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Refurbishing Heathrow Airport Terminal 1

Scope and Scale of the Project

The title of the project was “Refurbishing Heathrow Airport Terminal 1” (Project Management Institute n.d.). The manager of the undertaking was David Buisson. The project sought to refurbish and renovate Terminal 1 of Heathrow Airport with the slightest disruptions to passenger flow and within the established budget. The reason for modernisation was that the building had been in operation for over four decades without any significant improvements. Meanwhile, the introduction of international flights to the Terminal necessitated considerable technological and structural updates of the building. The following project deliverables were planned:

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  • A renovated construction of the Terminal;
  • New floor and furniture;
  • Modernised integrated technological systems;
  • Upgraded environmental and health safety aspects for customers (Our projects n.d.).

The design of the project was approved by regulators and stakeholders. The stakeholders were Heathrow Terminal 1 passengers, David Buisson (project manager), BAA, Star Alliance, and a large variety of contractors and suppliers employed during the refurbishment. The main acceptance criterion was the successful implementation of all technological, structural, and environmental changes.

The exception to this project was that the originally planned “cladding” system was not completed. Since the Terminal continued functioning during the refurbishment and modernisation process, there was no room for closure or delays. In spite of a variety of construction challenges, the budget was rather tight.

Any arising issues or unpredicted delays that might have appeared during work were assumed to be addressed via the software system and discussed with relevant contractors and stakeholders. In order to complete the project on time, bureaucratic and communication constraints were eliminated.

The work included 42 various phases the completion of which required 500,000 working hours. The project was to be finished in September 2008 (Project Management Institute n.d.). The budget was £57.6 million, and the management team did everything possible to keep within it.

In order to promote the success of the project, a speculative work breakdown structure (WBS) was used. The WBS functioned as an input for the project’s budget and all the phases of work (Norman, Brotherton & Fried 2008). Thus, the WBS of refurbishing the Terminal was comprehensive and included a variety of elements. The three major components were planning, construction, and communication and management. Planning comprised the following features: consulting stakeholders, designing necessary parameters, calculating expenses, establishing deadlines and logistical details, and hiring a project manager who would finalise the details of the contract. Construction involved the following components:

  • Structural (replacing the floor, clearing and replacing the roof, and adding the passenger and commercial space);
  • Environmental (establishing a new water system, providing sustainability and energy saving, improving the lighting, and installing low-energy heating);
  • Technological (installing closed-circuit TV systems, office network systems, specialist flight systems, and regulatory systems).

Communication and management included human resources, communication with stakeholders, budget management, and collaboration and communication with contractors.

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Scope and Scale of the Project

With the help of the WBS, all work was effectively organised and divided among the departments. Also, it enabled to assign people responsible for each stage effectively. The project manager arranged regular meetings to make sure that all components were developing by the plan.

Systems Used to Ensure Project Success

In order to guarantee favourable outcomes of the project, several systems were put in place, such as the project management office (PMO), project control system, change management system, and risk management system. The key role of the PMO was defining and maintaining the norms and standards for the management of refurbishment works. With the help of the PMO, Buisson was able to arrange the most accurate guidance and documentation of the project. Frequently, managers employ industry-standard guidelines to help them organise PMOs. Buisson consistently consulted A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) (Project Management Institute n.d.). By arranging the PMO, Buisson became able to manage the project effectively and have full control of it.

Project control system (PCS) is another essential component of any small or large program. Without proper discipline, one may not be able to successfully implement even a well-developed and perfectly planned project. Thus, Buisson arranged a system of government and guidance at every stage of refurbishment and renovation of the Terminal. The PCS comprises three key elements: budget, time, and performance (Badiru 2011). There are projects that put emphasis on performance and do not pay much attention to time and budget. However, refurbishing the Terminal at Heathrow required equal consideration to each of the three components. Thus, all of them were controlled by the project manager who arranged regular meetings with contractors where issues related to time frame, performance, and budget were discussed (Project Management Institute n.d.). When any unexpected issues appeared, Buisson came up with an alternative plan to avoid delays or additional expenses.

Change management system (CMS) was no less significant in the project. It was necessary to make sure that every stakeholder realised the need for change and was able to accept the complications that were caused by adjustments. In order to minimise the negative effect of modifications on stakeholders, the work was arranged in such a way that did not necessitate closing the Terminal. Also, every possible effort was made to eliminate discomfort. The work was performed in several shifts to finish the renovation as soon as possible (Project Management Institute n.d.). As a result, changes that might have caused disadvantages for stakeholders were turned into opportunities by the management team.

