Rogers Centre Roof Modernization

Group

Structures
Diagnostics

Winning Team

Randy Braun
Matt Pavelchak
Lee Slade
Mark Williams
Gabriel Jimenez
Sridhar Baldava
Susendar Muthukumar

Rogers Centre Roof Modernization

Toronto
Ontario

In 2009, Dave McCormick, engineering manager at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, had a big problem. He was responsible for ensuring that the landmark retractable roof opened and closed on cue for Toronto Blue Jays’ home baseball games. Hailed for its innovative system of moving roof bogies when it opened in 1989, the nearly 30-year-old, three-panel roof — which arches over 600 feet — had become increasingly balky over the years. Dave knew Walter P Moore through our founding involvement in a professional organization for retractable roof operators, and convinced that his roof problems were due to an antiquated control system, he engaged us to help him write an RFP for a mechanization controls consultant. Instead, we drew on our experience with the design and stewardship of seven retractable-roof stadiums to counsel Dave that his problems might run much deeper.

Dave engaged Walter P Moore to conduct a full physical and analytical assessment of his roof structure. We determined that the roof was sticking due to significant, but not obvious, structural problems related to creep-deflection of the supporting concrete superstructure and rail pinch points. We were then hired to lead a multi-year and multi-phase roof assessment, analysis, and overhaul to restore the roof system and its support structure. We improved the roof’s operational reliability, extended its life by 20 years, and optimized the redundancy and diagnostics capabilities of the roof control system.

 

This project was the first complete modernization of a mechanized roof in North America. Virtually all project tasks required innovative thought, including our instrumentation of the moving roof trusses to compare their actual behavior to our finite element analysis. We leveraged our digital workflow capabilities to link our survey data directly into our analysis models to further improve their accuracy.

Each year of the seven-year project, we carefully coordinated all work inside the stadium to avoid impacting 230 different events, including 82 Blue Jays games. At the same time, the owner demanded that both design and modernization were as economical as possible. Walter P Moore project manager Randy Braun led a multi-discipline team that included both structural and diagnostics specialists and several outside specialty firms. We maintained cost and schedule control by strictly complying with our detailed activity schedule and line item project budget for each phase of the project.

The Rogers Centre Roof Modernization was a resounding success. It was completed within budget and schedule and produced a much more reliable — and quiet! — roof control system, eliminating the operational noise, vibrations, and headaches of the original system. We refurbished and fully documented the roof track structure and developed the stadium’s first complete roof maintenance program and schedule. Perhaps most importantly, we have earned the standing as a trusted adviser for the Rogers Centre staff and routinely provide advice on stadium concerns that extend well beyond the roof structure. By creating value for Rogers Centre, we enhanced our position as the sports industry leader, and set the stage for future complex stadium improvement projects.