The Trick with a Gigantic Roof
At the Heart of Terminal 3

Like a Roller Shutter

How do you get a roof the size of two-and-a-half soccer fields on top of a main terminal building? Good question! Terminal 3’s planners had to wrack their brains to find a solution. The original plan had been for heavy-duty cranes to lift the roof in one piece onto the building from two sides. But since work to build Pier G has already started on one side, that isn’t an option anymore. The solution: to push five roof sections on from one side, one after the other. Simplifying considerably, the principle can be compared with a roller shutter that is pulled very slowly over a window. This is how the individual sections will reach their positions, one after the other, until the entire roof is in place.

Precise Preparations and Exacting Work

Materials were temporarily stored just west of the main terminal building. The required rotating tower cranes were also installed there. The auxiliary framework set up on the roof of the second level gives an impression of how high the future check-in hall would be. Eighteen-meter-tall steel towers loomed over the building’s future check-in area. Construction workers assembled the parts of a roof section on them. For each one, steel elements were joined into a kind of three-dimensional framework roughly 4.5 meters tall. First, workers connected the steel supporting structures and sealed the sections at the top. To eliminate the need for suspended work platforms at a later stage, they integrated required equipment and features during this stage of the work, including cable conduits, sprinklers, and the ventilation system. Finally, they attached a grated platform for subsequent maintenance work.

The auxiliary assembly structure is prepared for the assembly of the roof.

The first roof element was assembled in January 2022.

The elements are installed successively using the auxiliary assembly structure.

Roof construction is moving forward. (April 2022)

Built to last

The five roof sections for the main terminal building are pushed along special tracks into their final positions (more on the preparations and details of assembly). A whole parade of different specialists are involved in the process. It’s especially important to prevent the tracks from shifting out of alignment, which would cause the advancing roof section to jam. It therefore has to be pushed forward very slowly and carefully. It takes more than half a year to jockey all five sections into place.