, many unforeseen factors can limit the number of working hours available in a given night, such as late arrival of flights or unusually high passenger volume. Our team’s ability to remain flexible has been critical to the success of this project. On the nights when it is determined that work cannot safely proceed in a particular area due to late flight arrivals or high passenger volume, we pivot to another active work area to keep progress moving.
Prioritizing Safety for Travelers, Staff, and Subcontractor Partners
Safety is a primary concern on any job but becomes especially pertinent when working in close proximity to passengers and other airport employees. From the beginning, our Safety Team implemented numerous specific safety procedures to account for the risks involved in this project.
An Airport First, a Construction Site Second
Around 4:00 or 5:00 each morning when the project team’s shift is over, the team needs to ensure that the airport is fully operational, minimizing any evidence of the amount of construction work that occurred overnight. Laying tarps over baggage claim carousels and floors prior to starting work helps the team cut down clean up time tremendously, and subcontractor partners work together at the end of each shift to make sure the airport is fully functional again.
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