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Beijing steels itself for Olympics

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CHINA'S TWO main Olympic venues are speeding towards completion, with steelwork for the 'water cube' aquatic centre fully constructed (see inset) and almost 80% complete on the main stadium.

Design of both structures pushed the boundaries of what was geometrically and structurally possible (NCE 9 December 2004). To enable construction, information has been passed to the joint main contractors for the two venues, Urban Construction and Citic, by structural designer Arup.

Steelwork has been fabricated at a number of yards in Shanghai. Creation of the huge curving, twisting box sections of the main stadium has drawn on shipbuilding skills. Steel has been transported to Beijing by road in maximum 15m lengths.

Arup director Michael Kwok said that because of the limited size of elements, extensive on-site assembly has been needed before erection can take place.

Stadium steelwork is being supported on vast temporary trestles during erection. All primary members are in place and Urban Construction/Citic are welding in the grillage of secondary members.

De-propping of the main stadium is due to take place in December/January.

On the water cube, work is progressing fast on installation of the secondary frames that will support its PTFE cushion cladding. Kwok said both projects are sticking to budget. The stadium is on target for £247M and the water cube for £55M.

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