August 02, 2011 |

The Minneapolis Metrodome Sports a New Roof From Birdair, Inc.

Roof Replacement Completed in Five Months in Time for NFL Preseason Football

Birdair, Inc., the leading specialty contractor of lightweight long-span roofing systems and tensile structures throughout the world, has completed the roof replacement for the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN. 

Birdair served as roofing subcontractor for the facility, fabricating and installing a new roof on an aggressive five-month timeline after a snow and ice storm caused the facility's previous roof to deflate in December 2010. The company installed the Metrodome's original roof in 1982 and replaced the structure's 10-acre roof with more than 700,000 square feet of PTFE fiberglass outer and liner membrane material. The new roof looks similar to the old roof, but features a lower profile. 

"Birdair provided us with a new generation of roofing material that is stronger and adds more transparency for sunlight," says Steven C. Maki, PE, Director of Facilities & Engineering, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. "We are thankful for all the workers that helped us restore the Metrodome's roof while completing the project on time and within budget." 

The roof fabric is stronger than the previous roof due to advancements in fabric membrane technology over the past quarter century and is made up of 106 diamond, rectangle and triangle panels. Each panel weighs between two and a half to three tons. The roof's outer layer is PTFE SHEERFILL®, the first and only ENERGY STAR® qualified and Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) certified architectural fabric membrane that helps reduce surface roof temperatures and decrease heat absorption. As an ENERGY STAR product, SHEERFILL helps to lower air-conditioning requirements, reducing peak cooling demand by approximately 10-15 percent.

SHEERFILL is a Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics product.

The installation crew consisted of Birdair supervisors, local ironworkers, laborers and equipment operators. Air pillows were used during installation to resist uplift of the panels under high wind conditions and to safeguard the existing fabric that was used as a work surface. The Metrodome was inflated in mid-July by 12 100-horsepower fans that lifted the ceiling to its full height in about 45 minutes. 

"We are glad the Metrodome is now once again part of the Minneapolis skyline with a new roof," says Matt Raybon, Construction Manager, Birdair. "We would not have met the project deadline without the assistance and timely delivery of supplier Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and the hard, diligent work provided by the Local 512 Ironworkers Union." 

The work began in March 2011 and was completed ahead of schedule in July 2011 in time for preseason football games. 

To date, Birdair has completed work on more than 85 sports facilities globally, incorporating tensile architecture into a variety of single-sport and multi-purpose stadiums and arenas. Birdair combines breakthrough technologies with unparalleled experience to create structures that meet both facility and patron requirements. 

High-resolution photos available at:

Michele Roth