Lagan’s exceptional delivery of Shannon Airport runway rehabilitation recognised

9 Sep , 2019  

Lagan Asphalt Ltd. was nominated for an Irish Construction Excellence Award for its exceptional delivery of the Rehabilitation of Runway 06-24 at Shannon Airport project. Building Ireland touched base with Paddy McHugh to find out more about the €12.3m project and what the ICE Award nomination means to the company.

Lagan Asphalt Ltd. were strongly represented at the 2019 Irish Construction Excellence Awards in The Mansion House, Dublin on Friday, March 29th, having been shortlisted in the Civil Engineering category for excelling in the delivery of the Rehabilitation of Runway 06-24 at Shannon Airport – ahead of time and under budget!

“It’s certainly a big deal for us to have been nominated for this prestigious award,” confirms Lagan’s Paddy McHugh. “The project went exceptionally well for us and to be nominated for an Irish Construction Excellence Award is a suitable acknowledgement of this.”

The works entailed the full rehabilitation of 150,000m2 metres of runway surface, the replacement of runway edge and centre line lighting with energy efficient LED lighting, ducting and other associated works. A team of 90 people and a fleet of 70 vehicles worked on the runway at night to avoid disrupting flights.

The project was part of a €15m investment programme and was financed through a loan secured from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. According to Matthew Thomas, CEO of Shannon Group: “The runway is the main artery of Shannon Airport and has been one of the most important pieces of infrastructure in the region since its construction in 1961. It provides a crucial link to the global community and has facilitated the growth of Irish tourism and business in the region for over 55 years.

“While working on such a vital project, it is really important to work with a partner you trust with a proven track record of meeting challenging briefs on time and within budget. I am pleased to say that Lagan Asphalt have done exemplary work here in delivering this hugely important project that will serve the customers of Shannon Airport for the next 25 years.”

Also commenting on the project at Shannon Airport, Terry Lagan, Managing Director of The Lagan Asphalt Group added: “As one of the leading building materials and contracting companies in the market, runway rehabilitations are an important part of our business. We are very pleased to have delivered this complex and challenging project under budget and a full eight weeks ahead of schedule.

“The Lagan Asphalt Group has worked on a number of large-scale projects at various airports in recent years and we have been able to bring the value of our experience to bear on this project. I would personally like to congratulate our crew on a job well done in delivering this crucial piece of infrastructure for the people of the region.”

A review of Shannon Airport’s 30-year-old runway identified the need for major renewal works to extend its working life. When Shannon Airport Authority and lead engineers RPS Consulting Engineers embarked on an innovative procurement process to identify a contractor who would work collaboratively with the team to deliver the Rehabilitation of Runway 06-24 project under strict time and budgetary pressures, Lagan Asphalt were selected on the basis of their experience, resources, technical ability and price to help finalise the scope, programme and price.

Our management team understood the detailed hour by hour, minute by minute planning and resourcing needed to ensure that the night works programme was achieved to ensure that the daily operational status of the airport was maintained throughout the project period, with Health & Safety, Quality and Environment issues all given the highest priority.

The contract to deliver the Runway 06-24 Rehabilitation & Associated Works project at Shannon Airport comprised the following: Rehabilitation of the deteriorated existing Porous Friction Course and underlying asphalt material of approximately 75% of the Runway length; Rehabilitation or replacement of the Airfield Ground Lighting; Delethalisation of airfield drainage and other manholes; and associated drainage and ducting works.

Works were carried out at night (23:00hrs – 5:00hrs) so that the operation of the airport would not be affected, with Runways and Taxiways closed five nights of each week to permit the works. The surfacing materials used were manufactured at the nearby Lagan Macadam facility at Tulla, County Clare.

Project Director Brian McManus led the project team. Personnel were on site during night shifts involving complex logistical co-ordination of labour, plant and material resources.

Led by Project Director Brian McManus, the Shannon Project team was selected from Lagan’s vast experience with proven track record as specialists in airport runway works over the last 20 years and have delivered airport projects across the globe including the famous Hong Kong Airport in 1996.  More recent works have included rehabilitation works at Belfast, Dublin and Cork Airports and taxiway works at Shannon Airport.

As market leaders in the supply and laying of bituminous materials in Ireland, they possess the management capabilities and airside experienced resources including plant and established supply chain partners to allow them to deliver key infrastructure projects.

