McCarran TSA Checked Baggage Recapitalization
Las Vegas
Best Project

Owner/Developer: Clark County Dept. of Aviation
General Contractor: McCarthy Building Cos.
Lead Design Firm: Swanson-Rink
Structural Engineer: Walter P Moore
Architect: PGAL

This $54-million project focused on providing a checked baggage screening system to replace the explosive detection system in McCarran Airport’s Terminal 1.

The project meets Transportation Security Administration standards. Finished in November 2017, the new system will allow airport workers to process up to 45,000 bags a day.

Five screening areas were constructed to meet the TSA’s latest guidelines and design standards.

Work for each phase included 3D mapping and reconstruction as well as internal and external measures that replaced the controls, electrical and mechanical systems.

Project workers also completed structural, architectural and environmental upgrades in each node.

The team completed all goals on time or early.

Because of the numerous stakeholders, project phases and duration, effective communication was vital in allowing the team to finish the initial contract nearly 10% under budget and about 90 days early in part by using the Last Planner System to promote clarity and buy-in from trade partners.

“The team found the more integrated approach encouraged collaboration between various third-party entities and set the stage for common goal alignment,” says Nicole Fehring of McCarthy Building Cos.

As the project progressed, workers made structural, architectural and environmental improvements as required by air carriers, tenants or the McCarran airport authority.

Existing sorting and screening systems of Terminal 1 were built independently of one another—that meant systematically replacing the original system with new hardware and software. Over a 34-month period, this challenge was achieved without impacting a single bag.

Since the baggage handling system requires redundancy, the construction team first developed those systems. Once they were in place, decommission began on existing systems. After constructing the new conveyance systems, the team put them through three testing phases. In conjunction with the TSA, designers and Clark County Dept. of Aviation, the team collaborated for nine months during preconstruction to sequence air carrier relocations. In turn, this allowed for 20% of the terminal to be shut down in seven-month increments.