Case Studies

Bristol Airport

South West's largest airport prepares foundations for expansion


Bristol International Airport has embarked on a redevelopment and expansion programme which will see it double the floor space of the existing terminal building, build two new multi-storey car parks for 3,850 cars and a 4800m2 administration building, and create an underground fuel storage depot. As a result of the expansion it is estimated that, by 2019, overseas tourism to the South West will inject an additional £94 million into the region’s economy.


The main purpose of the project is to achieve status as the South West’s major airport through an increase in the number of passengers using the airport from 6 to 9 million by 2015, and to 12.5 million by 2030, by attracting more airlines and providing new routes and direct destinations.


The £7 million scheme to construct the extended western parking apron for aircraft, from 18 to 33 stands, commenced in 2012.


Commissioned by Volker Fitzpatrick, the main contractor, on behalf of the Airport, our brief was to supply and install surface water management and sustainable drainage systems.

How it works

New sustainable drainage systems comprising a large soakaway with a capacity of 1,665m3 have been installed in order to manage water runoff away from aircraft standing areas quickly and efficiently.


The drainage scheme has minimised the potential for groundwater pollution by surface water contaminated by aircraft fuel and de-icing chemicals.


This installation has also provided the foundation for further expansion anticipated to take place in 2016; the modular format and flexible construction of SDS GEOlight® will allow 450m3 of additional volume to be installed as the future growth of the Airport demands.

Bristol Airport was first officially opened on 31 May 1930 by HRH Prince George, becoming only the third civil airport in the country. In 1957 it was relocated to its present site since when passenger numbers have grown from 33,000 pa to over 6 million 50 years later.

What our other Customers say

The principle of sustainability is fundamental to the development of Westgate Shopping Centre and our adherence to this principle provided our surface water drainage requirements with a number of difficulties to overcome. In close co-operation with SDS we established a unique solution comprising a combination of attenuation tanks, suspended above the basement car park and sandwiched between down stand beams and ground floor slab. Having researched extensively the options available to us it became apparent that only SDS was able to conceive and engineer an effective solution and also undertake its manufacture and installation.

Harry Chetty, Senior Associate Director, Waterman Infrastructure & Environment Ltd.

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