How do you remove a massive canopy?

Learn with LEGO Man series

Canopy removal

Patients, staff and visitors will get up close and personal with West Park’s new hospital even before it opens. The new facility will be built as close as four metres from the Main Building!

To accommodate the massive 730,000 square foot building, EllisDon is currently removing the canopy covering the former main entrance. Removing the large canopy may seem like a straightforward task. But as in most jobs, there is usually more to it than meets the eye.  

“For demolition enthusiasts, we’re sorry but no wrecking ball will be used to smash the canopy apart,” says LEGO Man, West Park’s construction mascot, who also ensures construction activities are coordinated with the hospital. “Although that would be cooler, a more precise demolition must occur since the rest of the Main Building must stay intact.” 

The Prep Work

A few months ago, demolition engineers examined which components of the canopy can remain and /or be demolished. 

The canopy’s deck is supported by “roof purlins,” which are the steel frames the sheeting rests on. The roof purlins are then supported by steel beams, which are then supported by steel “girders” or support beams, and finally supported by steel columns. Essentially, it’s a lot of work to figure out which components can stay without affecting the Main Building.  

After, part of the Main Building was re-roofed from under the canopy that is now exposed. 

“The re-roofing ensures the Main Building is water tight,” explains LEGO Man. “This is necessary so that once demolition is complete and we get rain, the auditorium won’t turn into a swimming pool.” 

Then all safety precautions were taken to ensure a smooth and safe demolition. That is why staff and departments by the former main entrance were relocated and a section of the auditorium was taped off last week.

Canopy Removal

This week, excavators have been gripping the roof decking and tearing it apart to expose the steel skeleton underneath (roof purlins). Then all the connections that hold the steel structure together — bolts and welds — are carefully removed or grinded away so the steel members can be safely carried away. 

Typically when a structure is being built, you start with the foundation and work your way up. When demolishing, you perform the exact opposite —  start with the roof and work your way down. That means the columns will be the last to go.

Watch the action

VIDEO CLIP: Canopy Removal Prep 
VIDEO CLIP: Canopy Removal – Day 1
VIDEO CLIP: Canopy Removal – Day 3