Case Studies



CONNICO’S ROLE – Cost Estimating and Value Engineering

The Challenge

Charleston International Airport (CHS) is a joint use airfield operated in conjunction with Charleston Air Force Base (CAFB) in Charleston, South Carolina. CHS serves as the primary air carrier airport for the Charleston, South Carolina area. Passengers are accommodated through a terminal complex that was constructed in 1985. Since that time, significant changes had occurred in the airport environment, including increased number of passengers, increased security requirements, and changing aircraft mix. CHS determined that it was necessary to plan for the future expansion of the terminal complex.

In addition to preparing for continued growth, it was determined that the final product needed to provide a useful pathway for constructing possible modifications to accommodate changes in security requirements, passenger product preferences, and the evolving demographics of the Charleston travel market. Charleston Airport Authority’s goal was to develop a first-class facility that echoes the quality, culture and beauty of Charleston, the Lowcountry, and the state of South Carolina. But the biggest challenge was getting this first-class facility within their budget.

The Team

CHS chose a two-step approach to this process. The first step was to seek proposals from experienced and independent Planning consultants to update the Airport master plan. The purpose of this process was to look at multiple terminal development options and narrow them down to a single option to proceed with design and construction. The second step was to engage a qualified, experienced Architectural/Engineering firm to provide the full range of professional services required in order to design and develop the selected option.

The Solution

Connico was initially engaged by the Planning Team as part of the master plan update process and actively participated in the selection process to shortlist multiple terminal development design options down to four “preferred” design options. Connico prepared multiple preliminary cost estimates for these four terminal development design options in order to provide CHS with a comparison of the probable cost of construction of each of the schemes.

CHS selected one of the options to proceed to design. CHS then issued a Request for Proposal in order to engage a qualified, experienced Architectural/Engineering firm to design and develop the selected option.

Connico was subsequently engaged by the successful Architectural/Engineering Design Team to provide cost estimating services during design.

Connico provided multiple estimates throughout the design process, starting with very preliminary rough order of magnitude estimates, then developing concept, schematic and design development estimates, and finally preparing a GMP estimate. Connico reconciled the estimates at various stages during the design process with estimates prepared by the Construction Manager to ensure that the project remained on track and within budget.

The Benefits

Connico played a key role in providing both CHS and the design team with an analysis of the probable cost of construction at various stages of design. This allowed CHS to monitor their overall budget and determine what changes were necessary during the design process in order keep within the budget. This also gave the design team early warning of potential cost overruns which could be addressed before they had costly effects once construction commenced.

Connico also reconciled our estimates with those prepared by the Construction Manager at various stages of the design process. This provided a level of protection to CHS by showing that both Connico and the Construction Manager were seeing and pricing the same scope of work, and that both were in agreement on anticipated project costs. This process provided both CHS and the design team with a better understanding of the anticipated project costs versus the budget.

This project was extremely complex with both new expansion and renovation elements, and multiple bid packages. By engaging Connico very early in the planning process, and then continuing our involvement during design, Connico was able to use our in-depth knowledge of the project to better understand scope and design intent and apply this knowledge to the cost estimates we produced.

This was particularly beneficial to CHS during the early design stages before the Construction Manager was engaged, as we were able to envision the complete scope of the project from early design documentation, fill in the blanks in the design, and reflect this scope in the estimates we produced. This resulted in early warning of potential cost overruns to both CHS and the design team.

What experience and capability do we now have as a result of this work?

The CHS TRIP project was confirmation that when we are involved in a project from inception and remain involved throughout the design phase, we can provide a greater level of guidance to Owners in protecting their budgets and looking out for their best interests. This also confirms that our teams’ comprehensive construction field experience is crucial during the cost estimating process of a project. We understand the parameters that can impact bidding conditions, scheduling delays, and cost overruns before they negatively impact a project after construction has commenced, which saves clients unnecessary duress, lost time, and money.



