As They Consolidate Their Rental Car Centers, Airports Look to Construction Specialists for Help

 |  Building, Civil & Transportation
Progress rendering of the new CONRAC at San Diego International Airport

A current trend in aviation construction is the move to bring separate rental car facilities at busy airports together into Consolidated Rental Car Facilities, or CONRACs. These buildings typically house a dozen or more rental car agencies and all of their functions under one roof – customer service, maintenance, washing and more.

The reason? Consolidation equals efficiency, which in turn benefits airports and their customers. Clustering rental car services cuts down on traffic (and pollution) because it eliminates the need for individual rental agency shuttles. CONRACs also reduce wasteful redundancy because rental agencies can share some facilities (such as car wash stations) rather than each building and maintaining its own. And the biggest benefit for airports: CONRACs free up space that can be re-purposed.

That’s especially important at some of the nation’s more space-challenged airports, like San Diego International, where Sundt and joint venture partner Austin Commercial are building a two-million-square-foot CONRAC on a 24.5-acre site. The 24-month, Construction Manager at Risk project involves a number of challenges, which is why it was awarded to a team with the right kind of expertise and experience.

“An airport is only going to build a facility like this once, so they want it done right – by a specialist,” said Sundt Preconstruction Project Manager Brad Kirsch. “These aren’t the kind of projects that should involve a steep learning curve for the contractor.”