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30,000 load-bearing towers for Airport Istanbul

After only two and half years of construction, parts of Istanbul's new airport will open next year. For rapid progress on this build, the contractor is relying on the formwork solution from Doka. A total of 30,000 load-bearing tower frames will be used.


35 km north of Istanbul, on the European side of the Bosporus, a new airport is in the making. Covering 76.5 km2, it will be one of the largest in the world. In terms of passenger capacity too, it will be one of the biggest: when fully operational on completion in 2028, it will be able to handle more than 150 million passengers a year. The new airport is set to become a hub in the region. Several airlines intend siting their headquarters there. In close proximity to the Black Sea, it will have its own port access.

It is Istanbul's third airport. The two now in operation – Ataturk International on the European and Sabiha Gokcen International on the Asian side of the straits – are too small for the increasing numbers of passengers. Ataturk International Airport is too close to the metropolitan sprawl to be extended, and current planning envisages its closure at some time in the near future. So building the new airport is a matter of some urgency. By no later than February 2018, only two and a half years into construction, the first of four construction phases is due for completion so that a large part of the airport complex can go operational. By that time three runways and one terminal will be available. These facilities will provide sufficient capacity to handle up to 90 million passengers a year.

Efficient, fast and saving on materials
In all, the construction area on this mega-size project is two million square metres. At times as many as 80 cranes will be in use. Two thirds of the formwork for the first construction phase are supplied by Austrian experts for formwork solutions Doka. In order to put the best formwork solution in place, a team of experts from Doka Turkey is hard at work, both in the planning offices and on the ground, providing services on site. On this build the Doka engineers are combining in particular Timber formwork beams H20 eco and H20 top and load-bearing towers, plus Framed formwork Framax Xlife and Frami Xlife and Large-area formwork Top 50. The formwork systems from Doka are in use in many areas, including the runways, terminals, multi-level car-parking facilities and hotels, and the wastewater treatment plant.

The load-bearing tower frames are steel, eminently suitable for high clearances and high loads. On the Istanbul airport build, these circumstances apply for the big downstand beams, which are twelve metres above ground level and on which the precast slab is laid. Because they are so strong and because of the wide frame span, moreover, the load-bearing towers are very safe. They also help speed up progress overall on the build, because vertical stacking is easy and assembly is a no-tools operation.

In all, 30,000 load-bearing tower frames and 100,000 running metres of Timber formwork beams H20 eco and H20 top are in use on this project. Large as the numbers are, they represent the optimised formwork solution on a construction project of this magnitude. Because the Doka load-bearing towers are designed for materials-saving use: the frames are oversized, so all in all fewer frames are needed to prop the structure.

Framed formwork and Timber-beam formwork systems are used for the walls and columns. First choice for the walls are the lightweight and easily handled Framed formwork Frami Xlife with strong, hot-dip galvanised steel frames and the Framax Xlife steel framed formwork, which is used for crane-lift forming of large areas. Large-area formwork Top 50 is used for the columns. It is pre-assembled and meets customer-specific requirements. A total of 5,000 m2 of framed formwork is in use. Forming and rebar-placement operations are assisted and facilitated by reinforcement platforms from Doka.

Faster, and safer too
Doka also compellingly demonstrates the high level of safety designed into the systems. The stair towers enable the site-crew members to reach their workspaces quickly and in safety. Essential safety is provided by more than four kilometres of guardrail in the form of the Edge protection system XP. So progress on the build is speedy and safe. Safety starts with correct set-up and operation of the formwork. That's why the site crew on the new Istanbul Airport build has the on-site support of Doka Formwork Instructors. Their job is explaining how to use the formwork effectively and in safety.

In short:
Project: Istanbul New Airport IGA
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Construction company and airport operator: Cengiz-MAPA-Limak-Kolin-Kalyon consortium
Start of construction: 2015
Scheduled completion: 2028, four phases; partial opening: February 2018
Type of structure: Airport
Passenger capacity: 150 million per year (after full completion), 90 million after 2018

Doka products in use:
Load-bearing towers, Timber formwork beams H20 eco and H20 top, Framed formwork Frami Xlife, Framed formwork Framax Xlife, Large-area formwork Top 50, Edge protection system XP, Doka stair tower, Doka reinforcement and working platforms;
Services: Formwork Instructors on site, planning service of Doka Turkey

About Doka:
Doka is a world leader in developing, manufacturing and distributing formwork technology for use in all fields of the construction sector. With more than 160 sales and logistics facilities in over 70 countries, the Doka Group has a highly efficient distribution network which ensures that equipment and technical support are provided swiftly and professionally. An enterprise forming part of the Umdasch Group, the Doka Group employs a worldwide workforce of more than 6,200.

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