Interview with Akio Otake, Vice Project Manager for the construction firm Taisei Corporation and Akihiko Kodama, Manager of Taiheiyo Cement Corporation

The unusual feature of the new runway at Haneda airport, Japan is that it is built on ... the sea.The pier providing the base for the fourth runway, built exclusively for international flights, is made of Ductal® slabs secured onto steel girders. We spoke to Mr. Akio Otake, vice Project Manager for the construction firm Taisei Corporation and to Akihiko Kodama, Manager of Taiheiyo Cement Corporation to get an idea of the scale of the project.


What are the issues at stake in this project?

Mr. Otake: By the end of 2010, Haneda will boast a new take-off and landing runway, emerging out of the sea. The pier will stretch out over a massive 520,000 sq m area over the sea, and will feature two structures: an underwater part, consisting of steel pillars and their coatings, going down to a depth of 70 meters, and a concrete area of 192,000 sq m secured onto steel girders.

The key issues specified by the engineers for this project are durability, strength and low maintenance costs. Ductal®  was selected for its salt resistance of 1/100 instead of 1/500 for ordinary concrete and a very high permeability coefficient, far exceeding the values for ordinary concrete. The cement company Taiheiyo undertook to supply the airport construction site with Ductal® at an extremely high pace.


Ductal® was the most reliable solution, with respect to the specific nature of the site and the scale of the project.

Akio Otake

Where has the construction work got to?

Akihiko Kodama: The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport recently announced that the new runway for international flights would be in service by October 2010.

The supply of Ductal® slabs, to form the whole area surrounding the runway itself, is a major challenge for our Ductal® business. We had to produce 1,100 cubic meters of Ductal® every month - imagine the scale of the undertaking! We will complete the manufacture of the Ductal® slabs by August 2009. Out of the 6139 slabs required, 3000 have already been produced.

We have faced a whole range of new challenges, with regard to the scale of the project, securing the raw materials, producing the premix and transporting the materials. However, we have found the right answers for all the technical issues, enabling us to acquire very extensive experience.

What features does Ductal® have that make it particularly well-suited to this type of construction?

Akihiko Kodama: Costs are significantly reduced for this unprecedented structure due to the durability and surprisingly light weight of the Ductal® slabs. Given the characteristics of the material, the weight of the slabs can be reduced, as can the cost of the steel casing and the piles.

Mr. Otake: Many studies were carried out in order to reach the conclusion that Ductal® was the most reliable solution, with respect to the specific nature of the site and the scale of the project. This product, more than any other, also ensures the highest level of homogeneity across such a large number of slabs.

Its durability guarantees low maintenance costs over the long term.

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