IAH Terminal Redevelopment Program: 'On Time and On Budget'
September 22, 2021

Houston Airports Director Mario Diaz, along with Executive Program Manager Steven Andersen, presented an IAH Terminal Redevelopment Program, ITRP, update to the Houston City Council Economic Development Committee on Sept. 15. 

Diaz and Andersen were joined by J’Maine Chubb, chief financial officer, along with Todd Curry and Mayuri Bakti, Municipal Affairs. 

EDC Chair Martha Castex-Tatum, District K representative, chaired and facilitated the meeting. 

“Madame Chair, the purpose of today’s meeting is to provide the committee an update on the program,” Diaz said.  

He also provided advance notice of the intent to return to City Council in the near future for Guaranteed Maximum Price, GMP, recommendations for a water distribution enabling project and share the schedule for the remaining budgetary commitments necessary to complete the ITRP. 

“We also want to review the budget with you: the amount that’s been spent to date, the amount that remains to be spent, all broken down by the major elements of the program,” he said. “Right now, we are ahead of schedule, and we continue to be on budget.” 

He thanked the committee for the opportunity to bring them up to date and was highly complimentary of the status of the program, declaring that “we are making very, very good progress.”  

With the program now deep into construction, he said that the ITRP team was working diligently on aesthetics and interior design – furniture, fixtures and the like. 

Makeup of ITRP 

Andersen briefly reprised the makeup of ITRP. ITRP consists of two major projects and a number of enabling projects. 

Two major projects: 

International Terminal - North Concourse Project – refurbishment of Terminal D and the construction of the new D-West pier 

International Terminal – Central Processor & Federal Inspection Service, FIS, Project – comprised of a new structure and modications to the FIS  

Enabling projects: 

New C North (NCN) Concourse - Apron and Utilities Project – this project paved the way for United Airlines to leave the old Terminal concourse “so that we could demolish it and build a new one,” Andersen said. The demolition work is completed. 

Enabling Utilities – Landside Project – the design is complete, and Houston Airports will soon present the GMP to Council for approval 

Infrastructure Division Office (PMO) Building Project – this structure was constructed to house the ITRP program team, design team and construction team, and to be co-located with the HAS Infrastructure team 

Origin and Status of Program Budget 

Andersen then discussed the program budget of $1.3 billion and the program’s construction substantial completion date which is 2024. He shared with the EDC a transparent look and review of the ITRP budget, which has been set and maintained at $1.3 billion since late 2018. 

“The revised approach initial high-level estimate, prior to design and full scoping, was about $1.234 billion. Once the revised approach to meeting the program requirements was endorsed, we moved forward with a concept design process which allowed us to fully understand the  design solution,” Andersen said. 

“Once we had the concept designed, we updated the estimate to reflect the design. The overall program budget was established at the end of 2019 when we revised the program scope and took a different approach to delivering the international requirements. Following this, the formal baseline was established in February 2020.”  

Andersen said that ITRP has cost $418 million to date (as of July 2021) and echoed Diaz’s comments that the program is making progress while moving significantly into construction. At present, the ITRP has about 100 operatives on-site each day, a number that that is expected to  peak at around 1,500 per day as it heads into the main construction phase in 2022. 

International Terminal Complex 

He discussed the future buildout of the International Terminal Complex, ITC, a strong mix of 1) new construction and 2) renovated or modified work. 

ITC new construction includes: 

  • D West Pier 

  • International Central Processor 

  • state-of-the art Baggage Screening Building 

  • additional parking level on top of the parking garage 

Renovated and modified work, which will provide a modern look and feel to match the new pier, includes: 

  • MLIT North Concourse 

  • administrative back-of-house changes within the FIS arrivals hall as well as a new security checkpoint 

He also discussed baseline, current and target dates for each of the undertakings. In many instances, the work is currently ahead of schedule. 

There is tremendous complexity to the ITRP, and the team has successfully balanced the delicate coordination necessary to perform in a live operational environment – not only above-ground work but below-ground work that includes existing structures, utilities and other foundations. 

A video model of the ongoing deconstruction of the now-closed Terminal D/E garage was shown to the EDC. The phased demolition (or deconstruction) is a methodical, measured and careful process, but Andersen emphasized Houston Airports’ ongoing commitment to safety. 

“Safety is of the utmost importance, and we are doing it methodically,” he said. 

EUL Project 

The Enabling Utilities Landside, EUL, Project is essential to program progress and includes the construction of a new water production plant and a new water distribution line to the Central Terminal Area, CTA. The project will also provide replacement of some of the aged water distribution line. It also allows for a triturator, an above-ground covered structure with truck bays and a recessed grinder pit. 

Closing Remarks 

Upon the conclusion of the presentation, Diaz and Andersen responded to several questions from the Council members, who were largely complimentary of the work.  

“ITRP will greatly enhance customer service for our international passengers. We continue to build upon already outstanding customer service and strive to provide the level of overall excellence that our customers deserve and demand,” Diaz said. 

Houston is the only city in the Western Hemisphere with two 4-star airports, Bush and William P. Hobby Airports, according to air transport rating company Skytrax. Diaz believes the ITRP gives wings to Houston Airports’ efforts to make Bush and Hobby the first 5-star airports in the United States.