Project Profile: O’Hare Terminal 5 Expansion and Modernization, Chicago

The renovation of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Terminal 5 showcases the L&W Supply team’s ability to partner and coordinate with multiple organizations simultaneously to manage safety, security, and schedules in one of the busiest airports in the world undergoing a complex and massive expansion and renovation.

The Project
In March of 2019, L&W was selected as materials provider as part of the 4-year, multi-billion-dollar Expansion and Modernization of O’Hare Terminal 5. The initial phase of the project began with a $1.2 billion investment in adding 10 new wide-body aircraft gates and relocating and reconfiguring three existing gates to increase the terminal’s gate capacity by 25 percent. Over 750,000 square feet of the existing building is being renovated, with new furniture and technology, a new Baggage Handling System; a clear wayfinding system; and expanded security checkpoints, airline lounges, concessions, and other amenities. The multi-phased expansion of the terminal will be completed and in full use by 2023.

The renovations must be conducted around the 24/7 operational needs of the airport, and coordination of the logistics of crews, tools, materials, and equipment through stringent security procedures is required every day. The project requires that special attention be paid to ensuring the safety of the airport staff and the public, so builders must employ phasing and shift work, and every contractor involved must have the flexibility to adapt to the needs of the Airport and the Transportation Security Administration, (TSA).

The project is designed by Chicago architecture firm Muller2 in conjunction with HOK and T.Y. Lin International. Construction is managed by Austin Power Partners, a joint venture between Austin Commercial, Power Construction Company, and L&W’s long-time client, Escarpita Construction, Inc.

Our Role
L&W Supply was awarded the contract to provide the materials to Escarpita Construction for the O’Hare Terminal 5 project, serving as the building supply distributor for interior construction products. Supplied out of our Elk Grove Village location, this is the largest USG Sheetrock® Brand Ensemble® Acoustical Drywall Ceiling System project in our history. The design team specified this USG ceiling for its unique ability to deliver superior acoustical performance without compromising the seamless beauty of drywall, even throughout the subtly curved ceilings found in the terminal design. L&W Supply brings a keen understanding of our partners’ need for continuous coordination efforts between the airport, airlines, and all the contractors and sub-contractors that must be in place on a project of this scope.

In many ways, this is essentially a straightforward job to stock: we are providing all of the drywall and USG ceilings, we are responsible for metal, taping, lumber and fire-treated lumber, and specialty products, and finally, getting everything where it needs to go. In addition, L&W Supply’s fleet of trucks delivered the materials to specific locations of the multi-story facility, using specialized equipment to hoist building products and construction supplies to the upper levels.

“At L&W Supply, safety and service are how we build lasting partnerships. We appreciate our customers – and they know that we care about their projects as much as they do. This job was no exception. Due to the fact we were working at an airport, additional security clearances and jobsite protocols were required. I’m very proud of how the Elk Grove Village team worked alongside our customer to ensure a timely and safe completion of this project.”

Mark Woodsum, District Manager, Upper Midwest District

Our Process
The difference is when we arrive at the site, the TSA has numerous regulations that must be followed. Before a company can start work at the airport, they must become a signatory in order to obtain authorization to enter controlled access areas, usually with an escort. The entire effort carries with it additional layers of compliance, along with administrative and logistical processes that must be in place. L&Ws commitment to hiring and training people to the highest standards to meet client requirements ensured the vetting process required by the TSA for its drivers and staff was completed smoothly.

Our delivery process has been carefully refined to get our clients what they want, where they want it, and when they want it. We created our Customer Service Delivery System (CSDS) to ensure that, from order to delivery, our clients receive all their materials, on time, every time. All loads are double-checked before they leave our yard and again at the jobsite. We then provide delivery verification with proof of delivery once an order arrives, so our clients are able to schedule their crews accordingly.

Our Commitment
Detailed planning is required when working with TSA logistics in and around an active facility to avoid costly disruptions to the airport’s operations. Our commitment to a collaborative approach, delivery excellence, and world-class service working with all stakeholders helps ensure project success. If this means there are a few weeks when we start work at 10:00 PM and work until 6:00 AM the next morning, we’re prepared to do what it takes without missing a step.

“L&W Supply’s brand promise is “Difference Delivered” and the Terminal 5 O’Hare Project is a perfect example of how our teams are living this promise daily. We earn the trust of our customers by taking a very complex project and making it look easy.”

Mark Sweeney, Merchandising Manager – Ceilings and Acoustical Products

L&W Supply would like to acknowledge the contributions of the many team members and partners we continue to work with during the course of this project, including Escarpita Construction in Chicago.

USG Ceilings® jobsite leadership provided by Sam Hulka, Product Specialist, and Dave Malik, Contractor Specialty Representative.

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