Attitude and Altitude

The new North Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport might, at one point, had been deemed “Mission Impossible.” In the post-9/11 era, it was challenged by homeland security concerns, budget constraints that didn’t shift despite project postponements and increased scope, and an economic downturn. However, Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) knew that the right team could accomplish project goals.

Barton Malow Company joined with Walbridge, to build the much-needed terminal. Both firms are local and pooled sources for preconstruction and construction to serve WCAA.

An extended team – including the construction management joint venture, architects Gensler and Ghafari, consultants, disadvantaged business enterprises, trade contractors – worked together from design forward to implement strategies that served the best interest of the project. Buy-in across the board allowed successful implementation of a contractor-controlled insurance program, Subguard (a risk-management tool), a project labor agreement with local trade unions, and a formal partnership with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). The close-knit team took pride in being cost conscious and truly collaborative. “You waste the esprit de corps of a good team when you worry about the little things,” said Gensler’s William Hartman, AIA, LEED AP. “We focused on the big things. It allowed us to focus on the what was worth it.” It’s a strategy that paid off: According to the airlines, the North Terminal is the standard to which all other airport projects will be compared.

Said Jon Hypnar, AIA, WCAA senior vice president for facilities, maintenance and planning, “To the team’s credit, diligence, experience and success, we were able to do what we wanted on budget, and within schedule.” The Transportation Security Authority complimented the team for delivering the baggage handling system ahead of schedule, passing all required testing with flying colors.

Mario Garza

“At Barton Malow, I had the privilege to be mentored by the top tradesman in the country. The time they took to teach a young engineer how to build will forever be the foundation of my career. Our trades are the key to the continued success of Barton Malow. ”