Since opening its doors in 1997, the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC) has won many industry awards as a world-class venue for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions. Responding to the evolving needs of the industry and its clientele, its owner, BHIRAJ BURI GROUP, has initiated several upgrades and expansions to retain its status as a leading event venue.
Aurecon has played a significant role in the evolution of BITEC by providing innovative engineering services over the asset’s life-cycle.
One the most significant milestones in this evolution is the expansion project that added 32 000 square metres (m2) of space to the existing 38 000m2. Opened in November 2016, the new expansion created the tallest column-free exhibition space in Thailand, allowing the venue to offer unparalleled flexibility in staging and display.
The expansion has two distinct areas, each with a different clear height. The first section features a height of 25 metres (m) – high enough to accommodate the tail section of an Airbus A380 replica – with a 108m column-to-column span, while the second has a clear height of 15m with a 90m column-to-column span. The light-weight roof also has the capacity to support large hanging loads. Exhibitors and visitors to the newly expanded exhibition centre will benefit from unblocked views and impressive floor space possibilities.
As the lead structural engineer, Aurecon played a key role in the expansion project. The project team worked with the architect to balance aesthetics and engineering practicalities, optimising the design while still respecting the architect’s desire for a dramatic addition to the Bangkok skyline complete with elegant masts and cables.
One of the primary challenges for the team was hinged on how the design can support the weight of the roof. To address this, Aurecon’s engineers used advanced modelling and structural analysis to evaluate the size, specification and siting of the cable-stays, together with the optimum lattice design for the roof truss. The team also designed an innovative support system for the structure to create the long column-to-column spaces.
In addition to the detailed design of the finished structure, Aurecon delivered a comprehensive construction sequence to facilitate the erection of this unusual structure for the main contractor, Italian-Thai Development. This required the roof’s lattice structure to be jacked above its final resting height during assembly. Doing this meant that as the contractor systematically removed the jacks – in line with the erection sequence – the downward motion induced the required tension in the cable stays to meet design requirements.
To ensure the safety of exhibitors and visitors, especially during Bangkok’s rainy season, Aurecon undertook the civil and structural design of the piled-road slab, the underground box-culvert, and perimeter fence for BITEC II on Bangna-Trad Road.
The piled-road slab was designed with an underground culvert which will be supported on piles and used for the drainage system of BITEC’s Phase 2 expansion. The perimeter fence is supported on piled slab and used as a “dike wall” to protect the site from high flooding. This project was completed in 2012.
In another collaborative effort, the Skywalk was completed in 2011 to safely connect visitors to and from BITEC and the Bangna train station, separating pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Aurecon was appointed to extend the existing service lift to serve the B2 level with the intent of re-using the existing lift machine. Previously, the lift stopped only at level B1.
Exhibition Hall 105 was added in 2001, comprising a total area of 7 600m2, with a clear roof span of 51m. The project was constructed on a “Design and Build” basis with Bilfinger Berger.
Aurecon was provided civil and structural design engineering that made use of fully bolted steel trusses, to help address the very tight construction timeline.