Case Study:
How Shipping Containers Helped Airport Construction Get off the Ground at Dallas-Fort Worth

Renovating a major U.S. airport is no small feat—especially when the updates span four separate terminals and total an estimated $2.3 billion in renewal and improvement costs. In fact, when Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) set out to accomplish just such a plan, they enlisted the help of two joint ventures, eight construction management firms, and nearly 250 subcontractors. 

Dubbed project TRIP (Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program), the DFW overhaul is nothing short of massive. According to the airport’s website, efforts to “redefine” Dallas-Fort Worth and “rediscover world class” travel began in 2010. They’re expected to continue through 2017.  

The Advantage of Shipping Containers for Airport Construction 

Recycled shipping containers are a natural fit for a project so focused on smart, innovative components. Sustainable materials, energy-saving utilities, even electronic document control, make TRIP a seven-year case study in responsible reconstruction—not to mention another chapter in the book on shipping container opportunities. 

“MBJ3 was asked to acquire additional [space] at DFW airport for general storage, spare parts, and building materials for the Terminal E Satellite Building,” explained Travis Porter, project coordinator for MBJ3, the joint venture tasked with overseeing renovations for Terminals B and E. He outlined why steel shipping containers were an obvious choice. 

“Security, portability, and protection from the weather are all conducive to construction site operations,” Porter acknowledged.  “In this case, container modifications to meet special circumstances were [also essential] to our jobsite operations.” 

The Advantage of Falcon Structures’ Service 

Falcon Structures earned a place among TRIP’s detail-oriented suppliers, thanks to its quality service and efficient customization options. 

“Falcon was selected based on their ability to meet our deadline. Our containers were purchased and modified with the addition of roll-up side doors, which eliminated [any] swing door radius,” said Porter. MBJ3 also required the installation of custom wall vents. 

“There were no issues in coordinating the purchase, modification, or delivery of the containers,” said Porter. “Falcon representative Kelley Rizzo was consistently helpful throughout the entire process, maintaining communication and providing adequate updates to ensure our desired deadline would be met, which it was.” 

The Advantage of Unlimited Use 

MBJ3 is currently transitioning into the second of four phases on Terminal E. The shipping containers were originally purchased for use on a completed, now active, part of the terminal. Coordinators aren’t sure where the shipping containers will go next, but they’ll likely be utilized by the airport indefinitely. 

One thing that’s certain: shipping containers contributed to early success at DFW. “Falcon’s ability to modify and deliver 10 containers by our selected deadline helped to maintain various aspects of a much larger project schedule,” emphasized Porter. 

In addition to a new parking garage, security corridor, and rail line extensions, project TRIP involves plans to rework airport plumbing, HVAC, plus interior and exterior design components for updated aesthetics and energy efficiency.