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Ready for a rainy day

The Structural-Heavy Steel Construction division of the Canam Group played a key role in the successful completion of the state-of-the-art retractable roof at Marlins Park, just in time for the 2012 baseball season

 

In Florida, there is a very good chance that some rain will fall during any given day in the summer, and in Miami, between the months of April and September, or ‘the baseball season’, the average rainfall is 18cm (7in). How can it be ensured that the game will continue? You build a new stadium with a retractable roof.

Canam Group and its ‘Structal-Heavy Steel Construction’ division have participated in the construction of dozens of stadia and arenas over the last 18 years. Their latest realisations include the Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, MetLife Stadium, Red Bull Arena, CONSOL Energy Center, BC Place and the Marlins Park.

Whether it is design, engineering, project management or erection, the company’s seasoned teams know full well the structural and architectural challenges that are inherent to the construction of a major venue. The most daunting challenge of all, however, remains the construction of a retractable roof.

A case in point is the Marlins Park, the 37,000-seat new home of the Miami Marlins. The contract awarded to Canam Group/Structal for the Marlins Park roof included design-assist, detailing, virtual design and construction, BIM, and project management services, the fabrication and erection of steel components, and the installation of the opening mechanism.

Months prior to the construction, the Canam Group/Structal engineering team worked with the structural engineers to make sure the building would be as easy as possible to fabricate and erect. Modelling software was used for constructability analyses and the simulation of complex operations.

The retractable roof, which is composed of three main sections, encloses some 8,000 tonnes of steel components. The biggest challenge of all laid in enabling the massive roof sections to maneuver in perfect sync at a speed of 11.8m (39ft) per minute in order to open and close in less than 15 minutes. The total surface area of the movable portion of the roof structure is 31,400m2 (338,000ft2). Another thing the teams had to consider is that the Miami area is often hit by hurricanes. So a plan to stabilise the different sections of the roof had to be designed rapidly.

When open, the two lower sections of the roof sit beneath the mid-section and the entire roof structure rests outside the stadium on rails perched 39.6m (130ft) above the ground. During erection of the rails that support the roof panels and house the sliding mechanisms, two platforms were built between them like a bridge. Then, each section of the roof was assembled and pushed from the platform onto the rails in a controlled movement.

Another interesting challenge was the design of the trusses, a number of which are 171m (560ft) in length and 14m (47ft) in depth. Trusses of that size are subjected to a deflection of up to 46cm (18in).

Green building
From the moment that the new Marlins Park was designed, Marlins executives, in concert with architects and the general contractor, were intent on obtaining LEED Silver certification. As a result, many green building practices and techniques were applied during the course of construction, with particular attention being paid to the motorised retractable roof system, which is energy efficient despite the 76 electric motors that engage the opening and closing mechanism.

The project came in on budget and ahead of schedule, thanks to the combined efforts of all teams involved. Each team played an important role in the successful construction of this unique retractable roof.

Key facts
Owner: Miami-Dade County

General contractor: Hunt/Moss, a joint venture

Architect: Populous

Structural engineer (roof): Walter P Moore

Structural engineer (bowl): Bliss and Nyitray

Steel contractor: Structal-Heavy Steel Construction (a division of Canam Group)

Steel Erector: LPR Construction
 

Structural-Heavy Steel Construction will be exhibiting at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2012, 8-10 May 2012. Visit the company at Booth 4010

 

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