Plans for Full Replacement of Collapsed Metrodome Roof Move Forward

It all started on the night of December 11 when workers trying to clear the Metrodome roof of ice and snow were told to stop due to concerns over safety.  The concerns were warranted as the air supported roof tore open, deflated and collapsed in the early morning hours of December 12. As shown in the recently released security video provided by the Metropolitan Sports Facility Commission (MSFC) contained on this page, the collapse was visually spectacular but fortunately resulted in no injuries.

Engineers working for the MSFC previously reported that at least 60% of the roof needed replaced and that questions remained about the integrity of other sections that may be damaged but not easily confirmed by visual observations.  MSFC apparently agrees with the engineering assessment and has announced plans to take bids on a total fabric roof replacement which is now estimated to cost $18.3 million.  Proposals are due by February 23 and completion of the work has been set for August 1, 2011. (See update on bids and authorization of construction start below)

Metrodome officials have said all along that the roof needed fixed no matter what but that hasn’t stopped the talk and speculation about the possibility of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.  According to Engineering News Record (ENR) the Vikings have already indicated that they do not plan to renew their Metrodome contract when it ends this year. 

A recommendation to replace the entire roof by noted consulting engineers Walter P. Moore was not unexpected as most anticipated a full replacement as the only way to ensure continued and reliable operation. 

Metrodome During Better Times

The Metrodome was not the only fabric roof to experience problems so far this winter.  A sports “bubble” in Queensbury, NY, the Adirondak Sports Complex (aka The Dome) collapsed from snow and ice on February 6 after seasonal snowfall that totaled over 50 inches.

Metrodome Repair Update – 2/27/2011:  The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) has announced that it is accepting the bid by Birdair, the only one received, for a complete roof replacement to the Metrodome.  MSFC also indicated that it expects the full $17,973,245. roof replacement cost to be covered by insurance.  Two other firms, Hightex and USA Shade (aka Fabritec)  were interested in the project but were unable to guarantee substantial completion by August 1, 2011 in time to allow a Viking preseason game on August 12 or 13.  

Birdair is expected to begin work as early as March 17.  Geiger Engineers is serving as the Engineer of Record (EOR) on the project.  In approving the project, MSFC acknowledge that Birdair had already performed the necessary modeling and pattern engineering (early and at their own risk) which will now go to the EOR for review and approval.  Birdair currenly has some fabric available to start the project in their fabrication facility and expects the remainder to be produced in their  fabric manufacturing plant in Tijuana Mexico.

The project General Conditions provides for a Locked Incentive  Date (LID) potential payment of $500,000. provided Birdair achieves Substantial Completion on or before August 1, 2011.  At the same time, penalties for non-completion by the date of Substantial Completion  include a $20,000 per calendar day during the period of August 2 – 13, 2011 and $700,000 for each missed Minnesota Vikings scheduled home football game after the August 1 date.

Related Story: Another Birdair roof, the fabric canopy of the parking garage at Indianapolis International Airport partially collapsed on February 5, also from ice and snow but remained open despite the collapse.  A catalog of photos for this collapse is available here.

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