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News  |  Oct 11, 2022  |  Christine Furey

Project Spotlight: SJC Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Facility

  • Project Spotlight SJC ARFF

Arora Engineers (Arora) provided electrical and plumbing engineering services for the progressive design/build of a new, 18,000+ SF Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Facility at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).

The new ARFF has five apparatus bays housing the airport’s four ARFF vehicles, with one additional bay for maintenance, as well as a landside vehicle bay. The facility features upgraded amenities including:

  • Separate firefighter dormitories, each with its own bathroom and shower
  • Kitchen, replete with high efficiency appliances
  • Spacious dining facility for team meals
  • Large windows facing the runway that allow the crews to surveille incoming and outgoing flights
  • Administrative offices
  • Improved/expanded training room
  • Laundry room, storage spaces and utility rooms

This fire station is unique in that it services both the City of San Jose Station #20 as well as airside aircraft rescue and firefighting operations at SJC, improving access to resources and equipment necessary to protect San Jose residents and the airport’s millions of yearly passengers. The new facility features improved safety equipment for diesel extraction and decontamination and will allow the airport to invest in infrastructure to support modern technologies and customized firefighting equipment to respond to airside and landside emergencies more efficiently and effectively.

This project was awarded one of ENR California’s 2022 Regional Best Projects for their Award of Merit – Airport/Transportation. Learn more here.

Arora’s plumbing and electrical engineering teams ensured all applicable system designs met rigorous Critical Operations Powers Systems (COPS) code requirements, along with SJC’s even more robust reliability and redundancy goals, including providing the entire facility with full generator backup and seven days of fuel storage to allow full operations during extended power outages. Backup operation of all HVAC and water systems were provided, and the critical electrical distribution branch and associated electrical feeders were fire rated for up to two hours.

The new facility was designed, and materials were specified to achieve a minimum LEED Silver Certification and complied with the City’s Net Zero Ready Building and Zero Net Carbon mandates. The facility is equipped for future solar power implementation with the potential to power approximately 25% of the buildings with solar power.

The COVID-19 pandemic began just as this design/build project got underway, which made team coordination, materials sourcing, and construction services challenging. Arora, serving as a member of the design and construction team led by Overaa Construction, Ten Over Studio, and YamaMar Architecture, overcame the challenges of coordinating a complex infrastructure project during a global pandemic by implementing an extensive three-month programming phase to design this important facility. This allowed all parties to collaborate effectively to ensure constructability of their design. Design and construction were then expedited to compensate for COVID-related delays on materials and design/build construction services, and this technologically advanced, high-efficiency facility opened its doors to serve the airport and San Jose community in March of this year.

To learn more about Arora’s scope of work on this project, click here.

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