Airport Maintenance Roles in Planning, Design, Construction, Commissioning, and Activation

Airport maintenance personnel are among the first to recognize and identify issues with facilities and equipment that have been designed, installed, and activated. Many of these issues may have been averted had maintenance personnel been effectively engaged in the planning, design, and construction decision-making process. As systems become more sophisticated and expensive and as there is greater attention to sustainability (e.g., life-cycle costs), the inclusion of individuals with hands-on maintenance experience at key decision points becomes even more valuable. Maintenance personnel may not be effectively engaged because of a lack of awareness as to the value of their input, organizational or institutional factors that impede their participation, or communication issues. Also, maintenance personnel may lack experience with reading (visualizing) design/construction drawings or there may be several distinct maintenance skills and individuals needed (i.e., pavement, vehicle, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), electrical, etc.) to recognize significant design issues in different capital projects or equipment acquisitions. Expanding participation, enhancing communication or engaging maintenance personnel, perhaps for the first time, in the capital project/equipment process requires commitment, time, and money. Airports need to see the benefit in order to rationalize such an investment of time/money and conclude that engaging maintenance personnel is cost effective. Research is needed to examine the fiscal, customer service, goodwill, safety, efficiency, and other impacts so that all stakeholders may see the full value of including airport maintenance at key decision points of capital projects and capital equipment acquisitions. Airport managers need an objective demonstration of the merits, benefits, and value of adding maintenance personnel to these processes and to provide guidance on how to facilitate their effective participation. The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook for airport executives, airport department heads, and other capital project/equipment decision makers that examines the merits, benefits, and value of engaging airport maintenance personnel at key decision points during planning, design, construction, commissioning, and activation of capital projects and capital equipment acquisitions. Guidance must present examples and techniques that are applicable to a variety of types and sizes of airports, address different types of capital projects and equipment acquisitions, and be relevant to alternative organizational structures or project-management approaches. The guidebook should present general observations and anecdotal examples of good practice that can assist airports as they work to include maintenance in capital projects and equipment acquisitions. It should offer assistance for airports to examine capital project/equipment cycles in the context of sustainable life-cycle costs that fully assess maintenance costs. There should be an examination of project accountability, budgetary considerations, design/construction contract requirements, and common communication protocols with and without maintenance personnel engaged. Recommended practices can be augmented with a series of case studies that demonstrate success or positive outcomes and emphasize lessons learned. If appropriate, examples from other industries can be used to articulate specific innovations, lessons learned, and good practices that are relevant to airports. The guidebook should contain practical applications that airports can quickly and easily implement, such as templates, checklists, and flowcharts. The research plan should build in appropriate interim deliverables that include at minimum: (1) within 2 weeks of the Notice to Proceed - a plan to collect data from airport practitioners to achieve the objective and identify current practices for engaging airport maintenance in the planning, design, and construction decision-making process; (2) at 3 months - survey results and recommended case studies and a draft outline of the guidebook that will require Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) approval prior to being implemented; (3) at 6 months - an interim report that describes work done in early tasks (including preliminary results of case study interviews and practices to be recommended), provides a first draft of the guidebook, and an updated work plan for remaining tasks; (4) at 9 months - an updated draft (90%) of the guidebook and list of final questions/comments for panel consideration; and (5) at 11 months - all draft final deliverables. The research plan should build in other appropriate research phase checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum (1) within 2 weeks of the Notice to Proceed - a kick-off teleconference meeting to approve an industry survey; (2) at 3 months - a teleconference meeting to discuss survey results, select case study subjects for interview, and approve the draft outline of the guidebook; (3) at 6 months - a face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting; and (4) at 9 months - a teleconference meeting to discuss the updated draft guidebook. Spontaneous ad hoc web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables may also be included if deemed appropriate. The final deliverables will include: (1) the guidebook; (2) a final report that documents the entire research effort; and (3) the research team's recommendation of future research needs and priorities, which builds upon this or other related research.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $200000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 09-07

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Salamone, Michael

  • Performing Organizations:

    Michigan State University, East Lansing

    East Lansing, MI  United States  48824
  • Principal Investigators:

    El-Gafy, Mohamed

  • Start Date: 20140101
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20141031
  • Source Data: RiP Project 38384

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01547842
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 09-07
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 16 2014 1:00AM