BAA has stepped up the design development of its £1.8bn Heathrow Terminal 5 project, recalling dozens of staff.

BAA is boosting the design team at Heathrow in anticipation of a favourable result in the public inquiry.

A spokesperson for BAA said: “We believe the major detailed design effort will take us two years or more. Looking back from the date when, if approved, we might get on site, we decided to start detailed design in earnest.”

Consultants recalled this month to the T5 design team offices at Heathrow include staff from engineer Mott MacDonald, civils consortium Miller-Dumez-GTM and Laing. The BAA spokesperson said: “These firms have all remained involved to a lesser degree, now they will increase their teams.” Building services consultant DSSR, an adviser on landside buildings, and engineer Ove Arup & Partners are also resuming work on the project.

BAA released these consultants from the project team last October after the target date for a decision from the government slipped by a year. The inspector is now expected to submit his report to the government in autumn 2000; a final decision will be taken in autumn 2001.

The spokesperson identified four key work streams on the project: buildings, infrastructure, baggage handling and specialist systems (such as transit systems and communications infrastructure).

He added: “We have been focusing on the first two and the interface between them. Now the whole thing will be coming onstream as a totality.” The latest design for the terminal is understood to feature a soaring S-wave roof that allows maximum flexibility in the plan of the building.