Canadian Consulting Engineer

Pearson International: New Terminal 1 Electrical, Communications, Fire and Security

August 1, 2003
By Bob Lymer, P. Eng.

Mulvey and Banani International took a team approach to generate the enormous volumes of working drawings for this project. Each team member was given overall responsibility for an individual system, ...

Mulvey and Banani International took a team approach to generate the enormous volumes of working drawings for this project. Each team member was given overall responsibility for an individual system, and a team leader was assigned as the “point-person” to ensure that the components were consistent.

The terminal’s systems have to be flexible to accommodate ongoing revisions to the space layouts for airline and retail tenants, and to take into account the rapidly changing airline industry. Because of the construction period, leading edge technologies had to be used, and “bleeding edge” technologies were envisioned. As an example, when we started designing this project in 1998, electronic or “E-ticketing” check-in terminals were non-existent in Toronto, but they are now used extensively throughout the terminals.

Communications. A series of in-floor raceways buried beneath removable granite slabs was designed to accommodate power and data to future equipment positions. Cabling includes universal Category 6 horizontal cable, fully diverse single mode and multi-mode fibre optic cabling, and copper voice riser cables. The system will also be adaptable for wireless and other emerging technologies looming on the horizon. Because the IT world is changing so rapidly, the system was designed and procured at the last possible moment.

Power quality. The increased dependency on information technology and sophisticated airport processes systems such as flight information displays, airline reservations systems, and baggage control and screening systems has dramatically increased the importance of having highly reliable supplies of electrical energy. Pearson Airport is rapidly becoming a 24/7/365 operation, so system downtime is unacceptable. Some airport systems rely on the resiliency of utility power systems rather than expensive diesel back-up power systems. Multiple incoming 27.6 kilovolt feeders from three distinct utility transfer stations shall ultimately serve the terminal, each of which is capable of powering the entire building.

Clean, reliable power is essential to the operation of an airport. The nine most common power problems in Ontario are power failure, power sags, power surges, brownouts, line noise, high voltage spikes, frequency variations, switching transients, and harmonic distortion. These conditions can cause, among other problems, data loss, overheating and premature failure of equipment. Various tools for mitigating or eliminating such problems have been designed into the new facility including power factor capacitors, transient voltage surge suppressors, harmonic mitigating transformers, generators, UPS’s and computer power distribution units.

Energy Efficiency. Energy efficiency of the systems is paramount. Energy saving alternatives used include daylight harvesting (the use of natural daylight to illuminate public spaces instead of artificial sources), high/low dimming systems, careful selection of high efficiency light sources, and a computer-controlled low-voltage lighting system.

Indirect metal halide luminaries flood the high ceiling of the Departures Hall. Each is sequenced on or off depending on the intensity of ambient light entering the skylights. Floodlighting of the planes at the passenger boarding bridges is accomplished with HID floodlights. Each can be dimmed to “low” when the bridge is not in use.

Security. Since the September 11 disaster, all imaginable crisis scenarios must be considered in the design of security systems in airports. The new terminal has a fully integrated, access control and CCTV surveillance system capable of protecting all areas.

Fire Alarm/Public Address. Due to the massive footprint of the building, two central alarm and control facilities are provided, approximately one kilometre apart. Each central control is complete with active graphic fire annunciator panels and firefighter control switches. A high performance public address system provides “concert quality” broadcasting throughout. The great space of the Departures Hall, for example, has electronically-adjustable phase array speakers.

All systems had to be designed for ease of maintenance and in a modular approach to allow for a staged occupancy over the ensuing decade of construction.

Consultant: Mulvey + Banani International (Bob Lymer, P.Eng., Myron Washchyshyn, P.Eng., Bill Scheinman, P.Eng., Zdravko Crne, P.Eng., John Ricciardi, P.Eng.

Contractors: Bell/Plan, Black and MacDonald


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