Terminal 5 Is Ready for Take-Off ; Twenty-Two Years in the Making, Heathrow's 4.2 Billion New Terminal Promises to Be One of the Most Exciting in the World

Article excerpt

WHILE construction Cassandras are already predicting mushrooming budgets and spectacular overruns on the delivery of the 2012 Olympics and associated East End regeneration projects, in west London one of Europe's largest and most complex construction projects is just six months away from a timely and well-costed completion.

Due to open on 30 March 2008, Heathrow's Terminal 5 will be one of the world's most exciting airport terminals.

BAA's 4.2 billion investment will cater for around 30 million passengers annually and provide much needed terminal and airfield capacity to ease congestion and enable Heathrow to maximise use of its existing runways.

On completion, British Airways will transfer its entire operation, currently split between Terminals 1 and 4, to T5. As a result BAA will be able to address the investment and refurbishment needs of the four remaining terminals and complete the transformation of Heathrow.

With 16 major projects and more than 147 sub-projects, Terminal 5 has encompassed a vast and hugely complex programme of works. Lauded by many as a template for major construction projects of the future, Terminal 5 has pushed the boundaries of traditional construction by harnessing innovation and best practice from other industries and translating it into mainstream construction management.

In addition to the main terminal building, T5 also consists of two satellite buildings (the second of which will be completed by 2011), 60 aircraft stands, a new air traffic control tower, a 4,000 space multistorey car park, the creation of a new spur road from the M25, a 600-bed hotel, the diversion of two rivers and more than 13km of bored tunnel, including extensions to the Heathrow Express and Piccadilly 'Lauded by template for construction the future, has pushed boundaries construction harnessing and best practice'

line services. Perhaps the recent pace and achievements at T5 are all the more impressive because of the project's difficult birth.

When the terminal opens it will have been more than 22 years since the initial planning began a period prolonged by a planning application which led to a four-year public inquiry, the longest on record.

While inspectors ruled in favour of expansion, 700 conditions were attached to the outline planning permission, and excavation of the site biggest single of the site precipitated the biggest single site archaeological survey, unearthing more than 80,000 artefacts. Work didn't start in earnest on the site until the summer of 2002. …