Southwest Airlines Technical Operations Center at Denver International Airport


Award of Merit

Submitted by: Swinerton

Owner: Southwest Airlines; Denver International Airport

Lead Design Firm: Ghafari Associates LLC

General Contractor: Swinerton

Structural Engineer: Sure Steel Inc.

Plumbing/HVAC: Murphy Co. Mechanical

Owner's Representative: JViation Inc.

Electrical/Data: Weifield Group Contracting

Owner’s Representative: Jviation Inc.

Designed to house three Boeing 737 aircraft and park an additional eight on the apron, this $91.5-million, 128,000-sq-ft hangar incorporates a heavy steel and structural concrete frame that bridges a 270-ft clear span and included 48,000 cu yd of concrete. Ghafari was midway through building a similar hangar in Houston, so the team visited the site to consider means, methods and assess value engineering for the work in Denver. Realizing that similarly designed precast panels would block concurrent underground work, a team-focused constructibility effort refined the precast panel detail in Denver, which allowed exterior bracing, saving time. Crews also recognized an opportunity to reuse debris as subgrade fill, which saved time and money and reduced the building’s embodied carbon count. The project continued through the pandemic, making it Southwest’s only capital improvement project operating at the time. The owner switched the delivery strategy from “speed to market” to “trickle along,” restricting spending to $3 million a month. This required resequencing trades within the critical path method schedule against a controlled monthly burn, and cash-flow allocations had to be within 5%. Nevertheless, construction ended on time and within budget.