Denver International Airport (DIA) celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and PCL Construction is particularly proud to have had a hand in building one of the nation’s busiest airports. In 1995 PCL helped build DIA’s main terminal, and for the past two decades PCL has continued its partnership, helping build projects that continue to make travel easier for the nearly 26 million passengers the airport sees annually.
A beautiful sun rises behind Denver International
Airport’s iconic main terminal.
A view from inside Denver International Airport’s
PCL Construction raises the
Teflon-coated fabric roof structure of the
Denver International Airport.
The Sky is the Limit
Airports are “continuously upgrading existing facilities,” said PCL vice president and project director, Dale Kain. “Cities are looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and that means expanding to keep up with increasing needs of the traveling public.”
Several trends are at play right now in the aerospace industry, but the one with the most direct impact on travelers is the perceived need to improve the passenger experience. By creating spaces that take advantage of natural daylight and the larger volume of newer airports, facilities are able to provide greater comfort and increased passenger amenities, making for an enhanced overall travel experience.
Several airports have added overnight accommodations, high-end restaurants, wine bars, and luxury retail shops, which help entice passengers to stay in the vicinity of their boarding gate rather than venturing off-site.
Planning Makes Perfect
“Airports are unique to construct in that you have to understand the land-side and the air-side challenges,” said PCL’s national director, preconstruction services, Steve Vrabel. “Security is also very strict, to say the least.” Access to and from the air-side is typically very restricted and must be coordinated daily. There are also many items to consider when building an airport, such as “baggage handling systems, low voltage, and sterile and secure corridors.”
Proper planning, the use of innovative techniques, and scheduling are of the utmost importance during large-scale builds. “DIA was the single largest hard-bid job ever attempted by PCL at the time,” said general superintendent, Dan MacDonald. “At first, PCL was stretched, but through proper project management we were able to overcome the challenges, and in my opinion DIA ended as a huge success, and I’m proud to say PCL had a hand in it.”