Air Transport World

Denver goes all-computer for new airport. (computer aided design, computer aided facility management systems used)

Denver-Although its opening will fall some seven years ahead of the year 2001, the new Denver International Airport (DIA) will be making its greatest impact going into the 21 st century. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that it is the world's first airport to be totally designed, constructed and managed by computers.

Both the construction and ultimate operation of the airport will be massive, highly complex operations. Once built, Denver International will sit on 53 sq. mi. of land, an area greater than both Dallas/Ft. Worth and Chicago O'Hare combined. It will require the movement of 100 million cu. yd. of earth and is designed to handle up to 110 million passengers per year with approximately 200 gates and up to 12 full-service runways when all phases are completed. On opening day, Oct. 31, 1993, it will have up to 100 gates open to handle an estimated 34 million passengers annually. There will be five active runways, with a sixth under construction to 16,000 ft. for international traffic.

Construction of the airport will require scores of design consultants and contractors. The airport office already is working with over 75 contracts, each of which is roughly 500 pages long and goes through the system three to five times during its life, according to William Seaver, manager of project controls for Greiner/MKE Engineering. Also, there are some 25,000 drawings and literally hundreds of thousands of documents to deal with.

To handle this massive $2 billion-plus project, Denver decided to go with a state-of-the-art CAD (computer aided design; sometimes called CADD, for computer aided design & drafting) system.

This system allows all design, specifications and "as build" construction information to be programmed through computer data banks, providing the information needed for actual construction of the airport. To manage the project once the CAD was on line, a CAFM (computer aided facility management) system was added. The combined CAD/CAFM system provides 100% computerized control over the project, enabling the airport planners to control and track all construction operations as well as manage peripheral aspects such as accounting, personnel, maintenance and administration. …

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