BIRCO has carried out a challenging project at an airport in Iceland during the second half of 2018.

The renovation of the airfield at Keflavik Airport, the main airport near Reykjavik, required careful planning and a durable drainage solution able to resist the inhospitable climate conditions on the volcanic island.

The outstanding resistance properties of the monolithic drainage channel BIRCOport, specifically designed for areas subjected to extreme loads, met the high expectations of the operator.

BIRCO is known for high-quality drainage channels. Decades of heavy-duty expertise make their field staff highly sought-after experts in complex challenges. For this project, the task for Michael Göttl, International Sales, was the interaction between the current situation and the burdens in the coming years.

A refurbishment of airfields with built-in, heavy-duty resistant drainage lines is always a complicated matter. We got to know the interests of all parties through expert advice. With this knowledge, we were able to ensure a rapid dismantling of the defective third-party product, whereby old foundations and reinforcements can always cause surprises and delays.

For this reason, together with the operator Isavia and the designated construction company Istak, we have thoroughly planned the available nine-hour time slots for the preparation, excavation, installation and cleaning of the construction site.

The professional opening of the pavement in stages and the skilful use of the excavators was a decisive factor. In the morning, the freshly installed sections were covered, and the area of the apron could be used without problems, which ultimately convinced the operator Isavia.

The time frame for implementation was tight. The delivery of the 3.5-tonne BIRCOport components was planned by BIRCO’s own logistics centre and coordinated with the distribution partner on Iceland Vatn & Veitur ehf.

The coordination between construction progress and delivery time was optimal, especially since the components were transported by sea freight for 2600 kilometres, which was the most efficient option. The channels were on time and all phases of construction could be completed even faster than planned, despite the extreme weather fluctuations.

In such challenges, the price of the component is a secondary decision-making criterion. It is the overall package of our comprehensive services and the technical characteristics of our channels which make them a good investment.

High dynamic forces through movements on the surface and extreme weather conditions throughout the year, these factors quickly defy inadequate products and present the operator Isavia with challenges.

Unfortunately, in the past, an under-sized third-party product was used – some manufacturers don’t live up to their promises here. The broken channel eventually did not meet the requirements and the exchange became inevitable. The bad experience, which the operators had made with the previously installed material, should not be repeated in the future.

With BIRCOport, the decision-makers found a unique combination of useful and reliable properties. Compact dimensions with maximum stability without lateral sheathing.

Michael Göttl specifies the advantages: “The installation as a Type I channel without sheathing saves a lot of excavation space and makes it the perfect solution for renovations. The load class F 900 is not a problem for the BIRCOport and it also easily resists the lateral pressure of the covering surface. The generous monolithic design compensates temperature variations of 50 degrees. The expansion joints were exactly calculated by our application engineering department. Styrodur panels were used to achieve a quick joint formation.”

Jón Haraldsson, Project Manager at Keflavik Airport, also expressed his satisfaction: “We were very impressed by BIRCO’s presence on site. The processes could be optimized; the work progress was faster than expected.”

Airports have the highest security standards and require smooth operations without interruptions. Iceland depends on fast transport. Therefore, a blocked air traffic area has a significant impact. At Keflavik Airport, the reconstruction work went almost unnoticed overnight in just a few working days.

Precise pre-planning and clean work by the construction company Istak, as well as a quick installation of the precast 5-meter-long BIRCOport units led to success.

Michael Göttl is satisfied with this project: “After the end of the construction work, the prospects for a very long, undisturbed operation time are extremely good. The power reserves and the operational reliability of the statically tested DIBt-approved channels are promising.”