Concrete and Communications at JFK
John F. Kennedy International Airport hosts more than 49 million travelers per year. Keeping one of the world’s busiest airports fully operational obviously is vital. When fiber-optic communications networks needed to be updated, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey specified precast concrete buildings to house the systems.
The structures are Easi-Set Buildings manufactured by licensed producer Oldcastle Precast. The identical buildings measure 13 ft 10 in by 15 ft 10 in by 10 ft 5 in with 4-inch-thick walls. At 75,000 pounds each, the buildings were delivered to the site fully assembled. E.J. Electric installed the buildings after prepping the site. Tom Hildebrandt, a project executive with the company, says: “The process was very easy. We set them with a 100-ton crane on concrete pads that we preinstalled. The challenge was precisely lining up the conduits with the openings in the floor of the buildings.” E.J. Electric also installed all conduits and cables, fans, louvers, communication racks, a cable tray, electric panels and switches, lights, fire alarms and lightening protection.
Hildebrandt gives precast concrete buildings a thumbs up because of their many advantages, which include a fast and efficient manufacturing timeline and less field installation labor. The state-of-the-art manufacturing process brings immediate installation instead of waiting for the building to gain strength and modularity; this adds to a building’s overall durability.
"Because precast is manufactured in a controlled casting environment, it is easier to control the mix, placement and curing process," said Tom Ely with Oldcastle. "Quality can be controlled and monitored much more easily."
These buildings may not be what JFK passengers notice, but they are part of keeping the 4,930-acre site up to date and fully wired.