With the launch of its $2.3-billion Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport faces one of the most daunting tasks in its nearly 40-year history. Since its grand opening in 1974, the airport itself has literally taken off. It now ranks as the world's fourth-largest airport in size of operations and eighth in passengers carried, hosting nearly 58 million passengers in 2011.

With facilities reaching the end of their design life, the airport authority crafted a plan to renovate its legacy terminals A, B, C and E. The team would need to coordinate with dozens of stakeholders, concessionaires and airline operations. Add in the evolving airline industry—including primary tenant American Airlines now working through bankruptcy—and planners faced a highly dynamic environment that required them to be nimble at all times. In response, DFW called on its hundreds of designers, consultants and contractors to explore new ways to collaborate, while promoting an expanded mission to support small local contractors. For its efforts, ENR Texas & Louisiana has named Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport its 2012 Owner of the Year.

"I don't think anyone envisioned we'd become the international super-hub that we are today," says Perfecto Solis, DFW vice president of airport development and engineering. "We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink our facilities and make sure we remain viable and competitive."

TRIP Planning

Since the upgrade program, known as TRIP, broke ground in February 2011, teams have been renovating the terminals while they remain in operation, enhancing concession spaces, reworking self-ticketing areas and expanding and reconfiguring security checkpoints. A new DART station, a new parking structure and roadway enhancements are also planned.

In crafting its plan for TRIP, the authority drew largely from previous experiences building Terminal D between 2000 and 2005. The terminal was a greenfield project so the team foresaw added challenges in the TRIP plan, as daily operations would be impacted more directly, Solis says. The team sought to build on its success and find new solutions to lessons learned.

The authority chose to split the bulk of the work between two construction-manager-at-risk contracts. Terminal A, Terminal C, the DART station and the new Terminal A Enhanced Parking Structure were awarded to a joint venture of Balfour Beatty Construction, Azteca Enterprises, H.J. Russell & Co. and CARCON Industries, known as BARC, and all with Dallas offices. The Dallas-based team of Manhattan Construction Co., Thos. S. Byrne, James R. Thompson and 3i Construction, known as MBJ3, is handling renovations of Terminal B and Terminal E.

Although two separate teams lead different scopes of work, they are one in the eyes of the airport, Solis says. Collaboration became the mantra for the project as teams learned to work together more efficiently and across competitive lines.

"In the big picture, Balfour Beatty is a competitor, but at DFW we're co-workers," says Greg McClure, chief estimator at Manhattan Construction. "DFW encourages us to all be on the same page. We don't want subs saying that we do it one way and Balfour does it another. We confer with each other a lot, whether it's about insurances, contracts or bid packages. That started with DFW pushing the two of us together."

Jacobs, which oversees design of the BARC scope, and AECOM, which designed the MBJ3 scope, each engaged with their respective construction teams early in the process to help speed delivery and promote coordination.