Improving a hangar involves unique challenges. The logistics are often quite complicated, because they are usually near busy runways. The fact that they need to hold a plane also gives them unusually structural needs. It’s possible to overcome these difficulties and successfully complete a project, but there are a few things to keep in mind before getting started.
Plan Around the Plane
It is easy to think of an aviation hangar as a boxy building with a lot of empty space in the middle, but that is a dangerous mistake. Every designer needs to remember that planes need plenty of clear space to enter and exit the hangar, and that no project should involve blocking that space. Be sure to look up the size and other structural requirements for a given plane when planning the project.
Understand the Logistics
Even a perfect plan can fail if it is executed poorly, and execution is often the most difficult part of working with a hangar. If the hangar is near a busy airport, there will be times when bringing building components to the site will be difficult due to traffic and other problems. When possible, it’s best to plan for these inconveniences to make sure that they don’t disrupt the project any more than is strictly necessary, and that often involves working at times when the airport is inactive.
Know the Laws
Aircraft hangars are often subject to special conditions under local building codes. These conditions can vary significantly from one area to the next, so it is important to look up the code before starting any project. If anything is unclear, it is best to consult a lawyer to prevent unpleasant surprises from popping up in the middle of the project.
Study the Structure
Additional complexities can arise if the project involves improving an old hangar instead of building a new one. Workers will have to work around old wiring and the existing structure in those cases, which can lead to unpleasant surprises. If possible, consult the original plans for the hanger to prevent accidentally damaging electrical wiring or structural support. If the plans are unavailable, examine the hangar carefully before building any improvements.
Ask for Help
Construction projects require a variety of specialized skills, both at the planning stage and when dealing with the actual construction. Very few people have all of these skills, so most owners will need to call in expert support at some point during the project. It can be tempting to attempt the work without that help to save money, but that tends to lead to expensive accidents in the long run. Always hire help when it is needed, and try to plan for it in advance to make sure that you can find a good worker instead of settling for whoever is available at the last minute.