RDM Enterprises Group president Ron Madsen says construction of the new Langley Regional Airport terminal building went well, though there were a few bumps along the road that pushed completion past the original Spring 2018 date.
Such as the geotechnical issue that arose when the Langley City-based firm discovered a old creek bed was running through the building site; a U.S. decision to impose tariffs on steel that held up deliveries, and a run of bad weather that delayed completing the concrete walls.
“We couldn’t get a five-day weather window to pour them,” Madsen remarked.
As well, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that slowed the pace of some construction, because trades had to maintain social distancing.
“Other than that, it was the normal cause of construction,” Madsen smiled.
Madsen, who gave a tour of the virtually-completed premises to the Langley Advance Times on Wednesday, Aug 27, believes there are only two airport buildings like it in Canada.
A unique, all-in-one design, the Langley facility is a 55,000 sq-ft three-storey combination building that includes a new airport control tower rising another two storeys above.
With construction nearly done, Madsen’s concern is shifting to management, with an RDM division, Pacific Aircraft Services, owning the building and leasing it out.
It is fully occupied, with tenants ranging from the airport manager’s office, Tourism Langley, the Township of Langley, and aerospace companies and associations as well as restaurants.
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These day, it’s the details that occupy Madsen’s attention, sorting out things like programming the automatic timers that turns lights on and off and other small but significant issues that need addressing.
“This building has a lot of moving parts,” Madsen observed.
Inside, a staircase runs up the centre of the bright atrium that connects the first three floors of the terminal building.
“We wanted something special,” Madsen commented.
The building is, he noted, designed to last at least 100 years.
Fourth and fifth floors belong to NAV Canada, the federal non-profit corporation that runs all air traffic control in Canada, a space that is not open to the public.
Madsen was pleased to report the air traffic controllers were impressed by the new digs.
“They said this is the nicest facility in Canada,” Madsen recalled.
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In October, NAV Canada is expected to relocate to the spanking-new control tower,from their current home next to the new building.
Once that happens, the last phase of the project will get underway, with demolition of the old tower to make room for construction of three new hangars on the north side of the terminal building.
There are no scheduled flights from the airport, but Madsen thinks some carriers will be looking for less traffic-congested options to the Vancouver airport.
“This make a lot pf sense, to go out of regional airports,” he remarked.
Madsen estimates the all-in cost of the building, including construction and fitting-out, at $16 million.
It will give fly-in visitors an indoor place to stay, as opposed to the current circumstances when people arriving at the airport after the office and the restaurant are closed have to wait outdoors until a cab could come pick them up.
Originally built by the federal Department of Transport in 1938, the Langley airport was controlled by the Department of National Defence and enhanced for the Royal Canadian Air Force for use as a relief field in the early 1940s.
After the Second World War, the Department of Transport resumed ownership and leased the airport to the Township of Langley. In 1954, the facility was licensed to operate as a municipal airport and in 1967 it was purchased by the Township.
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