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

Good things come …

The planning and preparations for installing the roof of the main terminal building lasted more than a year. Now the roof’s individual sections are being placed on an auxiliary construction one by one and then carefully shoved along at a snail’s pace into their final positions. Building the auxiliary construction was the first step, however. On an assembly platform, steel beams were joined to form a roof section in which the technical systems could be integrated.

… to those who wait

The first colossal roof section, weighing 2,000 tonnes, reached its final position in late January 2022. A large crew of specialists are involved in this painstaking process. Above all, it’s vital to prevent the rails from twisting, which would cause the roof section being moved to jam. If everything goes as planned, the fifth and last section will slide into its final position toward the end of the year.