The fourth system employed to ensure the success of the project was a risk management system (RMS). The RMS dealt with the unexpected challenges that appeared in the course of work. The biggest of them were of structural, technological, and environmental nature. Structural issues were concerned with the need to repair the floor that was forty years old. Technological challenges appeared due to the need for replacing the existing network systems. Environmental problems were associated with the adherence to sustainability requirements (Project Management Institute n.d.). There were also two risks encountered by the team: electrical and asbestos. During work, it was discovered that the East Linear check-in department had a greater electricity demand than it had been expected. Discovering asbestos in the ceiling necessitated an urgent plan of its safe removal (Project Management Institute n.d.). Due to the successful arrangement of the RMS, all risks and challenges were overcome, and none of them delayed the works or posed any danger at budget planning.

Collaboration in Different Project Management Structures

In huge projects like “Refurbishing Heathrow Airport Terminal 1,” the need for collaboration between many structures is a crucial aspect of reaching beneficial outcomes. Productive partnership requires mutual understanding of the culture and values of each team engaged in the project (Binder 2016). While arranging work on the Terminal’s renovation, Buisson had to take into consideration such aspects as human resource management and communications management (Project Management Institute n.d.). The manager had to do everything possible to arrange effective collaboration among all the participants of the project.

Each of the teams was highly dedicated and tried to do its work in the most effective way. Still, it was quite a challenge for Buisson to manage a variety of people and teams due to the size and scale of the project. There were eleven top-tier suppliers who presented the data concerning work directly to the project manager. Also, there were many more who reported some necessary information to top-tier suppliers. As a result, there was an intricate system of sharing information. Under such circumstances, it was vital for Buisson to keep the scheme accurate and efficient so as to avoid any misunderstandings and problems.

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Another thing that could have undermined the successful collaboration was the planning of the project. There were many third parties engaged in work, which could have impacted collaboration in an adverse way. If the contractor had not finished levelling the floor on time, it could have led to the delay in work of the team responsible for furniture instalment, and each of such steps could have postponed the project. However, due to effective planning, no such delays took place.

The collaboration was also enhanced by successful communications management (Project Management Institute n.d.). Due to a large number of high-level stakeholders, Buisson had to arrange an effective system of informing each department and team of any updates. Then, owing to that system, it was easier for him to arrange all forty-two phases of work while keeping the Terminal operational.

One of the reasons why the project manager was able to arrange collaboration was that he maintained a collaborative approach to solving the issues that appeared during work (Project Management Institute n.d.). Such a method involves creating a shared vision and responsibility. It is not always possible to take into account the opinions of all stakeholders, but knowing that one’s idea will be heard and considered makes employees feel more empowered. Also, collaboration presupposes sharing information at the early stages of a project so as to provide a better possibility for effective decision making. Thus, collaboration is a productive approach that allows leaders to find out what their team members think and choose the most compelling options.

During work on Terminal refurbishing, collaboration was achieved due to the efforts of the project manager. Buisson did everything possible to avoid misunderstandings and allow each stakeholder to feel that their opinions were important. He scheduled regular meetings every week and month where suppliers could express any problems or grievances. Whenever a problem appeared, Buisson personally dealt with it in order to guarantee that the issue was solved quickly prior to moving to the next stage (Project Management Institute n.d.). Because of such an attitude, project management was able to arrange work effectively and promptly.

Potential Resource Conflicts

Megaprojects such as the refurbishment of Heathrow Terminal 1 require much preparation and present a variety of challenges. The uniqueness of technologies used and design peculiarities are the greatest issues that may prevent the project from being fulfilled in time (Lehtonen 2014). Also, there may be problems with governance and control due to many levels of work and short time frame. Finally, a serious risk is the one concerned with resource conflicts. The major potential resource conflict in the case was concerned with the budget. There were many teams whose work was coordinated by the project manager. If one of the teams had failed to follow budget restrictions, it would have caused serious problems for the other teams. Everything was interdependent, and it was crucial to keep the situation under constant control.

