Current design and materials would make Maynard Jackson International Terminal too costly. (Photo by Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport)

Officials at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are trying to preserve the original $688-million budget for its planned new international terminal by cutting $140 million off projected costs through design changes.

A cost dispute flared when the construction manager at risk, a joint venture of Holder, Atlanta; Manhattan Construction, Tulsa; C.D. Moody, Atlanta; and Hunt Construction Group, Scottsdale, Ariz., determined that the terminal would run $200 million over budget as currently designed. The design team, a joint venture of Leo A. Daly Co., Omaha; KHAFRA Engineering Consultants, Atlanta; Anthony C. Baker Architects & Planners, New York City; and Browder + LeGuizamon and Assoc., Atlanta, disputed the CM’s estimate, but eventually agreed to attempt the redesign, says Felicia Browder, an airport spokeswoman.

The airport issued a notice of default of contract on June 30, providing designers with seven days to provide a cure, says Browder. The team came back with an extensive data set and the two sides went into meetings starting July 12 to determine the best way to get the project back on track. They hope to reach an agreement by next week, says Browder.

The complexity of the design and material costs are the two major culprits, say officials. The design was determined to need twice the volume of steel originally anticipated by designers. This need for additional steel is exacerbated greatly by its skyrocketing price, Browder says.

The CM has a vested interest in ensuring the project can be delivered within budget constraints. The joint venture will be completely liable for every dollar the construction runs over budget, regardless of cause, says Browder. Benjamin DeCosta, Hartsfield Aviation Manager, credits this liability for catching the design problems so early in the process.

The design team chairman, Jerry Voith, was unable to comment on the specifics of the dispute because of contractual reasons. He did say: "We are very concerned about this and want an equitable solution."