Raising the roof
By Christian Shelton28 November 2019
UAE-Italian joint venture Cimolai Rimond commissioned Belgium-headquartered heavy lift and transportation specialist Sarens to help raise the steel dome of the Expo 2020 Stadium in Dubai, UAE. The dome was lifted as one piece and weighed 850 tonnes. It was lifted to a height of 46 metres over the course of two days.
For the project Sarens provided 24 200-tonne strand jacks and associated cribs, and 12 km of strands. All of the equipment required was shipped in ten containers and assembled on site over the course of six weeks.
Eighteen strand jacks were used for the lift, each positioned 20 degrees around the dome. An additional six strand jacks were placed on the ground to restrain any horizontal movement during the lift, whether from wind or other factors.
The jacks were inserted into cribs so they could adapt to different angles and work with more flexibility than if they had been placed vertically. This flexibility was key, said Sarens, because 18 jacks pulling up a big structure in unison needed to adapt to its movements, not the other way around.
The lift had to be conducted with extreme precision as the structure could easily deform if one jack pulled more than another, Sarens explained. This required constant monitoring of the dome. In addition, several restraining cables were installed horizontally within the dome and their tension was monitored so the crew could see the dome’s shape in real time. Sarens, Cimolai Rimond, and a third-party engineering firm worked together to monitor real-time conditions during the lift.
“Despite challenging conditions, a humidity level close to 100 percent, and temperatures reaching 45 degrees, the Sarens crew remained calm and focussed,” says Philippe Verdeure, managing director, projects, APAC and ME. “A real bond was established between the client and the team, allowing them to perform to the best of their abilities. This trust allowed the job to be completed successfully: the client’s trust in Sarens’ state-of-the-art equipment and operating knowledge, trust from the Expo 2020 Committee to hand over to Sarens such a masterpiece of architecture for a few days, and trust within the control room to share the right information at the right time and with the right people.”
Fastening the dome to the lower part of the structure will take another four to six weeks, after which the crew will need an additional four weeks to dismantle the jacks and remove all equipment, Sarens added.