Sarens lifts dome of Expo 2020 stadium

3 December 2019

Sarens has provided 24 200t strand jacks and 12km of strands for the lifting of the crowning dome of the Al Wasl Plaza, the centrepiece of the Expo 2020 stadium in Dubai. .

With the lower stadium structure already in place, Sarens helped lift the dome into place as one intact piece. The heavy lift specialist said that this limited the work at height and helped improve efficiency and safety at the busy worksite. 
All of the equipment needed for the operation was shipped in about 10 containers and assembled on site over the course of six weeks. It then took two days to lift the 110m diameter, 850t dome to a height of 46m.

Eighteen strand jacks were used for the lift, positioned at 20° intervals 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 vital 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, since the structure could deform easily in case one jack pulled more than another. This implied 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 shape the dome was taking in real time. Sarens, the client, 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%, and temperatures reaching 45°, the Sarens crew remained calm and focused,” said 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-six weeks, after which the crew will need an additional four weeks to dismantle the jacks and remove all equipment.