The National Academies

ACRP 09-07 [Completed]

Airport Maintenance Roles in Planning, Design, Construction, Commissioning, and Activation

  Project Data
Funds: $200,000
Research Agency: Michigan State University
Principal Investigator: Mohamed El-Gafy
Effective Date: 11/13/2012
Completion Date: 10/31/2014

Airport maintenance personnel are among the first to recognize and identify issues with facilities and equipment that have been designed, installed, and activated. Many of these issues may have been averted had maintenance personnel been effectively engaged in the planning, design, and construction decision-making process. As systems become more sophisticated and expensive and as there is greater attention to sustainability (e.g., life-cycle costs), the inclusion of individuals with hands-on maintenance experience at key decision points becomes even more valuable. Maintenance personnel may not be effectively engaged because of a lack of awareness as to the value of their input, organizational or institutional factors that impede their participation, or communication issues. Also, maintenance personnel may lack experience with reading (visualizing) design/construction drawings or there may be several distinct maintenance skills and individuals needed (i.e., pavement, vehicle, HVAC, electrical, etc.) to recognize significant design issues in different capital projects or equipment acquisitions.  Expanding participation, enhancing communication or engaging maintenance personnel, perhaps for the first time, in the capital project/equipment process requires commitment, time, and money. Airports need to see the benefit in order to rationalize such an investment of time/money and conclude that engaging maintenance personnel is cost effective. Research is needed to examine the fiscal, customer service, goodwill, safety, efficiency, and other impacts so that all stakeholders may see the full value of including airport maintenance at key decision points of capital projects and capital equipment acquisitions. Airport managers need an objective demonstration of the merits, benefits, and value of adding maintenance personnel to these processes and to provide guidance on how to facilitate their effective participation.

The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook for airport executives, airport department heads, and other capital project/equipment decision makers that examines the merits, benefits, and value of engaging airport maintenance personnel at key decision points during planning, design, construction, commissioning, and activation of capital projects and capital equipment acquisitions. Guidance must present examples and techniques that are applicable to a variety of types and sizes of airports, address different types of capital projects and equipment acquisitions, and be relevant to alternative organizational structures or project-management approaches. The guidebook should present general observations and anecdotal examples of good practice that can assist airports as they work to include maintenance in capital projects and equipment acquisitions. It should offer assistance for airports to examine capital project/equipment cycles in the context of sustainable life-cycle costs that fully assess maintenance costs. There should be an examination of project accountability, budgetary considerations, design/construction contract requirements, and common communication protocols with and without maintenance personnel engaged.   Recommended practices can be augmented with a series of case studies that demonstrate success or positive outcomes and emphasize lessons learned. If appropriate, examples from other industries can be used to articulate specific innovations, lessons learned, and good practices that are relevant to airports. The guidebook should contain practical applications that airports can quickly and easily implement, such as templates, checklists, and flowcharts.
STATUS: The contractor submitted the project's final report and guidebook in October 2014.  Research is complete.

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