Potential resource conflicts were minimised with the help of the “iron triangle.” It is a model of project management that establishes the project’s constraints (Lehtonen 2014). The “iron triangle” consists of three elements: the scope of the project, its cost, and schedule. The major guidelines of this triangle are as follows:

  • The quality of the project is limited by its budget, scope, and time frame;
  • It is in the project manager’s power to make changes within the elements;
  • Alterations in one component lead to modifications in other elements.

The time constraint in the discussed case included such elements as creating a schedule of work, defining the activities necessary to perform, creating an effective sequence of activities, estimating resources, and developing and controlling the work schedule. The constraint of cost consisted of the following components:

  • Estimating the costs: evaluating the cost of resources required to complete the activities;
  • Budgeting the costs: accumulating the resource costs and activities to determine the baseline;
  • Controlling the costs: considering the factors that may have an impact on cost variance and can be governed with the help of cost management techniques.

Managers may resort to two kinds of effective resource allocation: loading and levelling (Schwalbe 2014). Resource loading is related to the extent of individual resources required by the existing schedule during particular periods of time. With the help of resource loading, project managers can establish a general understanding of the project’s requirements concerning the resources along with individual people’s timetables (Schwalbe 2014). In order to determine staffing requirements, a project manager may use a histogram. A resource histogram is a rather helpful tool to identify the causes of overallocation. The concept of overallocation is defined as assigning more people to some task than there are available (Schwalbe 2014). Resource levelling is the method of resolving conflicts through postponing tasks. The major aim of resource levelling is creating a productive allocation of resource usage. A network diagram is a tool most frequently used by project managers to identify resource conflicts. For the discussed project, the following network diagram was suggested:

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Potential Resource Conflicts

With the help of the diagram, Buisson was able to avoid resource conflicts. The use of the “iron triangle” method also ensured productive work on the project without any delays or issues. Although the project was huge and involved a large number of stakeholders, the project manager arranged work in the most efficient way. He averted possible conflicts and did not allow any delays or budget extensions.

Risk Management Plan

The project manager had to take particular care of risk management since the scope of work was rather large, and the appearance of risks was inevitable. In order to prepare the risk management plan, Buisson had to take into consideration such aspects as risk identification, risk assessment, and risk control strategies. In addition, he had to prepare a thorough risk communication plan in order to be able to resolve conflicts when they appeared.

Risk Identification

The most commonly employed tool for risk identification is SWOT analysis (Sweeting 2017). Under the analysis, the following strengths of the project were identified:

  • Heathrow is a respected and well-known European air hub;
  • The airports’ location allows for the high transition of passenger traffic via flight transfers;
  • Heathrow has high passenger satisfaction scores;
  • There is a customer base of network carriers and global alliances;
  • The project is supported and funded by the government;
  • Project manager David Buisson has more than thirteen years of experience in similar ventures.

The weaknesses of the project are:

  • A short deadline to complete the refurbishment with the aim of avoiding massive disruptions to passenger traffic;
  • The lack of experience in such large-scale Terminal upgrades that may lead to the possibility of unpredicted complications that might cause delays or make the project go over budget;
  • Budget changes that were made late into the project development resulted in design changes.

Project’s opportunities are as follows:

  • Making structural and aesthetic changes to the Terminal building;
  • Enhancing the information technology integration in the airport structure, making it innovative and modernised;
  • Increasing passenger flow and customer satisfaction with airport services;
  • Providing an opportunity to gain experience in Terminal upgrades.

Finally, the following threats were identified:

  • A large number of teams and third-party contractors working on the project might create a possibility of delays;
  • Health and safety risks regarding the discovery of asbestos in the Terminal roof;
  • The risk of electrical conduit problems that could cause power not to return after it was switched off for construction work.

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment helps to identify potential losses due to hazards in the process of work (Raydugin 2013). There were several levels of risk that needed to be considered. The known risk was the need to coordinate refurbishment works with the continuing functioning of the Terminal. The predictable risk was not managing the successful functioning of the Terminal due to delays in some contractors’ work. The unpredicted risks were the ones concerned with finding asbestos in the ceiling and electrical problems.

Discovering asbestos in the ceiling was the first unpredicted risk that could have delayed the project. However, with the help of primary risk management schedules, it became possible to avert the danger. The second unpredicted risk was concerned with electricity. Switching off the power posed a risk of not having it back at all. Thus, the project manager held a high-level meeting with the stakeholders and the major contractor to evaluate the risk and create a plan. Further, subsequent meetings were held with each party involved in order to discuss the responsibilities and review the risks (Project Management Institute n.d.). Due to the successful risk assessment activities, Buisson was able to manage all the risks adequately.

