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“TEAMWORK & TECHNOLOGY – A Pre-requisite for Today’s Projects”


– A Pre-requisite for Today’s Projects”

Matt Oakley B.Eng., C.Eng., DIS, MICE.

Project Director - Genesis Structural Systems Sdn Bhd
Manfred Braun Dipl.-Ing.(FH)
Project Director – Köhler+Seitz Beraten und Planen GmbH


The Kuala Lumpur Monorail Project was a pioneer project in many ways with
new advances in engineering, construction and management, not just by
Malaysian standards, but at an international level also.

This paper describes how these new advances were achieved by a fully
integrated team including main contractor, designer, specialist subcontractors
and suppliers. The close working relationship between these key parties was
paramount to the successful development of engineered solutions and their
subsequent implementation. Rather than describing the whole of the Monorail
construction in general, key topics have been chosen to illustrate the pertinent
issues presented.

Finally, a case study illustrates further points using experiences encountered

whilst completing three very difficult non-typical spans crossing Jalan
Mahameru close to the Klang River, which required a 50m main span.

The focus will be on the necessity to communicate and coordinate with all
parties in order to provide a tailor made engineered solution that would use
the latest technology available in the industry. Aspects covered will include
planning, integration of buildability, methodology, temporary works and
permanent works design; preparing and understanding all the boundary
conditions for the design; use of specialist design and analysis software and
electronic data transfer between parties; preparation of fully detailed
construction drawings; and selection of specialist equipment and materials
from suppliers and subcontractors.


1.1 Teamwork and Technology

Teamwork in construction is not a new concept, but many of its

applications to the construction industry are, such as better flow of
information, added value to the design, etc. In addition, its use in
construction projects is rapidly increasing as its benefits and advantages
are becoming more apparent and pervasive.

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Through teamwork and its active involvement of all key parties (e.g.
Contractor, Suppliers, Consultants), projects are far more likely to be
finished within the budget, on time, and with the least number of conflicts,
claims and work defects. With its emphasis on commitment, trust, equity,
continual project evaluations, minimized risks, and its mandate for open
communication, teamwork solves problems, saves time and money (thus
increasing profits), and minimizes headaches.

Further, over the past several years, quality management and teamwork
have rapidly worked their way into a prominent position for creating and
maintaining smooth, profitable construction projects.

If the Construction Industry is to strive to improve, create new milestones

and become more efficient, it is vital to explore and develop new
technologies to assist us. This process is commonplace in many industries
such as electronics, manufacturing, petrochemical, pharmaceuticals etc,
where it is known as Research and Development (R&D). These industries
have huge R&D departments and divisions with large budgets allocated
just for the very purpose of improving so that they can offer something
better or cheaper than their competitors. However, in the construction
industry it is rarely practised since few consultants or contractors are
willing to fund or invest in R&D knowing that any commercial advantages
gained would be short lived. Few Engineers or Contractors are willing to
jeopardise their reputations by attempting something new at the risk of it
failing or being unable to complete the project successfully, and instead
tend towards proven techniques and materials.

Neither Engineers nor Contractors attempt to look towards other fields of

engineering outside of their civil engineering domain, to see if other
technologies which have already been proven can be used on civil
engineering projects. There is much knowledge to be learnt from this type
of continuous improvement since it is cost effective and fast. Areas that
can be explored should not just be limited to design or equipment and
methods, but management skills also. Topics such as project scheduling,
budget, safety and quality are all worthy topics for study including their
planning, implementation and monitoring.

1.2 The Kuala Lumpur Monorail Project

The Kuala Lumpur Monorail (KLM)

Project was a pioneer project in many
ways with new advances in
engineering, construction and
management, not just by Malaysian
standards, but at an international level
also. Although KLM was the first large
scale Monorail project in Malaysia, the
Monorail technology has been used
elsewhere in the world for more than Photo 1: The first large scale Monorail
system in Malaysia
forty years. However, some of the

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“TEAMWORK & TECHNOLOGY – A Pre-requisite for Today’s Projects”

structural design concepts, critical alignment geometry, span

arrangements and construction methodology used in KLM can be
considered a first anywhere in the world.

This paper describes how these new advances were achieved by a fully
integrated team including main contractor, designer, specialist
subcontractors and suppliers. The close working relationship between
these key parties was paramount to the successful development of
engineered solutions and their subsequent implementation.


