Can you give us a brief background about the Midfield Terminal Building project and its scope?

Steven John
Project Director

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) engaged Trojan to complete the construction of its Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC) at ADIA. The building’s design includes a unique undulating roof that is expected to be visible from over 1.5 km away, rising 52 m above aluminum roof cladding set on 84,000 tons of structural steel. The envelope also includes over 200,000 m2 of high performance glass curtain wall. The concrete works measure approximately 640,000 m3, with 130,000 tons of reinforcement. The terminal interior consists of an 8,400 m2 indoor park, 10,000 m2 of international restaurants, 20,000 m2 of retail and outlets, 27,500 m2 of airline lounges and a transit hotel. Passenger and employee transit through the building will be facilitated by the 159 elevators, 129 escalators and 56 moving walkways, 106 gates, 165 check-in counters, and the baggage handling system is designed to handle 18,000 bags per hour. The striking interior consists of 225,000 m2 stonework, cut to distinctive shapes, and over 270,000 m2 of metal ceiling panels, each piece with a unique shape to fit to the high curved surfaces. The MTC is designed to take into account the Urban Planning Council’s Estidama sustainability guidelines and achieve a Three Pearl rating. Several key sustainable features include low thermal conductivity glass facades angled to minimize heat load, day-lighting to interior spaces, solid cladding to further reduce the impact of the sun, water conservation and waste water reuse for irrigation. Furthermore, the highest standard of BIM is being used to ensure integration and coordination of building systems to maximize efficiency.

What were the main challenges that you faced on this project?

Logistics movement and accessibility within the large expansive volume of the space not only effected the efficiency and productivity of our workforce but also presented a safety and security risk for our project team. Our safety and construction leadership set the tone for excellence on the project to maximise the output of productive works whilst exercising zero tolerance on our safety and quality standards. To date, the MTB project has crossed more than 15 million manhours without LTI. Also on a large, complex project such as the MTB, keeping our trades on schedule whilst dealing with the diverse and often changing requirements of the client has been a key challenge. Our technical and commercial teams were at the forefront of managing the project stakeholders to ensure the client’s vision is being achieved and buildable solutions being put forward for a timely delivery whilst complying with all statutory authority compliances.

This type of project is new in Trojan’s portfolio. How do you believe this project will set the tone for other types of projects in Trojan’s Future?

We have built a strong delivery focused team which is showing a proven capability to work efficiently and effectively in a very challenging environment. Furthermore, this world class project comprises advanced and sophisticated systems with complexities that are unique for Trojan and required developing relationships with a variety of new stakeholders. As such we are gaining valuable exposure into advanced and complicated technologies which we can harness and adopt for our future projects. 

How will this project benefit Abu Dhabi and align it with the vision that Abu Dhabi Airports has of being the world’s leading airport operator?

This world class building is designed to accommodate up to 27 million passengers annually (8,500 passenger capacity/hour) in order to meet the future needs of one of the fastest growing airports in the world. The 700,000 m2 terminal building is located between the north and south runways, allowing for more stands and a quicker, smoother experience for passengers.

How is this project different than others in terms of scale and expectations?

Simply put, this is a project of national importance and Trojan have been bestowed a great responsibility in delivering this landmark facility.

What is peculiar about undertaking a project of this magnitude, and maintaining an airport of that size and traffic?

Our team’s had to focus their efforts on safety, production and quality whilst meeting a number of complex constraints on the project. Some sections of the project had deteriorated and presented unstable conditions, in particular the external elements and their inground services network. This meant our crews working in and around live services, many of which had very little space to work. Our logistics and construction planning were instrumental in assisting with our sequencing methodology. Further, ensuring the ongoing maintenance of the commissioned airport operating systems has been paramount to our success. This has been particularly unique as many of the previously installed equipment that were in dire need of upgrade relied on parts that were either obsolete or sourced outside the region. Our procurement team faced difficult challenges in sourcing the requirements within the very tight time schedule to ensure project success.