Old Things Made New Again: Taking on a Project the Second Time Around

By Craig Carson

If you’ve been around in the industry long enough, you may eventually find that you’re working on one of your early projects for a second time, such as when it’s being expanded or modernized. This has been happening to me lately. I was working for Harding Industries in Denver in 1991 when we were hired by Elward Construction to be part of the team that provided the building envelope for Denver International Airport’s first concourse, Concourse C. Later, after we were out-bid for the same package on Concourse B, we teamed up again to land Concourse A.

The project was enormous and, in the end, our project foremen and field team spent two and a half years working on it. During that same time, another of the local glass companies, A1 Glass (which I later went to work for) was providing the glazing for the main terminal, office building and the sky bridge from the main terminal to Concourse A.

ANOTHER GO ROUND

Why am I boring you with these facts? Well, it’s because there is a major construction project underway at the Denver airport and our team is involved with the expansion and modernization of the terminal and two of the four concourses.

This experience has been confirmation that we really never forget the projects that we work on. Returning to work on these buildings and helping the design-build team members— many were either not born yet or in grade school during the original project—brings back memories of all the challenges we had at the time to build an airport out in the middle of a big, empty field some 25 miles from downtown Denver. The things that were difficult then have become stories of how everyone found ways to get the project done successfully.

HOW THINGS CHANGE

Now that we’re at it again, I have been fortunate to work with two of the best design-build teams. It’s been very interesting working with them on the main terminal, now called the “Great Hall.” This is because of the unique way the City of Denver obtained financing for the project, which was through a public-private partnership with a European developer. I won’t bore you with the details here, but the developer is in charge of the design and construction of the Great Hall and, as a result, much of the developer’s staff has relocated from all over Europe to come here and be involved with the project.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with this great group of people and learning how they bring their construction techniques and ideas to the project. The interesting thing is speaking to them about the different construction means and methods in Europe compared to North America. I believe that these discussions have helped all of us throughout the process. The job still has a few years of construction ahead of us, but it is rewarding to have the opportunity to go back to a project with which I was first involved almost 30 years ago, and help with the changes and additions.

Craig Carson is the regional preconstruction manager for Alliance Glazing Technologies Inc. in Littleton, Colo.

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