Risk Control Strategy

The defence strategy was employed for risk control. The strategy helped to avert the adverse outcomes appearing from vulnerable aspects during work on the project. Defence mechanisms used by Buisson were predicting the risks and suggesting alternative ways of managing challenges such as electricity or asbestos issues.

Risk Communication Plan

Risk management also involved a risk communication plan that helped Buisson to arrange a prompt and effective discussion of any arising issues with the stakeholders. As well as risk assessment, risk communication was performed in several stages. At first, the project manager met with the high-level stakeholders, and then, meetings with the subordinate teams were arranged.

Evaluation of Tools and Methods

Out of the variety of tools and methods available for project management, the ones chosen by Buisson were effective and provided the successful completion of the project. The following methods and tools were employed:

  • Risk management;
  • Budget planning;
  • WBS;
  • Network analysis;
  • Resource analysis;
  • Reports;
  • “Iron triangle”;
  • Project management software;
  • Project management systems (Carstens, Richardson & Smith 2013).

The use of each tool and method presupposed collaborative work of different structures under the project manager’s guidance and control. The most helpful tool was the WBS since it helped to break down the responsibilities and enabled Buisson to arrange the work effectively. Budget planning was another crucial aspect that needed to be considered prior to implementing refurbishment and renovation. Through risk management, it was possible to avoid challenging issues that could have appeared during work. Project management software and systems were employed to set and control the objectives. Network and resource analysis helped to avoid potential resource conflicts. Regular reports were a great way of controlling the workflow and budget of the project. The “iron triangle” helped Buisson to create a solid interdependence between the project’s scope, schedule, and cost.

Executive Summary

The project “Refurbishing Heathrow Airport Terminal 1” was one of the largest renovation campaigns in the UK’s industrial history. The major difficulty of the venue was that the Terminal had to continue working during the reconstruction process. Owing to the experience and managerial talent of David Buisson, the numerous challenges were averted, and the project was completed in time.

The mission of the project was to make one of the busiest Terminals of Heathrow airport more convenient for passengers. The vision was minimising the risks during work and reaching the overall aim of making the Terminal modernised. The values of the team were concerned with keeping all the stakeholders satisfied while providing quality services and averting conflict situations.

The work on the project was divided into 42 phases and involved over 500,000 working hours. The budget was £57.6 million, and despite unexpected complications, it was not exceeded. All the works were finished by the deadline that was set for September 2008.

The WBS was used to enhance the project’s successful implementation. Its three key features were planning, construction, and communication and management. Owing to the WBS, the work was arranged and divided successfully. Notwithstanding the fact that there were many stakeholders, Buisson managed to complete everything within the set budget and time limit.

To ensure project success, the following systems were employed: project management office, project control system, change management system, and risk management system. A crucial aspect that enhanced the project was a collaboration in various structures. Minimising of potential resource conflicts was possible due to the use of “iron triangle.” Risk management plan helped Buisson to avoid adverse outcomes of expected and unexpected risks. Regular meetings with constructors provided a possibility of averting misunderstandings. With the help of effective planning and production methods and tools, David Buisson managed to arrange the work in the most successful way.

Reference List

Badiru, AB 2011, Project management: systems, principles, and applications, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

Binder, J 2016, Global project management: communication, collaboration, and management across borders, Routledge, New York, NY.

Carstens, DS, Richardson, GL & Smith, RB 2013, Project management tools and techniques: a practical guide, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

Lehtonen, M 2014, ‘Evaluating megaprojects: from the “iron triangle” to network mapping’, Evaluation, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 278-295.

Norman, ES, Brotherton, SA & Fried, RT 2008, Work breakdown structures: the foundation for project management excellence, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.

Our projects n.d., Web.

Project Management Institute n.d., Changing the face at the busiest airport in the world through project management, Web.

Raydugin, Y 2013, Project risk management: essential methods for project teams and decision makers, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.

Schwalbe, K 2014, Information technology project management, 7th edn, CENGAGE Learning, Boston, MA.

Sweeting, P 2017, Financial enterprise risk management, 2nd edn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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