Maintenance, Service, Electrical, Mechanical, Industrial, Renfrow Industrial, Spartanburg, Charleston, South Carolina

Simple Errors to Costly Mistakes

New Houston airport building opens, but with $600K mistake


Dive Brief:

  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport officials in Houston are welcoming employees to the first completed project of the facility’s $1.2 billion overhaul this week, but a construction blunder has left the $18 million administration building without water service and the airport facing a fix that will cost $600,000, KTRK ABC 13 reported.
  • When the new project management building opened six months behind schedule, crews discovered that the water line they planned to use was dry. A $100,000 system of temporary tanks and pipes will provide water to the building for the next six to nine months until a new $500,000 permanent pipe can be installed.
  • Airport spokesman Bill Begley told KTRK that a lengthy city permitting process could have delayed discovery of the dry line but that all parties likely contributed to the error.


Dive Insight:

The massive capital project underway at the airport has drawn criticism as the project management building is the first sign of progress despite the airport having already spent $80 million, with $51 million of that going to planning consultants.

As far as the water service mistake, the airport construction project is proof that no matter the amount of planning — or how much it costs — things don’t always go as expected.

When the new $2 billion Rocky Mountain Regional Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado, opened last year — $1 billion over budget and five years behind schedule — VA officials discovered that although the building was twice the size of the hospital it was replacing, design errors meant that the new facility could not accommodate all planned services. Even though construction cost twice as much as originally planned, the VA will have to shell out for renovations to the original hospital so that it can continue to provide patient care while the VA looks for an ancillary building near the new hospital — another extra expense.

When construction of the $2 billion Miami Intermodal Center began in 2011, designers overlooked one major detail: The platform built specifically to accommodate long-distance Amtrak trains was 200 feet too short. The most obvious fix — extending the platform — is out of the question because that would place the structure and train traffic into a busy intersection.

In September, Capital Rail Constructors, the general contractor for the $5.8 billion Washington, D.C., rail extension revealed that approximately 400 concrete rail ties were 1/2 inch higher in the center than on the sides, which could cause the train tracks to tilt outwards. CRC and manufacturer Rocla Concrete Tie, which maintains the ties meet project specifications, are still working on a solution. However, rail officials now have decided that they want the ties replaced, according to WTOP.


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