The Rehabilitation of Runway 06-24 at Shannon Airport project commenced as required by mid-April 2017 and was completed and fully operational by September 30th, 2017 – two months ahead of schedule! Furthermore, enhanced savings in value engineering across all areas resulted in a final contract price of €12.3m – a significant saving on the initial €14m budget. Finally, the engineering solution delivered by Lagan has extended the operational life of the runway by 20 years and significantly reduces future maintenance costs.

During the construction stage, Lagan introduced a unique H&S Software System with bespoke Safety Auditing and Inspection Documentation for this distinctive activity. These audits were completed on-site using handheld tablets and uploaded direct to the H&S system. The H&S Administrator managed and coordinated this information, ensuring assigned Audits and Inspections were completed at prescribed timeframes with identified deficiencies allocated and tracked to completion.  This enabled the project to be managed in real time, ensured the smooth operation of the project and the overall safety of the on-site team.

The need to maintain the operational capability of Shannon Airport by carrying out the works in a very tight window at night presented a number of challenges, which included: ensuring the health and safety of the team in an extremely busy night-time operation; maintaining productivity and programme under the working time restrictions; delivering a quality product outside normal working hours; keeping the airport fully operational at specified times; dealing with the impact in programme of Low Visibility Procedures or inclement weather; and returning the runway to full operation at the end of each night shift.

In response to these key challenges, Lagan Asphalt selected an experienced management team that had worked on similar projects in the past. The key to managing the above challenges lies in the meticulous assessment and planning of all elements of the works e.g. material, labour and material to maximise the delivery opportunity.

Another important element of the process was the early involvement of the Lagan team with the Shannon Airport / RPS team allowing all parties to work together in a collaborative manner for the benefit of the project, including optimising the works design, specification, performance requirements, programme and operational procedure in advance of starting works on site.

Detailed construction plans and night shift programmes were developed for all aspects of the project including sequence of the work, phasing and plans to provide practical construction methodology for the works which accommodated the operational contracts of the airfield. This culminated in a trial run of a night shift operations to familiarize all parties with the procedures and to iron out any potential issues.

Health & Safety was a top priority with full site inductions to all staff, risk assessment and toolbox talks carried out for all activities in advance. Lagan utilised its unique specially developed lighting system to ensure the works areas was lit to ‘daylight’ levels to provide all operatives with a clear and visual workplace. All night shift operations commenced with a H&S talk and a clear message for all parties to be aware of each other in this busy environment.

All of Lagan’s subcontractors were vetted for competency and integrated into the planning and programme of the project from an early stage to the benefit of the project. “Because there are a lot of specialist disciplines involved in a project such as this, we used subcontractors for Airfield Ground Lighting, core drilling and grooving of the finished surface, etc.,” continues Paddy McHugh.

“Obviously the supply and placement of asphalt was the significant element of this project, which we manufactured in our closest production facility in Tulla, Co. Clare. Lagan Asphalt Group manufactures its own bituminous materials for all of its projects, with nationwide coverage from its 8 production facilities which is key to the success of our civil engineering operations.”

Lagan is an established and experienced civil engineering contractor, having completed an extensive range of projects in the Republic of Ireland. Their capability ranges from sub–structures, ground stabilisation, groundwork’s, major enabling schemes, road construction, bridgeworks, environmental improvements, urban regeneration, infrastructure works and airfield construction.

Public sector clients include national and local authorities in the roads, education and health sectors, while private sector clients include principal construction contractors, airport operators and other commercial clients.

Lagan’s civil engineering resources are continually expanding and improving through a planned capital investment and replacement programme. Their reputation

 in this field continues to grow, with customer satisfaction achieved through the consistent delivery of quality projects, on time and within budget.

As a proven specialist in airfield pavement construction and maintenance, Lagan have completed a number of surfacing and civil engineering contracts within the airports sector covering both airside and landside projects. At the time of writing, they were engaged on another airport runway project – resurfacing Cross Runway 16-34 at Dublin Airport, acting as surfacing subcontractor – again at night. “Airport authorities confidence in the Lagan Asphalt Group has been rewarded with our proven ability working in highly pressurised environments with nightly possessions of runways which must be handed back to airfield operations for the first aeroplane landing each morning,” Paddy concludes.

Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, June, Vol 5 No 6