Rising to the Challenge of Airport Facilities Management

Rising to the Challenge of Airport Facilities Management Recently Invicara exhibited at the 2019 Airport Planning, Design, and Construction Symposium. During the conference, airport facilities management, owners, and other industry professionals come together to discuss the latest industry trends and technology, with a strong focus on building and managing an airport. We had a great experience at the Symposium, and, as in years past, were impressed by how knowledgeable and plugged in the attendees are. The conference has tracks for landside, airside, and construction and project management, with a host of technical workshops and presentations. Brian Smith, our Application Services Consultant, and I attended on behalf of Invicara, and spoke with many airport owners and builders to discuss the challenges they faced - both landside and airside. Brian noted, “We found that with BIM awareness growing in this market, our conversations were less about ‘what BIM is’ and more about ‘how can BIM help.’” During the Symposium, I had the opportunity to be a panelist for the “Technology and Airside” discussion. My fellow panelists spoke about innovation, like drone use at airports, and we learned about the first U.S. test case for a virtual air traffic controller – which is a fantastic project. I contributed to the discussion by explaining the value of BIM for Facility Management Next Day Readiness. Our panel of industry vets did a great job at illustrating how enthusiastic airport builders, managers, and operators are to embrace the latest technological trends, including BIM.

What Makes the Impact of Airport Construction and Facility Management Unique?

Airports face the same challenges as structures in other industries, but with a potentially greater impact. Brian explains, “Airports are like self-contained miniature cities. They have their own police force, medical services, restaurants - and thousands of people moving through every day. This creates a lot of data - and airports need a way to stay on top of it. So, when something goes wrong, there’s a lot at stake. That’s why BIM is essential for airport management - a centralized location for all the information related to things like safety access, vendor leasing information, user manuals, asset location could mean the difference between a manageable issue and a catastrophic event. Any amount of downtime for an airport is astronomical.” For example, if an electrical malfunction forces a terminal to shut down, the airport is responsible for reimbursing the airlines that rent that terminal. Time is of the essence, but with BIM’s ability to provide both data and special location information, you can go right to the issue and correct it as quickly as possible - and without pulling out a bunch of drywall looking for the problem. “Based on conversations we had with conference attendees, professionals are realizing that BIM is an essential tool for the management of their airports,” Brian adds.

Closing Thoughts

This year’s event solidified our belief that the aviation industry is becoming more aware of the benefits that BIM provides for buildings – during project development and throughout the building’s lifecycle. We look forward to continuing our conversations on how Invicara’s solutions can help airport FMs collect and manage their data to preserve time and money throughout construction, and beyond.