Canadian Consulting Engineer

Pearson Airport Terminal Development

October 1, 2005
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

In July 1997, within weeks of the selection of the architects for the $3.3 billion Terminal Development Program at Toronto International Airport, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority retained MGP Pr...

In July 1997, within weeks of the selection of the architects for the $3.3 billion Terminal Development Program at Toronto International Airport, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority retained MGP Project Managers to provide project management services. Marshall Macklin Monaghan of Markham, Ontario is the lead consultant in MGP, which was a joint venture between Marshall Macklin Monaghan, Giffels Associates of Toronto and Parsons Corporation of California. (Parsons has recently been bought out of the joint venture by the two Canadian firms.)

The Terminal Development Program is the cornerstone of Pearson International’s 10-year, $4.4 billion overall airport redevelopment — the most ambitious airport project ever undertaken in Canada. Stage 1 of the program includes the new Terminal 1 and ancillary works, a multi-storey parking garage that accommodates 9,000 (eventually 12,500) vehicles, roads and bridges, both on-site and off-site, an automated people mover system, and utilities that include a central utilities plant.

Stage 1 work was substantially complete in 2003, and the official opening to air traffic was in April 2004. (As work on Stage 2 proceeds, MGP continues the planning for construction activities which include the complete demolition of Terminal 1 and partial demolition of Terminal 2.)


MGP provided all the technical and management expertise related to the Stage 1 program. They also provided advice and support to a core group of Greater Toronto Airports Authority managers who were responsible for the four major elements of the program: terminal design, terminal construction, groundside work and the parking garage. In addition, MGP was obligated to resolve all issues at the interfaces between differerent levels of operation and construction.

The range of services provided by MGP for Stage 1 were:

* Estimating

* Budgeting and cost control

* Scheduling and schedule control

* Scope and change order control

* Reporting/management charter development

* Quality control

* Claims assessment

* Value engineering facilitation

* Partner facilitation

* Monitoring of design and construction

* Construction/operations interface coordination

* Risk assessment

* Artwork program coordination

* Facilitiation of tenant fit-up program

* Commissioning process facilitation

Coordination and staging

To build a replacement to the existing facilities without significantly affecting the continuous operations of the airport required careful scheduling of a number of interdependent steps.

Where conflicts occurred, the first principle applied was that operations must be maintained. Occasional disruption that was unavoidable had to be planned to minimize inconvenience to the travelling public.

As construction proceeded there were many issues that required resolution where the interest of one project was affected with respect to time, cost or priority by the needs of the adjacent project. These issues required prompt and effective action. Where issues could not be resolved directly with the responsible parties, the matter was passed to a higher authority for an overriding decision

The timely relocation of infrastructure and roadwork was essential to the staged progress of the work. Major sewers and water mains, natural gas, power and communications cables and heating/cooling pipes in utilidors serving the existing terminals had to be relocated in a careful staging process. Road detours to divert the steady stream of private and commercial vehicles travelling in the airport also required careful planning and advance notification.

Several buildings had to be demolished to make way for the terminal, which required that the replacements had to be planned and built in advance. They included the administration building, emergency services and fire station, airport workshop, the central utilities plant, and the entire cargo, catering and ancillary facilities complex. All these facilities had to be relocated and operating prior to the demolition of their existing facilities.

Contracting methods

Several types of contracting strategies were adopted for the large program. The Infield Development Program, which replaced the cargo and ancillary facilities, was tendered as a design/build contract. The Groundside Development Program for roads, bridges and related infrastructure was carried out using traditional fixed price contract strategies. The major building programs — the terminal development and parking garage, as well as the central utilities building — were set up as construction management projects. They also were done using fast-track procedures by which construction began before the construction documentation was completed.

9/11 and other challenges

The design and construction team were challenged on several occasions to mitigate the impacts on the project’s schedule and costs created by factors outside their control. These additional complexities included the late decision by the Canadian Government not to permit the co-mingling of inbound and outbound international passengers in the new terminal; the amalgamation of Air Canada and Canadian Airlines; the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; and Air Canada’s insolvency protection. Adjustments were essential in the program to make allowances for these issues.

Name of Project: Pearson International Airport Terminal Development Stage I

Award-winning firm: Marshall Macklin Monaghan, Markham, Ont., lead consultant in MGP Project Managers (Hank Edamura, P.Eng., Cecil Holtrop, P.Eng., Nancy Motran, P.Eng., Nick Walker, P.Eng., Michael Lewis, P.Eng., Margaret Tyszka)

Joint venture partners in MGP Project Managers: Giffels & Associates/Parsons Overseas

Role of award-winners: project management

Owner/client: Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Other key players: Revay and Associates (project management subconsultant), Airport Architects Canada Joint Venture (architecture), NAPA (airport planning), Greater Toronto Airport Groundside Association/Holmes & Narver/UMA (groundside consultants), Aecon/PCL Joint Venture (terminal building construction manager); Ellis Don Corporation (parking garage construction manager)


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