El Dorado International Airport Project

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Project Type: Airport
Location: Bogotá, Colombia
  • Confined Space Installation
  • Design Flexibility
  • Ease of Installation
  • Fire Suppression
  • Minimized Footprint
  • Reliability
  • Simplified System Maintenance

Located at a strategic midpoint for air travel between North and South America, The El Dorado International Airport in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, serves more than 30 million people a year. Industry groups have consistently ranked it among the best airports in the world. When the airport’s aeronautical center and 85-meter-high control tower needed a new fire protection system in 2016, engineers used Victaulic products to design a system that met its stringent safety objectives.

At the top of the tower, air traffic controllers monitor the country’s aeronautical activity using expensive, strategic equipment to allow planes to land and take off safely. Fire protection designers used a preaction system with Victaulic FireLock NXT™769 Preaction System Check Valves to ensure a sprinkler system would not activate in this vital area until absolutely necessary. Preaction systems don’t hold water in the pipes, releasing it only when a separate detection system is triggered. This lowers the chance of accidental discharges that can destroy water-sensitive items. El Dorado officials opted to use FireLock NXT Series 769 Preaction Valves, because of their compact and easy-to-use design. The valves are pre-assembled and pressure-tested at the factory, increasing installation reliability and saving on-site crews assembly time. Contractors leveraged the all-in-one unit to quickly perform the installation in the small, designated space.

On the tower’s lower floors, El Dorado engineers again needed a fire protection solution that could easily be installed without much room to maneuver. They chose a zone control riser for the control tower’s wet sprinkler system because of the features it offers in a single module — a shut-off valve, test and drain valve combination, UL-Listed and FM-approved flow switch, and a pressure gauge. Using one module that monitors multiple data points allowed crews to install the necessary fire protection solution into a more compact area. With fewer potential leak points, the system also provides advantages for simplified maintenance and easy access.

The engineers for the project used FireLock EZ™ Style 009N Rigid Couplings, OS&Y Gate Valves, Series 705 Butterfly Valves, and Series 717 Check Valves in the airport’s pump room. Victaulic’s Style 009N Rigid Couplings don’t require disassembly to install, enabling the work to be completed in far less time compared to other grooved couplings and pipe-joining methods. On-site workers could also verify that the couplings were installed correctly with only a visual inspection, saving time on inspection tasks before pressure tests. Plus, the products’ ease of installation translates into future maintenance benefits, as they can be disassembled and reused just as efficiently when maintenance is required.

El Dorado International Airport’s air traffic control tower is at the heart of Colombia’s aeronautic space. Victaulic offered unique, reliable fire protection solutions with added values that benefitted the construction, operation and future maintenance of one of El Dorado’s most critical facilities, positioning the airport to best serve its annual passenger base of over 30 million people for years to come.

Publications: BR Magazine