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Big Plans for Heathrow Airport

Construction on Heathrow, one of the globe’s major airports, is as busy as ever. The future of construction at Heathrow looks even more promising for the forthcoming years ahead. Maxim Recruitment attended the Construction Industry Council (CIC) Economic and Policy Briefings to see speaker Phil Wilbraham, Heathrow Expansion Programme Director, talk about future plans for Heathrow. The Construction Industry Council (CIC) is the representative forum for the professional bodies, research organisations and specialist business associations in the construction industry.

This article will briefly cover some of the future plans that have been outlined at Heathrow, and the positive effects that these plans could have on the UK construction industry should they be followed through, and national economy as a whole.

Below are some key predictions from the presentation, which support the case for Heathrow Expansion. Following this, is some information on specific construction plans at Heathrow along with a timeline for construction for the near future at the airport.

Key Points - Heathrow Expansion Outcomes

  • Up to 180,000 new jobs across the UK, including 40,000 local jobs
  • 10,000 new apprenticeships across the UK
  • Up to £211bn in economic benefits across the UK
  • Up to £2.6bn community compensation package
  • 55 million passenger capacity per annum
  • Doubling freight capacity for exporters

Expansion Plans in Brief

The expansion plans include a third runway to the North West of the airport, improved surface access, more cargo access and terminal facilities, and a 6th terminal. The construction works would increase the quality of the service that Heathrow are able to provide, a vast increase in the number of flights per day it can have pass through it, and further increases in the number of jobs on site at Heathrow for technical and labour construction professionals. Heathrow’s aim is to remain at the forefront of international travel.

Construction Timeline

Up until 2020, the Development Consent Order (DCO) will be being prepared along with the early works being constructed in 2019/2020. By the end of 2020 the DCO is expected to be ready for examination and decision. In 2020, the main, major works will begin following the early construction phase that will have led up to 2020. The third runway could potentially be complete by 2025 according to the current timeline shown in the CIC presentation. Construction remains paramount at Heathrow during 2017 and will continue to be for the next few years, ensuring a continued construction hotspot at Heathrow for the present and foreseeable future. It seems likely that jobs and opportunities at Heathrow will increase even further as of 2020 should everything go ahead according to Heathrow’s construction plans.

Below is a snippet image of one of the slides from the presentation, showing the 2050 master plan that was submitted to the Airports Commission:

[2050 Masterplan (as submitted to the Airports Commission): From the CIC Economic and Policy Briefings presentation by Phil Wilbraham.  The image shows the proposed new landscape of Heathrow alongside the existing runways and terminals in place.]

What Heathrow Expansion Means for Quantity Surveyors and Construction Professionals

With Heathrow running at almost full capacity currently, the expansion would release tension and allow for a higher influx of flights through the capital, causing an economic effect that is much more widespread in its effect. Construction on Heathrow would mean a continued increase in local jobs for Quantity Surveyors and other construction professionals on the project. The investment it could bring into the UK in the medium-long term could help boost the national economy, increasing the number of jobs throughout the UK. It also minimises the potential of competitor airports in nearby countries taking passengers away from Heathrow, due to the fact it is running at close to full capacity currently.

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Adam Cadwaladr
Recruitment Consultant

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