The Management Center for the Terminal 3 Construction Site
Terminal 3 in View

It’s impossible to efficiently manage a huge project like that for building Terminal 3 without a well-organized and well-staffed commercial department. It purchases planning and construction services, concludes contracts, and checks all of the invoices received. And that’s far from everything that it does.

What the employees of our commercial department accomplish day in and day out is truly impressive. They deserve credit for the fact that everything done in connection with the T3 construction site proceeds smoothly from the bidding phase all the way to actual implementation. To accomplish this, all of the processes involved are digitalized. And I’m proud of the high standards we are setting with this work.

Stephanie Pudwitz, Geschäftsführerin Fraport Ausbau Süd

Facts and figures on the commercial department of Fraport Ausbau Süd GmbH (FAS)

The commercial department of FAS, which is responsible for building Terminal 3, has three units: purchasing and contracting, auditing, and contract and claims management. Their everyday work is characterized by lots of numbers and huge volumes of data and information. For example, so far the Terminal 3 project has generated about 1.2 million digital documents. They include 850,000 building plans and drawings plus some 350,000 commercial documents such as invoices and contracts.

The project to build Terminal 3 is characterized by transparency and sharing of information. In case any issues arise at the construction site, everyone involved needs to learn about them as quickly as possible. Then the commercial department can go into action to help resolve them by illuminating the relevant legal and financial aspects. This is essential for preparing reliable predictions of how they will impact the cost situation going forward.

At least once a week, representatives of the purchasing and contracting, contract and claims management, and auditing units and the project management team meet to discuss the current situation. What’s the contracting situation? Do any of the ongoing construction projects require adjustments? They discuss these and many other things in depth and make decisions as a group. Teamwork is paramount. It's essential for ensuring that appropriate attention is paid to all relevant technical, legal, and financial aspects.

Finding the right company for each job: purchasing and contracting

Fifteen employees of Fraport Ausbau Süd work spend every day searching for suitable contractors to provide the wide range of services that are needed to build Terminal 3. While doing this, they consult a contracting manual comprising 50 pages of text plus 175 annexes. So far around 900 contracts have been concluded, around half of them with companies based within 150 kilometers of Frankfurt am Main. This practice is good for both the airport and the regional economy.

In order to be considered for a contract, a company must comply with certain minimum criteria. Interested companies are screened in advance to make sure that they meet the defined business and technical prerequisites. For example, if a job involves a volume of, say, around two million euros over the course of two years, then a company to be considered ought to have annual revenues that are roughly on a par with this sum. If this and certain other conditions are met, the company is invited to submit a bid.

The published invitations to bid cover all of the work required for the T3 construction project. They mainly contain technical data, which is prepared by the project managers and checked by project controllers. The units of the commercial department also inspect them for compliance with their own criteria. In other words: Is the invitation to bid objectively formulated? Is it legally sound? And so on. If all of them are met, the department’s purchasing and contracting unit publishes it across Europe.

What I like the most is the project’s complexity, with many services contracted for specified time frames while complying with all applicable legal requirements for procurement and fair competition. It’s a huge challenge, which is also why it’s so enjoyable.

Thorsten Brunn, head of the purchasing and contracting unit

The essential prerequisites for awarding contracts are communication, networking, publication, and of course transparency. They let companies know that they can trust us.

Thorsten Brunn, head of the purchasing and contracting unit

Figures, figures, and more figures: auditing

The auditing unit has a strong team devoted to monitoring the project. Its tasks include, for example, planning funding requirements and outflows, analyzing deviations from plans, structuring projects, managing risks, billing, and checking invoices received.

One major challenge posed by such a gigantic project is dealing with the huge volumes of information involved. In other words, making sure that all available information is processed and taken into account in real time – an essential prerequisite for reliable forecasting.

Leo Hansen, head of the auditing unit

Facing challenges: contract and claims management

The five employees of the contract and claims management unit are responsible for drafting, checking, and handling contracts in a legally compliant manner and dealing with supplementary invoices received from contractors. Are all of these requests contractually justified? What, if anything, needs to be additionally negotiated? Here a lot needs to be recorded in writing. Each week an average of more than a hundred letters and e-mails related to contracts are written and also need to be digitally assigned to a large number of individual processes. So it’s a good thing that the FAS has created a paperless office!

Terminal 3 comprises many individual structures (e.g. the main terminal building, three piers, a parking facility, the Sky Line people mover etc.), and a wide range of trades are involved in building them. Contracts are individually issued for each structure and trade. In other words, a given job package only concerns a single structure, such as the apron control tower, and a particular trade that is needed in order to build it. This contracting strategy results in smaller job packages and lower overall costs.

With about 900 individual contracts and allocations and around 2,000 invoices and 100,000 legally relevant letters received and sent each year, it quickly became clear that templates and standard forms were absolutely essential for handling them all. These are regularly updated and adjusted to comply with new legal and political requirements (such as the new German Supply Chain Act and the sanctions against Russia). This collection of standards was the starting point for compiling a contracting manual in order to ensure legal compliance and watertight contracts.

When concluding agreements, it’s important to take all relevant factors into account. In my area of responsibility, the challenge is to formulate agreements for regulating the technical and business interests of all parties so as to achieve the goals at the construction site while also dealing fairly and in a spirit of partnership with our contractors.

Benjamin Harr, head of the contracting and claims management unit

Everyone involved in the project here helps ensure that it runs smoothly. Their basic mindset is business-oriented: I have a goal and work with others, so what’s the best way to achieve it?

Benjamin Harr, head of the contracting and claims management unit

Related Topics : The Management Center for the Terminal 3 Construction Site