CONNICO’S ROLE – Program Manager

The Challenge

Blue Grass Airports 2012 Master Plan update proposed taxiway safety and standards enhancements, general aviation development, and a variety of other airside and landside improvements. In order to add technical expertise and focus, the airport was seeking a small to mid-size consulting firm to serve as Program Manager and an extension of their engineering staff. The Airport required assistance implementing the series of projects associated with this Program within the limited resources available to this mid-size airport. The primary focus of this project was the Taxiway Safety Enhancement Program (TSEP), which would need to be a multi-year program to enhance the Airport’s compliance with the FAA standards. This Program required the construction of new taxiways and relocation of existing taxiways. As a result of the new taxiway construction, this new geometry would necessitate the relocation of the existing Snow Removal/Maintenance Building and the Airfield Rescue and Fire Facility (ARFF).

The Team

The Client requested proposals from qualified small to mid-size consulting firms to serve as Program Manager, whose primary role would be to act as an extension of the Airport’s engineering staff. Connico was selected as the Program Manager, primarily based on the overall experience of our team members. The Connico team included personnel with Program and Project Management experience in the areas of expertise necessary for the successful Program Management of the Taxiway Safety Enhancement Program.

The Solution

In an effort to minimize the overall program cost, Connico advised the Airport in the identification of a recommended construction phasing plan for the Program. This task included cost and schedule analysis throughout the many stages of the Program. Connico also provided Request for Qualification (RFQ) development for design consultant selections, coordination of the various consulting firms, DBE program compliance, cost estimating services and project reviews for FAA compliance to help maximize FAA grant eligibility. These tasks were accomplished utilizing the collective experience of the individual Connico team members, which led to minimal rework due to our effective communication with the Airport.

After the final FAA review of the 2012 Master Plan Update, Connico provided a TSEP implementation plan and schedule to the Airport. It was determined that the implementation of the projects would be dependent on the construction seasons for the Lexington, KY area and, more importantly, the FAA funding cycles.

While identifying the construction phasing for the Program, Connico advised the Airport to implement the phasing of the projects in such a way to take advantage of a significant quantity of excavated materials removed from one site and utilized as fill at another project site. The relocation the north end of one of the taxiways would require excavating a significant amount of material. Performing this work at the same time as installing the embankment required for the construction of the new Snow Removal and Maintenance Equipment Building would reduce the overall cost of the embankment for the new ARFF. Had this work not been coordinated as such, extra material hauling would have been required, thus increasing the overall cost of the program.

As part of the ongoing cost and schedule analysis of the Program, Connico also provided a methodology for projecting the estimated program costs according to the anticipated FAA funding availability. This data was presented over the anticipated duration of each of the projects within the Program to ensure that the various program components would have the necessary funding available when needed.

The Benefits

To date, Connico’s attention to detail in managing the overall scope of the Program has assisted the Airport in receiving the scheduled FAA funding as anticipated. Connico’s talented team members also provide great assistance to the Airport by confirming that the individual projects within the Program are within the FAA guidance, which helps to maximize the funding eligibility. This has been accomplished due to the many years of experience and knowledge that the Connico team members have brought to this project.

The Taxiway Safety Enhancement Program is an ongoing project. The 1st Phase is currently under construction and the anticipated FAA funding, as scheduled, has been received. Design for the 2nd Phase, along with the north end, is currently scheduled to start as planned with construction to follow. With continued attention to detail to the overall scope, the management of this Program has been successful. The client is not only receiving the service they sought by utilizing a small consulting firm, but they are also receiving the attention to detail and commitment they needed from a firm that would serve as an extension of their staff.

What experience and capability do we now have as a result of this work?

At Connico, we know that each of our team members have multiple talents. Providing Program Management support for the Taxiway Safety Enhancement Program at the Blue Grass Airport has allowed Connico to showcase the talents of our individual team members and has given us the experience to work collectively in a Program Management role in order to meet the needs of our Client.

By utilizing Connico’s expertise in planning, scheduling and cost analysis, our knowledge of FAA project requirements and our collective construction backgrounds, the Airport was able to take advantage of Connico’s ability to serve the right client, at the right time, to do the right job.



