Stadium's glass roof a world first

Fitting of the Green Point Stadium's glass roof is expected to get underway on Monday, ahead of schedule - two months after engineers raised the inner tension ring which resembles a spoked wheel.

Dave Hugo, the city council's 2010 technical director, said everything was going well, with 72 trusses already in place to support the roof.

The glass structure, made of laminated sheets 16mm thick, will weigh 1 500 tons and fill an area of 37sq km.

Engineers hope to finished with the roof construction in September.

"No other stadiums (in the world) are using glass, they use other materials," said Hugo.

The roof has been constructed in New York by Birdair, the famed stadium roofing company and designed by German architectural firm Von Gerkan, Marg und Partner (GMP Architects).

Birdair was also responsible for erecting the 1 600-ton perimeter compression ring.

The whole roof construction is expected to cost about R475-million.

"Lots of people have been calling us, asking whether the roof has already been placed. If you're looking up there (Green Point stadium) now, there's a safety net," said Hugo.

The glass roof will be clear but with a slight "greenish" tinge to it, and cover most of the 68 000 seats. It is expected to last more than 50 years.

Rain and wind, for which Cape Town is notorious, also were factored into the equation when it came to the estimated completion date of the roof.

"We're anticipating 'downtime' during winter but we've planned for that with three days a month when there could (possibly) be no work on the site," said Hugo.

He added that 36 days a year had been factored for when no work would be possible, but even that figure was conservative and it would probably be less.

Asked about the stated completion date of the stadium - December 14 - Hugo said that even if it were done before then there could be possible issues needing to be ironed out.

"We'll hold three trial events at the stadium leading up to hosting the first game to test the facilities.

"We'll need to start small and then ramp it up" said Hugo.

First off, the stadium would have to host 20 000 spectators, then 40 000 - "and then we'll go full capacity; this could possibly be an international event".

According to Hugo the construction of the stadium had a good safety record - with only one death, when someone was hit by a bakkie outside the main site.

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