Roof Trusses Complete As ‘The Beast’ Rolls In

The roof trusses are now fully installed on the north and south stands at Everton Stadium. 

The 15th and final 100-tonne section was hoisted this week, completing a precision operation that began in mid-November and has resulted in two full-span trusses installed in the north stand and three in the south, raising the stadium to its full height of just under 45 metres. 

Stephen Osborne, Senior Construction Manager at Severfield - Laing O’Rourke’s structural steelwork supply chain partner - said: “It’s a fantastic milestone for us to get the last truss installed. 

“It’s been quite a complex process that’s taken a lot of planning. The trusses are typically 70m long each, broken down into transportable pieces during the design phase and prefabricated off-site in our factory in Lostock. 

“They’re brought on-site in 12-18m long pieces and then we put them together using a unique system. 

“We built a jig within the bowl with shipping containers, which saved us lots of temporary steelwork and allowed us to build the trusses in the vertical orientation and hold them in position while the assembly process goes on. 

“We have some tight tolerances to achieve and when we have the complete trusses built, the accuracy is within millimetres.” 

Osborne added: “After the north (stand) was completed a couple of weeks ago, what that does now is open up lots of other workstreams to get the south stand completed. 

“As you can see, the lower tier of the stands have been left out and that’s part of the plan to give us access to erect the roof. 

“Now that the roof is in place, it allows us to take all of the temporary trestles out that have supported the load and complete the stands.” 

Work will soon begin to install supporting steelwork on the face of the trusses at both ends of the stadium, to house two 1,200 inch megascreens. 

In addition, the barrel steelwork that is currently taking shape on the west stand will expand across all four stands. 

Osborne explained: “The barrel steelwork, which forms a nice curve on the perimeters of the stadium, allows for the follow-on trades to start, such as putting the cladding on the roof. 

“If you look on the west side we have already started some of the process of the curved roof, where we erected some of the rear barrels a week or so ago. 

“Starting next week, we are erecting the barrels on the west side of the north roof, so over the next two to four weeks you will start to see all the curves start to appear on the edges of the structure.” 

Meanwhile, the first temporary steel bracing has been removed from the belly of the emerging north stand. 

Raker beams, installed at ground level for the first time, have allowed for the internal steel props, distinctively painted white and designed to help support the structure, to be removed ahead of schedule. 

And with the giant blue support trestles also dismantled, the north stand roof is now a fully self-supporting roof. 

The giant tower cranes that have dominated the skyline at the stadium since last summer are also being broken down, as their heavy lifting is done. 

In tandem, a giant 18-wheel crane known as ‘The Beast’ has arrived on site to assist with the roof barrel installations in the two main stands. 

The 750-tonne capacity crane helps to lift the pre-fabricated sections of steelwork on top of the west and east stands to give the stadium roof its distinctive curved shape and provide the basis for the cantilever that will link the roofs to the north and south. 

Laing O’Rourke Project Director, Gareth Jacques, said: “It’s a well-thought through and planned activity, and the fact the tower cranes are coming down is a good sign. 

“We have already dismantled three of the cranes and, in a couple of weeks, the fourth tower crane will be dismantled and taken off-site. 

“That will leave us with the two big crawler cranes, to finish off what’s left of the roof truss work.” 

He added: “The Beast is, I think, the second largest mobile crane that you can use, and it’s currently working on the barrel sections to the west stand, and will then transfer over to the east. 

“So the cranes are reducing, which means we are getting to the end of the superstructure installation and that’s all part of the plan.” 

The installation of the first low-level raker beams in the north stand also signals that work has commenced on completing the stadium bowl down to ground level. 

Smaller, mobile cranes are used to drop the concrete terrace units onto the steelwork, which will infill the gaps left to accommodate the support trestles and take the terracing at ground level to within four metres of the pitch. 

Elsewhere, the internal fit-out has now commenced on three levels of the west stand and two in the east stand, while the first glazed sections of the internal bowl have been installed in the west stand, where stud walls continue to divide up the many different function rooms. 

Chief Stadium Development Officer Colin Chong said: “While the external façade will carry on, it’s becoming less dynamic and people won’t notice as much change going on, as we are going to be fitting out internally within the concourses and corporate areas. 

“We have started putting glazing in on the west stand and there is temporary weather protection to allow those works to carry on unencumbered. 

“We are well on with things inside the west stand, so it is all starting to come together. 

“The lower steelwork rakers will continue to be put in place and once they are in we can top off the terrace units and the bowl can then be seen holistically, which will give everyone a better feel for the size and scale of what we are producing.”