CONNICO’S ROLE – Resident Project Representation, Construction Administration, Scheduling, Cost Estimating and Constructability Reviews


The Challenge

Runway 4R-22L serves a special role at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) as the only runway that allows a fully loaded Boeing 747 to depart and fly nonstop to Asian destinations during the warm summer months. So when it came time to reconstruct the deteriorating runway, airport officials’ primary concern was maintaining operations during this massive project. This project had to be designed and constructed in a manner that would be the most cost effective, and have the least amount of impact to the airlines that use this airport.

The Team

The DTW airport authority chose the most qualified firm to perform the work required based upon successful previous experience of similar projects. The chosen team was that of which Connico Incorporated was a member, The Michigan Aviation Partners Team (MAP Team).

The MAP Team, with Connico leading the Cost and Schedule analysis, embarked on a series of stakeholder meetings where approximately 8 different scenarios were analyzed from a cost and schedule viewpoint. These scenarios were then presented to the stakeholders, where most of the scenarios were eliminated due to design constraints, cost constraints, or impacts to their business that were not recoverable. A plan for the design and construction was chosen and the design began.

The Solution

The initial plan was to complete the work over multiple years during two summer seasons, including a two year closure of the runway. After the design was approximately 60% complete, it was determined that the project had too much risk for one of the main airlines to proceed as previously expected. Runway 4R-22L serves the Group 5 and 6 aircraft that fly from Detroit, many of which are non-stop flights to the Orient and require this 12,000' runway to be operational during August and September.

Given this risk of impact to airline operations, Connico began another study to determine ways to keep the runway operational during the hot months of August and September. The runway had to re-open by July 31st in each of the construction seasons so that the heavy aircraft would have the necessary infrastructure to operate. We determined that it was possible to start construction early on selected enabling projects. This minimized the work required during the main runway reconstruction portion of the project, which was scheduled for later in the summer season. Additionally, to alleviate potential conflicts, the project was split into two separately bid components, with two different contractors, dividing the work over a two year period.

During this revised design period, Connico analyzed the cost and schedule in great detail. We prepared resource loaded schedules, much like a contractor would do, in order to model whether the design would deliver what was expected not only by our client, but their airline clients as well. Because we became an integrated team member early in the design process, we were intimately aware of the various constraints that caused risk issues for the airlines. We realized during our scheduling exercises that with the volume of work required, construction would need to begin in early April in order to be complete by July 31st. Early April in Detroit is not usually conducive to civil construction operations due to the length of the wintertime conditions. We assisted the design team in developing an incentive/disincentive plan that would help the contractors absorb the risk inherent in constructing the project during this time frame, without greatly adding to the overall cost of the project.

The Benefits

The standard timeframe for completion for this type of project would normally be twice as long as what became possible on this project. During both seasons of construction, the runway reopened 12 days early, thereby allowing the contractor to take advantage of the incentive program (as opposed to absorbing the disincentives) and the owner maintained airport operations with no negative impact to their airlines. By developing a sense of TEAM between the owner, the designer, and the contractor at the beginning of the project, all TEAM members were always seeking out ways for each party to succeed rather than trying to place blame on another TEAM member as a consequence of failure. We eliminated potential problems by discussing them up front. This, in turn, eliminated the risk of negative impact on maintaining ongoing operations. By all accounts, the project was a huge success!

What experience and capability do we now have as a result of this work?

At Connico, we know that we are able to provide the most effective services for our clients when we are brought into an active role on a project at the beginning of the design. The MAP Team recognized the value and Connico was an active participant from the beginning of the project. We were able to use our vast experience in construction planning to help steer the project in the right direction from the early stages. Using our contractor backgrounds to analyze projects, the MAP Team and the owner were able to take advantage of early analysis. Past experience of our style at other airports – and at a major hub such as DTW are proven results that The Connico Way – works. The Connico Way includes the communication skills required to guide all parties involved to work together for a solution versus placing blame for failure.

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