Date of article: Q2 2019

MASSIVE AT FIRST SIGHT, BUT JUST HOW BIG IS SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT EXPANSION CONCOURSE? If you’ve flown in or out of Suvarnabhumi International Airport recently you probably noticed the large building being constructed opposite the main terminal. The structure has sprung up quickly over the past 12 months thanks in no small part to the innovative building materials being used. The building is the Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion concourse and it will boost the facility’s capacity by 15 million passengers when it opens. If that sounds like a lot, it is. And this means the new concourse needs to be big enough to handle the vast amount of people who will use it. So just how big is this structure? For starters, it is about one kilometer in length. To put this into perspective, the new terminal covers more distance than what’s found between the Siam and Chit Lom BTS stations with a hundred or so meters to spare. And if you factor in width, it covers more area than nine football pitches. In terms of similar buildings, the Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion concourse is very close in size to Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 4. The new terminal at Changi can handle up to 16 million passengers per year and has a total of 21 contact gates and eight bus gates. The Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion concourse will be able to accommodate 15 million passengers annually and will have 28 contact gates. But there is more to a building than its length or how it compares to similar structures. The true size of the Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion concourse really comes to light when you look at the amount of material used in its construction. In many places throughout the three-story concourse, builders opted to use INSEE SUPERBLOCK panels, a pre-fabricated concrete panel solution, instead of traditional brick and mortar solutions. A total of 100,000 square meters of panels will be used in the construction of the concourse building. Of course, you’re probably now wondering just how big 100,000 square meters is? In order to place into to context, let’s compare the size to other buildings. There is no shortage of high-rise condominiums in Bangkok these days. These buildings take roughly 25,000 square meters of pre-fabricated panels to complete. And while it’s impossible to say the Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion concourse is the exact same size as four high-rise condominium buildings, but it is close. That’s good, but how does compare to current Bangkok landmarks. Well, Central Chidlom is 68,000 square meters. The largest IKEA in Southeast Asia is IKEA Bang Yai and that’s only 50,000 square meters. Yet, it will take less time to install the 100,000 square meters of prefabricated panels at the Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion concourse than it took to for work to get done on either one of those small projects. Central Chidlom took years to build before finally opening its doors to shoppers in 1973. The reason it took so long was to due limited technology. Brick and mortar was the only way to go back then. Meanwhile, it took nearly two years for work on IKEA Bang Yai to be completed. Installation of the 100,000 square meters of pre-fabricated concrete panels at the Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion concourse, will have taken less time despite being double the size. So, just how big is the Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion concourse? It’s really big. But it has taken less time and money to build than other similarly sized structures thanks to innovations in construction including the use of pre-fabricated concrete panels.

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