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Airplane Hangar Planning - Planning Considerations

A hangar project team should consider the following points during the planning process:

  • Rarely will a project be completed without spending at least 5 percent of the construction bid price on errors, omissions, and unforeseen conditions. A 10 percent construction cost contingency is recommended for normal projects, and even greater contingencies are recommended for highly complex, incompletely scoped, or fast-track projects. Construction contingency should not be used to fund optional changes that are not related to errors or unforeseen conditions.
  • Errors, omissions, and unforeseen conditions can be minimized by having an experienced construction professional (versus a design professional) review the planning and design drawings. This should save 3 percent of construction cost by minimizing design-related flaws.
  • The hangar project team should avoid using other hangar drawings as a starting point for its own. The best way to plan and design a hangar is to start from scratch. If the hangar project team uses someone else’s drawings as a starting point, the team will build a hangar that meets someone else’s needs — not its own.
  • When planning a hangar facility, the team must envision airline needs for the next 20 years and then site the hangar accordingly. For example, if the airline needs a second hangar in five years, operations will be much more efficient if the second hangar can be placed adjacent to the one presently in planning. In this case, the team should plan to have the additional space available for expansion should the need arise.
  • The team also needs to establish early on what the airport will provide at its expense and what the airline will be required to provide. For example, some airports will pay for the ramp construction in front of the new hangar; others will not.
  • There is no single best way to contract a hangar project. The selected contract path should be tailored to the needs of the specific project. (If the project is poorly managed or the contractor is inexperienced or untrustworthy, no contract is strong enough to offset the potential high costs and schedule delays.)
  • A successful project carefully balances schedule, cost, and quality, placing appropriate emphasis on each factor. Very inexpensive projects may cost an airline more money in the long run because of operational inefficiencies and high maintenance charges. Fast-track projects will certainly cost more than projects completed under normal schedules. High-technology, high-quality hangars will cost more than basic facilities.
  • Airplane hangars often are too small as soon as they are built. As airlines change strategies and new airplanes come to market, hangar size requirements change accordingly. A rule of thumb is to size a new hangar for the next larger airplane than currently anticipated. For example, a Boeing 737-700 airline should consider sizing its new hangar to fit a 757-200.
  • Regardless of pressures to tighten the project schedule, the hangar project team must not lose sight of the value of good planning. Because progress often is measured by tangible factors such as the quantity of completed design drawings or by the amount of construction work in place, planning sometimes will be viewed by others as lack of progress. This perception is accentuated when project schedules are tight.
  • Studies of the best aviation companies have shown that good project planning is even more important in a fast-track environment. In a fast-track environment, an effective project team establishes a strong project plan and then accelerates design and construction to meet the scheduling goals of the project. One of the worst mistakes a hangar project team can make is to sacrifice planning to accelerate the project schedule.
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