United Airlines and United Express average 5,656 flights a day to 376 airports on six continents. The Network Operations Center at the Willis Tower is the nerve of the airline and their day-to-day operations. From this location, they check plane conditions, talk to captains, and monitor each flight.
The challenge presented in designing United Airline's Network Operations Center was its location in an existing commercial high rise. High rise building such as the Willis Tower are not often the prime location for high power mission critical facilities as the typically lack the necessary infrastructure. In order for the Willis Tower to appropriately support United's Operations Center, ESD worked closely with United throughout design and construction to provide a customized infrastructure system that fit their needs and their budget.
The Network Operations Center included redundant electrical systems and standalone mechanical and plumbing systems all backed by a generator. ESD worked closely with United throughout design and construction to provide a customized infrastructure system that fit their needs and their budget. Building Information Modeling (BIM) was used extensively to route new systems through existing structure and around existing systems. ESD collaborated with the contractor team to make use of three dimensional scanning of the existing conditions in the BIM model. ESD also worked closely with the City of Chicago and provided specialized consulting services in the areas of electrical and fire alarm codes and in doing this was able to provide a unique furniture wiring design that was agreeable to the City Inspector and met all of United’s needs.