London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Terminal 2B. Image courtesy of Heathrow Airport Holdings

Heathrow Terminal 2B. Image courtesy of Heathrow Airport Holdings


Matthew Pierpoint. Ramboll

Matthew Pierpoint

Aviation Global Divisional Director
T: +44 7970 285 129
Simon Groves. Ramboll

Simon Groves

T: +44 20 7631 5291

Heathrow Airport now serves more passengers than any other European airport. For almost three decades, Ramboll has been involved with Heathrow Airport, supporting multiple projects. This includes due diligence support to Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited in connection with the £1.5 billion sale of their 100% interest in Stansted Airport Limited to Manchester Airports Group. We also delivered the scheme design for Terminal 2B, integrating the new light rail passenger transport system and new baggage handling networks into the design. We are also responsible for the award winning M25 J12-15 widening and T5 spur road that completed three weeks early and was praised as an exemplary delivery at the Highways Agency Major Projects Conference keynote. We have also been involved in other projects at terminals 1, 2, 2B, 3 and 5. 

Terminal 2B scheme design and construction programme

Completed in 2013 to replace Terminals 1 and 2, the £650m project for BAA was on a similar scale and standard to Terminal 5, including improved satellite pier arrangements.

We provided structural and geotechnical services for a feasibility study and the complex stage C scheme design. Our work involved integrating the new light rail passenger transport system (ITS) and new baggage handling networks into the design with Grimshaw architects.

T2B - The superstructure

The superstructure is a braced steel frame on a precast concrete floor over three levels. The terminal has a central atrium with glazed roof, 60m long x 32m wide. Clear space basement level -2 up to the third floor passenger transport platform allows natural daylight throughout the full height of the building. Services and plant provision are housed on the ground floor along with staff and ramp accommodation. Departures services are located on the first floor, with Arrivals on the second floor.

3D modelling helped shape the final engineering design, incorporating an in situ concrete sub-ground level with secant piled walls that provide a deep basement with a robust waterproofing solution. The basement levels run out under the airport apron to accommodate the ITS, baggage handling system and services. These connect to the new terminal and the adjacent terminals through tunnels. Columns for the superstructure are arranged around the ITS tracks with transfer structures used where necessary.

T2B - A construction programme for a confined site

Heathrow is a complex site with multiple constraints, including a high water table, ground contamination and the need for co-ordination with existing and future services provision. To overcome the challenges of working on a confined site within an operating airport, we developed a construction programme that provided for detailed sequencing and multiple phases.

BREEAM airport terminal code development

BAA is committed to sustainability and instigated discussions with the internationally recognised developer of sustainability standards BRE Global to formulate BREEAM criteria specific to airport terminals, and to inform the scheme design for T2B.

Ramboll’s sustainability consultants were appointed by BAA to collaborate with BRE in formulating the new codes on a pilot BREEAM code. We facilitated a series of workshops with BAA and BRE to refine the collective thinking on sustainability in terminal design.

A biomass boiler, photovoltaics and CHP had already been incorporated into the design of the new terminal. Following the workshops, and once a preliminary set of BREEAM terminal criteria had been drawn up, the design team added water efficient fittings and leak detection systems to improve T2B’s sustainability performance.

Socio-economic assessment for a new mega airport in London

Transport for London (TfL) assigned Ramboll in 2013 to several teams involved in comprehensive project work to input to the ‘Davies Report’. We contributed to different feasibility studies, market studies, and transport studies.

The final report was published in 2015 by The Airports Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies to consider how the UK can maintain its status as an international hub for aviation and immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity. More on this project here.

Terminal 3

Working with a design team lead by Pascall+Watson Architects, we provided acoustic, electrical, drainage and structural engineering services on various projects including:

  • Design and construction of two blast resistant steel entrance porches for the LHR T3 departures forecourt
  • Heathrow Terminal 3 International Departures Lounge - internal acoustic environment to both improve the passenger experience and maintain operational efficiency
  • Ramboll designed the electrical and power systems to upgrade the Monaco tunnel (baggage conveyer hall) underneath the T3IB as part of the baggage upgrades throughout Terminal 3
  • We were also involved with the strip out and refurbishment of a number of areas, including the East Wing office block to provide a new hotel shell and core facility

The £4.5B Heathrow Terminal 5 Project

Ramboll provided a variety of services for this project including:

  • Pre-planning geo-environmental assessment at the Southern and Eastern Ancillary Areas in advance of the redevelopment of the site
  • Design check for the transfer baggage tunnel to T5 including impact assessments on existing live London Underground metro tunnels and settlement analysis
  • Completed design for a new retail outlet within the Heathrow Terminal 5 luxury retail development scheme
  • Our ground engineering and structures teams were enlisted to provide substructures for a £1.5m sculpture project marking the approach to Heathrow Airport's new Terminal 5


240 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NW
United Kingdom
Tel:+44 20 7631 5291

Company registration

Company registration

Ramboll UK Limited. Registered in England & Wales. Company registration no. 03659970. Registered office: 240 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NW

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