FLOATING a 900 tonne steel dome roof 38 metres off the ground using nothing but air is something unique for Gladstone, but for the Bechtel team on the Queensland Curtis LNG project, it's been years in the making.
The roof is the first to be placed into position across the three projects on Curtis Island, and represents a major milestone for the LNG industry in Queensland.
Construction veteran and proud Aussie George Kerr is leading this first for Bechtel on Australian soil.
And there are many members of his team that can now place this milestone in their "have done" list.
Mr Kerr said despite his experience in performing this type of work, it was always a tense time while raising the roof to its final position.
"After years of planning and construction, it's always an amazing feeling to get the roof into place," he said.
"And it requires a great team effort to get the job done.
"It's a credit to the skill of the team that this lift went so smoothly today."
QCLNG site manager Phil Newsome said the roof raising was the start of a busy year of construction on the project.
"We have a challenging schedule planned for 2013 and this has started the year extremely well," he said.
How it was done
THE massive LNG tank under construction at the QCLNG site is 38m tall and 79m wide.
Bechtel assembled the roof close to the ground inside the tank during the early stages of the tank's construction.
Construction of the tank wall continued after the roof was assembled, with a series of concrete pours allowing the tank wall to reach close to 38m in height.
The roof was then fitted with plastic and metal sheeting around the rim, providing an airtight seal. Once the seal was fitted, the tank entrance was sealed and three large fans began to pump air into the tank, underneath the roof.
This slight increase in air pressure enabled the roof to slowly rise to the top of the tank.
A team of engineers continually monitored the progress of the roof as it rose to ensure it ascended evenly and maintained its alignment throughout the process.
The tank roof rose at a rate of about one metre every five minutes.
Once the roof reached the top of the tank, it was welded into position.