With 73.4 million passengers arriving at and departing from Heathrow Airport in 2014, baggage handling is a key and complex issue which has seen a lot of investment in recent years. The Terminal 3 Integrated Baggage project is the latest development in this investment, creating a new state-of-the-art facility which enables both direct and transfer bags to be processed in one connected facility. Such a complex project required experienced project management to manage the relationships between the multiple parties involved.
“Royal HaskoningDHV’s experience of providing integrated project management services on airport projects proved invaluable in the Terminal 3 Integrated Baggage project. Managing multiple stakeholders and delivering on time and on budget, we are delighted with the success of this complex project and the recognition it has received from Heathrow Airport.”
Juan Pablo Perez, T3IB project manager
at Ferrovial Agroman
The main driver of the project was automation. Using advanced robotics technology, the Terminal 3 Integrated Baggage (T3IB) system processes all of Terminal 3’s baggage under one roof. With the new system in place, the airport is able to provide better passenger services and even faster and more reliable baggage connections. Automated devices within the system bring safer ways of handling baggage and eliminate around 12 million physical bag lifts per year.
As part of the project, which cost approximately £450million, and given the company’s previous work with Ferrovial Agroman on projects at Heathrow Airport, Royal HaskoningDHV’s experts were responsible for providing integrated project management services on the project. Given the company’s success with Heathrow’s Post Terminal 5 Transfer Baggage System project, which created a 2.1km network of underground baggage tunnels beneath the airfield, Royal HaskoningDHV was well positioned to support Ferrovial Agroman on the T3IB project.
The main responsibilities of the team included the following services:
- Integration Management
- Logistics & Production Planning
- Stakeholder Management
- Systems Assurance
- Handover Management
Royal HaskoningDHV was appointed in October 2011 and initially developed the Logistics & Production plans for one of the most challenging airside locations at Heathrow Airport, surrounded by airfield roads, passengers, live baggage operation to the south, all during the Olympic Games embargo throughout 2012. These plans, together with rigorous Stakeholder Management were critical in ensuring the airport operations continued without any unplanned disruption throughout the project.
Since the construction process took place in the middle of the UK’s busiest airport, the logistics of having multiple parties on site delivering different components in the construction sequence was a challenge which had to be managed efficiently.
“As is the nature of projects on such a vast scale as this, elements of the construction plan are always subject to change, and we had to be very flexible. The integration role on the project involved managing the numerous interfaces between the Heathrow project team, the baggage system supplier and Ferrovial Agroman, and to provide support and guidance as required,” commented Sandy McIver, Integrated Project Management Director, Royal HaskoningDHV.
There were numerous stakeholders involved in the project – from airport operations and engineering to retailers, baggage handlers and the airlines themselves – meaning that key updates had to be communicated to each of these groups as the project progressed. Royal HaskoningDHV held regular update meetings throughout the construction phase in order to achieve this. Another challenge was the main construction window as a large proportion of the work was pre-assembled off site – such as a 256 tonne, 156m link bridge – and had to be installed at night while the airport was closed. As part of the project management, Royal HaskoningDHV worked with Heathrow Airport to negotiate better working windows for the construction team, which helped keep the project on track as well as the airport operating as normal.
Heathrow Airport’s Project Manager, Jonathan Smith, described the challenge of delivering and erecting 6,500 tonnes of steel, 8,000m³ of concrete and 15,000m² of cladding in the middle of one of the world’s busiest airports as “akin to building the Eiffel Tower in the middle of Piccadilly Circus.”
Royal HaskoningDHV was involved in the project from October 2011 to June 2014.
“As part of the project, we outlined the importance of the handover process for T3IB at a very early stage,” continued Sandy McIver. “Handover management is a specialist service we offer, and it is recognised that the project set a new standard for a timely handover and transfer of over 6,000 assets to the operational database. Following the airport’s own certification procedures, we completed the second and final part of this requirement seamlessly, just four months after the first phase handover was completed.”
Juan Pablo Perez, T3IB project manager at Ferrovial Agroman commented: “Given Royal HaskoningDHV’s proven expertise, the team’s knowledge proved invaluable to deliver the project on budget and on time. Royal HaskoningDHV’s integrated approach with the project team was extremely cost-effective and efficient. The team began the project with the end in mind, and this was truly evident in just how successful the building handover was in October 2013.”