Monday, May 20, 2024
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Airport Infrastructure Designing for Effective Maintenance

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When designing an airport terminal, several aspects related to overall maintenance, access, indoor air quality, safety, acoustic design, washroom maintenance, and waste management need to be considered. Nandita Bhatt, Executive Director-Planning, Airport Authority of India, opines that engaging with stakeholders, including airport authorities, architects, contractors, and maintenance personnel, throughout the design and construction process will ensure alignment with sustainability objectives and maintenance requirements. In conversation with Clean India Journal, she breaks down each aspect that will reduce the challenges faced in effective & quality maintenance and sustainability.

Airport designs while meeting sustainability goals also appreciates the need for incorporating cleaning and maintenance programs. This in turn requires strategizing, planning, preventive & predictive measures, and a complete understanding of the airport design. By embracing sustainable design principles, leveraging advanced technologies, and prioritizing maintenance considerations, airports can successfully transition to complex building designs while meeting sustainability goals and retaining aesthetic appeal.

Selection of materials that are resistant to wear and tear, easy to clean, and require minimal maintenance should be considered. “For example, choose sustainable and durable materials for the construction of intricate designs. In case of using wood, it is essential to opt for responsibly sourced wood certified by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure ethical and environment friendly practices. Additionally, alternatives to solid wood, such as engineered wood products, which offer comparable aesthetics with improved dimensional stability and sustainability could be considered.”

While, collaborating with architects, engineers, and designers at the same time, integrating maintenance-friendly features into the design is equally essential. This may include incorporating access panels or removable sections for easier maintenance and repair without compromising the overall aesthetic appeal.

Speaking of high access points, providing safe and efficient access to high areas for cleaning through platforms, catwalks, and maintenance corridors is important. “Consider the placement of equipment such as scissor lifts or cherry pickers for accessing high areas; and implement safety protocols and training for maintenance staff working at heights.”

Integrating sensors and monitoring systems to detect maintenance issues early helps prevent breakdowns. Incorporating features such as durable finishes and protective coatings enhances resistance to wear, tear, and environmental factors. Implementing preventive maintenance measures, such as regular inspections and cleaning schedules, prolongs the lifespan of the facility and ensures continued aesthetic appeal.

“Install effective HVAC systems with adequate air filtration to maintain indoor air quality and control humidity levels. Design should consider accessible spaces for maintenance staff to reach critical infrastructure such as HVAC systems, electrical panels, plumbing, and fire safety equipment. Regular maintenance and upgrades can improve the HVAC system performance and reduce energy consumption.

Integrate sensor technologies into the building design to facilitate proactive maintenance and monitoring of complex structures. Sensors also help detecting changes in temperature, humidity, and structural integrity, enabling early identification of potential issues and timely intervention to prevent damage or deterioration. Choosing building materials and furnishings that emit low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) improves indoor air quality.

Designing washrooms with easy-to-clean surfaces, hands-free fixtures, and adequate ventilation minimizes odours and maintains cleanliness. Implementing frequent cleaning schedules and providing sufficient cleaning supplies to maintenance staff is prime.

In terms of sustainability, provide recycling bins and waste separation stations throughout the terminal to encourage proper waste disposal and recycling. Install waste compactors or balers to reduce the volume of waste generated and facilitate efficient disposal. Implementing initiatives such as composting food waste, reducing single-use plastics, and using eco-friendly cleaning products will minimize environmental impact.

Other aspects that should be considered include

•     Clear and accessible emergency exits with appropriate signage for evacuation routes

•     Fire suppression systems like sprinkler systems, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers throughout the terminal to ensure rapid response to fires

•     Integrating security checkpoints, surveillance cameras, and access control systems to enhance passenger safety

•     Incorporating sound-absorbing materials, acoustic panels, and insulation to minimize noise levels within the terminal

•     Creating designated areas for passengers who require a quieter environment, such as meditation rooms or relaxation lounges

By considering these aspects during the design stage, airport terminals can be built to effectively manage maintenance, ensure passenger safety and comfort, and promote sustainability.

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