Why steel is imperative for airport construction

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Analysing why steel is a superior choice for airport construction.

Efficient public infrastructure is extremely important for better quality of living which includes the ease of travelling by road, rail, air or water as all determine how we live and work. In every sector steel plays an important but often unnoticed role.

Material selection is a decisive factor for the durability and life cycle of any infrastructural buildings and installations.

In the case of aviation infrastructure, steel plays an important role in airport construction, giving the essential infrastructure to aviation industry. Steel has always been the superior choice for airport construction. Steel is efficiently been used in infrastructural applications in almost every airport construction across the world.

Explaining why steel is a preferred choice for airport construction, Nikunj Turakhia, President, Steel Users Federation of India (SUFI) says, “Steel is showing up more frequently on newly-constructed airport exteriors across the country and globally too. The trend signals a see-and-avoid juncture for airport construction specifies mindful that steel products are more appropriate for airport construction than others. Steel usage definitely gives a high corrosion-resistant, coated or uncoated stainless steel finish
with low glare and a long lifecycle for the entire structure.”

He adds, “There are certain requisites for an airport building which can only be catered by usage of steel. Steel gives the flexibility in doing changes in the structure as per the need later. In order to incorporate variety of facilities steel provides the structure the needed flexibility whereby modules can be added. The characteristics of steel satisfy the needs of the airport construction for light and economical structures that meet both safety and sustainability criteria. Where other architectural metals exhibit limited life
span, steel endures. Due to its relative inertness, steel is considered to be environmentally friendly. It is 100 per cent recyclable, and does not contaminate the environment.”

Pre-Engineered Buildings (PEB) fulfils all the required need as its high-strength steel grades for the airport construction combined reduces product thickness, very high-yield strength, superior toughness at low temperatures and outstanding weld ability. The corrosion part is taken care with host of coatings and both pre and post is available.

Modern airports require larger spaces for handling diverse operations ranging from passenger terminals handling thousands of passengers per day to supersize cargo terminals to aircraft maintenance hangars etc. These constructions require large clear spans without intermediate columns and other support structures. Conventional constructions in brick, mortar, and concrete cannot satisfy these requirements of modern airport construction. “Steel is the best choice since it can offer clear spans and fulfils all required criteria and demands for modern airport designs. Steel is flexible,” states Manjunath MS, Advisor- Business Strategy and Innovation, Nikitha Build-tech Pvt Ltd.

Briefing why steel is a primary choice for airport construction, Manjunath says, “Steel constructions are quick to manufacture using the pre-engineered manufacturing process. They can be quickly installed and do not require any finishing once installed.” Another requirement of modern airports is the use of glass. Glass especially on the air side offers sound insulation and excellent visibility to passengers inside the terminals. Structural steel used in current airports is capable of anchoring glass facades with large spans and heights.

“In summary steel is the best choice for modern airports due to its rendering to large clear spans, extremely quick constructions, PEB techniques and ability to take glass and other facades of large spans and heights,” he adds.

Dr. Sandeep Gupta, MD, Richa Industries Ltd informs, “Airport has mostly aircraft hangars as the storage requirement and maintenance, repaire and overhauling hangars which are required for maintenance and overhauling of aircraft. Due to advancement in technology, nowadays aircrafts are coming in very big size with large wings and storage needs to cater these crafts into hangars. Mostly these buildings have good overall height and very large clear span serviced by automatic gates which may open at very fast speed upon requirement. Clear span may go up from 40 metres to 100 metres and above similarly height may go from 10 metre to 25 metre as for aircraft size. However there are certain limitations in RCC structures as clear span of 100 metre is a challenging task in RCC and requirement of robust annexe building that support automatic gates, is tough to design in RCC. That’s why PEB structure or steel structure makes it feasible. Besides this, the time constraint also plays a major role where in an RCC structure takes 1 to 2 years for same dimensions of the building whereas steel structure may be taking 4 to 8 months depending upon the type of building. This is possible only with the high-end software and the physical properties of high tensile steel. This modern construction technology has changed entirely the building systems in aircraft building till date.”

Steel solution for airport construction
Richa Industries Ltd
Richa Industries can provide solutions for roofing and cladding for airport building, Buildings for Maintenance, Repairing and Overhauling (MRO) of aircrafts and MES projects like aircraft hangars as well as helicopter hangars. Besides the company also provide multilevel car parking in steel structure. “Richa Industries’s products are not only registered but also it has served many airport projects for domestic as well as MES requirements,” claims Gupta.

Nikitha Build-tech Pvt Ltd
Nikitha is in the space of PEB constructions for more than past two decades. Having built over one thousand steel building in several geographies in India and overseas, it has the right credentials to build modern airport structures. Nikitha has already executed PEB structures for the temperature controlled logistics area for Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad
airports. It has also executed pre-engineered construction for the air catering units at the Bengaluru airport.

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