From The Outside in
Piers H and J

From Outer to Inner Values

A variety of technical systems make the piers come alive. They include advanced plumbing, ventilation, heating, and security systems. Contrary to expectations, this space-filling equipment isn’t accommodated in the cellars but on the roofs of the piers. More precisely, inside huge steel frames resting on their roofs. One major advantage of putting everything up above is that it facilitates operations. It is easier to access and service, which can also be done during the day. And in case anything has to be completely replaced, it’s much easier to do it on the roof. Passengers also benefit from this “inside-out” arrangement: they enjoy more clear space inside the piers. No large equipment rooms block their view of the apron, for example.

Piece by Piece

Fourteen steel latticework frames are installed end-to-end on the roof of Pier H, each of which is 24 meters long. That adds up to a total of 336 meters, more than three-fourths of the pier’s total extension. In the case of 600-meter-long Pier J, there will be 23 such frames stretching 552 meters. From below, they almost look like they are hovering over the piers. Their sheer size makes them impressive to behold. Whether or not they look like they are suspended in the air depends on the viewing angle. Later they will hold the “externalized” equipment so that it harmoniously blends in with the overall architecture.

A Job for a Caterpillar Crane

Before work to install the equipment can start, the huge steel frames have to reach their final positions on the roof. This is by no means light work – each of them can weigh up to 50 tonnes. A caterpillar crane heaves them up one after the other. It’s a demanding task, calling for teamwork and absolute precision. The crane operator below can’t see the loads as they come down up above, and therefore depends on instructions from a helper. They communicate by radio, making sure as a team that the frame sections are eased into place with millimeter accuracy. Other workers secure and connect them, and then apply a special coating as protection from the wind and weather. Finally, it’s time to install the actual equipment that will later ensure a comfortable stay for passengers using the new Terminal 3.

A total of 14 latticework sections are being installed on Pier H.

The steel structures are anchored to the roof by massive concrete supports.

A mobile chain crane is used for the assembly of the roof structure.

The mobile chain crane lifts each structure individually onto the roof of Pier H.