At first glance, the linking of five companies speaking three different languages to build one of the world's largest air passenger terminals seems a strange combination of collective talent. The simple truth is that, with a price tag of more than $10 billion, the terminal was too large for one company to build. Not only would the financial risk have been colossal but the construction would have stretched the resources of even the largest US and Japanese contractors. Consequently, it was always envisaged that contractors from different nations would have to join together to build the massive 515,000-square-metre terminal complex. This is the nature of today's international construction - mega groups for mega projects. The BCJ (Britain-China-Japan) consortium was one of four groups short-listed by the then-Provisional Airport Authority to tender in December 1994. It consists of Amec and Balfour Beatty from Britain, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, Kumagai Gumi (Hong Kong) and Japan's Maeda Corporation. Senior Airport Authority staff and engineers working for other companies have been surprised how well the BCJ group appears to have worked together. 'It has been a totally integrated joint venture. The staff have done an exceedingly good job. In anybody else's hands it could have so easily gone sour,' one executive said. Each of the five companies has a 20 per cent stake in the company, with Amec the nominated head of the group. Richard Smith, head of Amec in Hong Kong, was appointed chairman and Howard Shiplee, an Amec veteran, was brought from Britain to take up the position of project director. Each partner was given specific responsibilities during construction. Both Amec and Balfour Beatty have overall management and financial control of the project. Amec is also in daily charge of contract management. China State Construction Engineering and Kumagai Gumi have been responsible for organising manpower and local resources. Maeda was in charge of procurement and supply, especially of specialist equipment and materials. China State had particular responsibility for construction of the concrete frame of the passenger building. Kumagai Gumi also had field management tasks, controlling the vast army of workers building the air terminal. A rival construction boss said: 'BCJ has done an excellent job. It is a building Hong Kong should be proud of and testimony to how a construction project should be managed.'