Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Cause for BER's Delay?

This week.....Focus (the German magazine) ended up doing a brief interview with the head of the architect team who designed the ill-fated airport that was to become the mega-port handing Berlin's air travel.

What he generally said was three factors came together to trigger chaos and problems which resulted in the delayed construction....with various problems built into the design.

The fire system appears to have been a complicated design, and probably looked better on paper than it did in actual construction.

Second, you come to a mall being incorporated into the design of the airport.  I hadn't heard much over a mall being a centerpiece of the Berlin airport.  I went looking but you just don't find anyone detailing the interior size and how it's divided up.

I don't know of any European airport which makes mall usage as part of a local airport design.  Frankfurt has a interior shopping area (maybe twenty shops), but it's the kind of commerce that ninety percent of travelers would avoid because items are over-priced.  I'm not talking about coffee shops, McDonalds, or any of the newspaper operations....these are actual shops selling electronic items, clothing, and high-end gifts.

As for the third issue noted by the architect team?  Changes were allowed to flow into the system, without being discussed or limited.

From the perspective of my background in project management.....this is the biggest stumbling point that anyone can fall into....getting a construction project up and running....then having idiots walk into the middle of something to note you need to add "X" or "Y", to make them happy.

More lighting means more power, which means you might go over the wattage limit of a room, and then have to add a whole second circuit to make it work.  This translates into lost hours, and the potential that the second circuit is added to the adjacent area by mistake and you don't find this mistake out for at least a year or more.

Turning a storage room into a IT-server area.....tends to mean not just more power, but more air conditioning.  You could suddenly find twenty new requirements in one single area for servers, and waste a whole month trying to get the requirements down on paper, and connect them to the ongoing design of the building.

Generally, additions or changes to a plan.....need to be absolutely limited.  The better concept is to allow version one of the plan to flow through and get done.  Then, you move onto version 1.1 of the plan to add a server room, or extra lights, or more air conditioning.

BER is still a question mark.  No one will vouch on the airport opening in 2016, although hope has been generated that they will meet that new deadline.  The enthusiasm generally points toward 2017, and maybe 2018 (meaning eight years late).  This also opens up the door for renovation talks on Schonfeld and Tegal (the two medium-sized airports).  The government still has the opinion that both will close entirely upon BER being operational.  Aviation experts tend to think one will get renovated and be a functioning airport for decades to come....mostly because BER will hit maximum capacity by 2022 in terms of passengers.

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