Blog: Project of the Year +£10m SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - Heathrow T3 FCC

02 May 2019

sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Heathrow T3 Flight Connection Centre - submitted by Mace

The Terminal 3’s (T3) new Flight Connection Centre (FCC) is one of the most challenging and ambitious projects in Heathrow’s recent history.

The first deliverable was taking the unprecedented step, in response to Heathrow's space constraints, of rehousing the transfer operation by building a temporary connections facility on a live aircraft stand at the heart of T3. The team achieved the challenging 7 month construction window set, through maximising DFMA and off site modular construction. They did this whilst demonstrating exemplar H&S performance, with no incidents or operational disruption, despite being within touching distance of live flight operations surrounding the site.

Once live, the old FCC was then successfully demolished, through meticulous planning and rigorous site management, without issue or any operational disruption. This is to be celebrated, as the site lies at the heart of T3 and is ‘landlocked’ by live buildings, adjoining and structurally connected to the wider T3 estate on two elevations, with very little space separating the site and live buildings on the remaining two elevations.


The ground works stage saw the team maintain programme with a “can do, will do” attitude in dealing with several hundred tonnes of unforeseen buried concrete and over 70 metres of legacy asbestos drainage. The team was further tested having to maintain a major airside arterial road through the site at all times. It involved moving the road off and then back on to its original alignment throughout the building sequence.

Ground works

This “can do, will do” attitude also saw the team deliver over £11m worth of client change (representing over 20% of the original main building costs). This was all done with minimal associated programme extensions through agile governance and a joined-up risk approach, which enabled early long-lead item procurement along with combining scheme and production designs.

Finally the team successfully brought the opening and go live forward by 20 operational days to avoid peak passenger periods. They ran best in class operational readiness, familiarisation and training ensuring go live progressed as business as usual. Our engineering colleagues have praised the quality of the build and asset handover by confirming they have received no significant maintenance interventional call outs since go live at end 18 June, and thus that FCC now sets the benchmark for major Heathrow infrastructure delivery moving forward.

This project was extremely challenging but delivered with aplomb. The team cannot be more pleased with feedback received from customers and stakeholders since the project has completed. The end customer - passengers who use the new flight connections - expressed their approval with a significant increase in passenger experience scores for connections upon opening.


  • Overcoming the location constraints
  • No airport operational down time
  • Major change integration mid build

For more details:

Visit Mace

The SECBE 2019 Building Project of the Year over £10m Award is sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

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