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Airports: the best target for BIM's takeoff

The main advantages of the methodology could be crucial to the maintenance and rehabilitation of this constructions

Published: 20/07/2017

Country: Spain

As you may know, airports need not only big amounts of space for the landing and takeoff of the aircraft but also a large infrastructure, that includes a lot of buildings. We could be talking about a small city. But, even if it seems like a large and complicated project, the size of this big infrastructure is the perfect target for the BIM modeling. In an airport, it is easy to find different systems with different functions gathered together. It may seem like a chaotic environment, but below this complicated and large chain of actives involved in the process, an airport it is a perfect system managed by a lot of professionals very well trained. Therefore, we have to be extra cautious: an airport receives a lot of planes and people every day or even every hour, and we should be able to predict or at least, take into a consideration possible external problems. We're talking about the weather, animals, technical breakdowns and a large etc... all these small issues that can cause an unhappy experience of all the travelers. 

Tourism is one of the main economies worldwide. Therefore, airport authorities find so important to work towards an improved leisure environment where all the passengers can enjoy a better traveling experience with fewer inconveniences. Customer care has jumped into the first of the airline's concerns, bringing them all the accommodations available. To achieve this, the new airports will include great terminal designs including more intuitive and quick security verification, check-in and baggage handling or cleaner restrooms. The new 3D environment with the AR/VR will provide a useful tool for the operators to make good decisions since they will be able to see the whole space. The main aim of this new workflow will be to improve customer experience above all.


There are few airports built from scratch, especially in North America and Europe, with the exception of the City of Mexico, currently designed with BIM. The main goal is to expand existing buildings or focus on the ones that need rehabilitation, more than new construction. A well-planned strategy will decrease the impacts of the project in regular operations. Coordinating the model along the pre-construction will provide a wide vision of the potential risks. Using 4D simulations at the appropriate moment will also be determined to prevent design and further planning errors. 

Like the rest of the buildings, the airports must keep their budget between the established limits. As we have seen before, the planning is crucial to be able to design a perfect road map. Therefore, there would not be necessary to invest a massive amount of money in airport projects. The money would be applied wisely because a waste would also have negative impacts on OPEX, not only economically but also energy costs. Normally, airports have a lot of spaces dedicated to passengers, and it is very important to be able to handle the outside temperature variations and re-invested in a more sustainable way. With BIM, is more easy to identify the better designs in the first stage of the design. That will help with the carbon footprint, one of the pending tasks of the airports.  


Functioning systems are provided by the authorities to offer on-demand functionalities for both the airlines and passengers, so it is very important to keep those systems. For that, it is very important to take into consideration the equipment information during and after the renovation process. In more sophisticated airports, we can find operational plans focused on ensuring the smooth transition from construction to operation and their technicians have been participating in several projects before the switch. 


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