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Featured Projects: Construction Services

Name of Project/Location: 
Design-Build Structural Modification of TRACON Operations Room Bulkheads
FAA’s Potomac Air Traffic Control (TRACON) Center, Manassas, Virginia

Project Type: Design-Build; Construction Services

Customer: Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Facility Type / Size: Air Traffic Control Facilities / 100,000 SF

Total Award Amount: $353,969.51

Teaming Partners & Subcontractors Used / % Participation:
Teamed with Leo A Daly (Prime Contractor to FAA)
18% (Engineering) and with SCIF Constructors (Sub to VWI) / 74 % (Mechanical Trades)

Status: Completed (Construction work completed three weeks early)

This project resulted from deficiencies in the original design of the FAA TRACON, which became evident following an unusually heavy snow-fall that occurred in 2003. The Operations Center of the facility is a large, circular room, having an internal diameter of approximately 85 feet. There are 43 radar consoles around the perimeter of this room, which are used to track aircraft flying in various segments of the airspace surrounding Washington, DC and approaching/departing five major airports in that space … Ronald Reagan National, Dulles International, Baltimore-Washington International, Andrews AFB and Richmond International. Controllers provide vectors and operational clearances to air traffic over-flying 23,000 square miles of space lying above six separate states.
According to the FAA, more than 2 million flights pass through the Potomac TRACON’s airspace each year, with its 300 controllers and technicians assisting more than 5,400 instrument flight operations each day. In addition to the five major airports mentioned above, flights to/from another 124 public use airports within its airspace are also provided in-flight services. Its radio systems network has five-way redundancy; and electrical power is provided to the building from two independent utility grids (with a back-up generator providing a third level of redundancy).

Roof deflections associated with the above-referenced snow-fall caused downward movement and damage to a circular bulkhead, hung from the roof and located just above the radar consoles. Mounted on this bulkhead are a number of large, moveable ATC monitors that became inoperable as a result of the deflection. The FAA decided to address these problems by making structural modifications to the bulkhead support, releasing it from the roof beams and tying it to the slab-on-grade. Leo A Daly designed the necessary changes and, as their construction services teaming partner, VWI prepared and managed all related construction activities on-site. Construction scope included erection of a floor-mounted structural support system behind the radar consoles, tie-in to the Operations Center’s circular bulkhead and cut-away of the bulkhead structure from the roof structure.

We completed the project nearly a month early and are pleased to note that the owner’s representatives, during the acceptance inspection, were only able to find two punchlist items for the entire project … one involving some minor touch-up paint and the other a couple of ceiling tile repairs. There were no change orders submitted or processed on the project. The Prime contractor, Leo A. Daly wrote: “We appreciated VWI’s willingness and enthusiasm in participating in this unique Design/Build project. While we have a good history with the FAA’s Eastern Region, we would not have undertaken this type of project without a partner such as VWI, with whom we have a long and trusted relationship. Having to work around the Presidential inauguration, repeated moratoriums and black-out periods, as well as phasing the majority of work in off-peak hours, while keeping the facilities operational and maintaining continued air traffic control for the entire region was no small task and certainly qualifies as a significant accomplishment.”

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