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Case Study: Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain

SP012a-EN-EU
Case Study: Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain
BEC is the new Exhibition Centre in Bilbao, Spain. The exhibition centre has a floor area
of 117 000 square metres, in 6 halls. The halls have no internal columns or supports,
thanks to steel lattice girders in the roof. The investment was 420 million euros and the
centre was constructed between 2001 and 2004.

Bilbao Exhibition Centre - Aerial view

Contents
1. The Achievement 2
2. Design loads 3
3. Fire Safety concept 5
4. Project team 6
5. References 7
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Case Study: Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain
SP012a-EN-EU
1. The Achievement
111 000 m
2
of exhibition area in 6 halls:
The Arena hall: 30 000 m
2

The medium hall: 21 000 m
2

The small halls (4): 4 x 15 000 m
2

Roofs of the halls:
18 m the maximum high to the ground level
125 to 167 m span for box trussed girders supported on perimeter reinforced concrete
columns.
60 panels (37 x 37 m
2
) of tubular spatial structure to cover the surface between the
girders.
The exhibition halls are free of columns
18 000 m
2
conference centre.
In addition facilities such us: underground car park, offices, atrium and restaurants.
BEC is surrounded by means of a steel skin to prevent an aggressive impact of the
building with the surrounding landscape.
24 300 tonnes of steel for the structure of the halls and 19 200 tons of corrugated steel in
the foundations.
September 2001- April 2004: Construction time.
Investment: 420 millions of Euros
BEC is an initiative designed to offer the best possible service for exhibitors, visitors and the
general public in a modern, convenient, practical and highly functional trade fair facility.
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Case Study: Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain
SP012a-EN-EU

Figure 1.1 Internal view of Hall n5
2. Design loads
The loads are specified by the National Standard NBE-AE-88 Acciones en Edificacin. The
magnitude of loads depends on the use intended for each area:
Car parks: 400 kg/m
Lorries accesses: 4000 kg/m (national regulation: 1000 kg/m)
Hall areas: 4000 kg/m
Pedestrian zones and accesses: 400 kg/m
Office areas: 300 kg/m
Restaurants: 300 kg/m
Roof (only for maintenance purposes): 100 kg/m
These loads are supported in the different areas with the following structural elements:
Car park and Lorries accesses and hall floors
The columns and beams of the car park are made of reinforced concrete and the floors consist
of on-site reinforce concrete slab.
In addition, there are floor made of prefabricated concrete hollow core slabs with a
compression layer of concrete.

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Case Study: Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain
SP012a-EN-EU
Hall structure
The roof structure is based on lattice girders with spans that vary from 125 to167 m and with
a depth about 8 m. The girders are box trusses girders of hot rolled sections with welded
joints.
The girders are supported at a maximum 18 m from the ground level on perimeter reinforced
concrete columns.
Finally, the surface between the girders is covered by means of 60 panels (37 x 37 m
2
) of
tubular spatial structure, see Figure 2.2.

Figure 2.1 Hall structure during erection

Key:
Truss beam
Figure 2.2 Layout of lattice girders and panels covered by spatial tubular structure
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Case Study: Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain
SP012a-EN-EU
3. Fire Safety concept
The national standard in Spain for fire protection is the NBE-CPI-96: Condiciones de
Proteccin Contra Incendios.
The NBE CPI-96 is based on a prescriptive approach but the characteristics of the structure of
the BEC allow an alternative study to avoid the severe prescriptive requirements for roofs
passive fire protections thanks to
Low fire load
Good ventilation
Large diaphanous spaces with high thermal dissipation
Presence of active protection measures (automatic sprinklers)
These characteristics were essential to carry out an alternative study based on the philosophy
of the performance based design and Fire Safety Engineering for the
Determination whether a lower protection than specified in the prescriptive regulation gives
the same level of safety to the users.
An additional objective of this alternative study was to verify the smoke control to allow the
safe evacuation of the building.
The final conclusions of this study were:
The smoke curtains and smoke vents allow the correct extraction of smoke and the safe
evacuation of the building.
The roof truss girders do not need any passive protection because their structural stability
was not threatened by the fire scenario studied.
Other studies were carried out in special areas:
The columns in the restaurant area and the lattice girders remained unprotected.
On the other hand, in the Arena Hall, the beams supporting the surrounding
mezzanine and the parts of the box trusses beams just over the mezzanine exposed to
the studied fire scenario had to remain protected with passive measures.
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Case Study: Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain
SP012a-EN-EU

Key:
Exhibition area
Services area
Car park: 4000 spaces
Communication centres
Hall numbering is also indicated
Figure 3.1 Plan drawing of BEC
4. Project team
Client: Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC), comprising
The Basque Government (47,7%), Bizkaia Regional Government (47,7%),
Barakaldo Town Council (1,4%), Bilbao Chamber of Commerce (1,6%) and
Bilbao International Exhibition Centre (1,6%) as partners in the project.
Architects: Csar Azcarate (IDOM) ; Esteban Rodrguez (SENER)
Planning of structural framework: SENER & IDOM
Constructor: Companies cooperating in a temporal venture:
- Balzola S.A.
- Dragados
- Eraiker 2000
- Ferrovial Agroman
- URSSA
Fire Safety Engineering: LABEIN
Construction time: Initiation - September 2001 ; Inauguration - April 2004
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Case Study: Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain
SP012a-EN-EU
5. References
InfoBECBilbao Exhibition Centre Newsletter, Issues 1-4, Year 2003. Published by
BEC.
www.bilbaoexhibitioncentre.com
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Case Study: Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain
SP012a-EN-EU
Quality Record
RESOURCE TITLE Bilbao Exhibition Center (SPAIN)
Reference(s)
ORIGINAL DOCUMENT
Name Company Date
Created by J . J . Martinez de Aragn
Francisco Rey
LABEIN FEB 2005
Technical content edited by Mike Haller
J ose A. Chica
PARE
LABEIN
08/11/05
25/11/05
Editorial content edited by Marc Brasseur
J ose A. Chica
PARE
LABEIN
08/11/05
25/11/05
Technical content endorsed by the
following STEEL Partners:

1. UK G W Owens SCI 20/1/06
2. France A Bureau CTICM 20/1/06
3. Sweden A Olsson SBI 20/1/06
4. Germany C Mller RWTH 20/1/06
5. Spain J Chica Labein 20/1/06
6. Luxembourg M Haller PARE 20/1/06
Resource approved by Technical
Coordinator
G W Owens SCI 13/5/06
TRANSLATED DOCUMENT
This Translation made and checked by:
Translated resource approved by:

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