The KL Monorail’s infrastructure includes 8.6km of elevated dual guideway

beams, 11 stations, 5 associated power sub-stations and 1 depot for
maintenance and overhaul.

The KLM route begins at Jalan Tun Razak and passes through Jalan Pahang,
Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Sultan Ismail. Jalan Imbi, Jalan Hang
Tuah, Jalan Maharajalela, Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, Jalan Tebing, Jalan Tun
Sambanthan 5 before terminating at KL Sentral.

The Monorail guideway structure is unique in many ways since the structure
also forms the running surface for the vehicle, unlike other rail or highway
structures, which have additional surfacing, or track laid over the top. This
fundamental constraint of the design criteria means that the beams have to be
formed to suit the final alignment geometry, including both vertical and
horizontal curves, gradients, transition curves and superelevation.

The design of the Monorail structure is based on individually precast post-

tensioned beams that are erected and stitched together with insitu concrete
joints and continuity post-tensioning to form continuous frames of beams
consisting of between two and five spans. Given that the alignment of the
beams is so variable with multiple span combinations each frame is considered
unique, and must be modelled and analysed individually. With more than eighty
frames in the 8.6km alignment the design process is extremely time consuming.

Generally, spans are around 30m, however due to various obstructions such as
junctions, buried utilities and drainage, as well as other structures such as
stations and switches, the spans vary between 12m and 44m.

The substructure consists of 900mm diameter bored piles in Kenny Hill

formation or 300mm diameter micropiles in limestone formation with cast insitu
pilecaps and columns. Generally the crossheads are precast and secured to the
column with a prestressed bar connection.

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Photo 2: The Sungai Long Precasting Yard was established specifically for casting Guideway
Beams using state of the art technology

The beams are precast in a purpose built factory near Sungai Long, from where
they are transported to the city using multiaxle transporters ready for their
subsequent erection. The lifting and placing of the beams is typically done at
night using two telescopic mobile cranes and then held in place by a
sophisticated temporary works system which will stabilise the beam and allow
beams to be adjusted later to their final position prior to continuity works.


Different contractors submitted their bid for the construction of KL Monorail

Guideway Beams. Genesis Structural Systems Sdn Bhd (GSS) teamed up with
Köhler+Seitz Beraten und Planen GmbH (K+S) to submit a proposal and
establish an estimated construction cost. All existing information, which had
been produced by earlier parties, was evaluated/checked and then K+S
provided GSS with a guaranteed Bill of Quantities to price. As a result, the bid
by GSS was the lowest and GSS was awarded with the Design & Construct
package for KL Monorail Guideway Beam. The early creation of a close working
relationship between contractor and consultant prior to contract award enabled
a competitive proposal to be made.

After award of the works to GSS, an agreement between GSS & K+S was
finalized and the design works could start. The first step was to study/evaluate
the works previously performed by others and to look for areas of improvement
as it is always good to learn from the experiences of others.

3.1 Methodology and Buildability,

It is paramount that the construction methodology be thought out at the

onset of any project and continuously throughout the duration of the
project particularly as new and different situations and locations present
themselves. With a wide variety of span combinations and alignment
geometry shared with differing topography on site, the methods of
construction were required to be flexible enough to suit the stringent
requirements of the permanent works design. However, it was also
necessary for the permanent works to be tailored to suit the methodology
in some cases.

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Buildability is a fashionable word used by both Engineers and Contractors

today, both of whom generally disagree when it is used to describe the
design for their project which leads to subjective arguments. However, if
the Engineer and Contractor are working as one team, together with their
specialist subcontractors and suppliers, the methodology can be fully
established and understood between them, hence, buildability is no longer
a potential topic for conflict, change or delay to the project.

The final method to be adopted may be influenced by a number of factors

including availability of plant and equipment, traffic management
requirements by third parties such local authorities, as well as
requirements for custom made items of temporary works equipment.

3.2 Establish Design Criteria

The KLM is very different from many civil engineering projects since there
are so many influencing factors on the design. Therefore it is fundamental
to establish a full set of design criteria and then document them prior to
commencing design activities. These factors include:
a) vehicle loading;
b) vehicle rideability;
c) other system requirements such as E&M inserts for signalling,
communications and traction power;
d) local authority requirements;
e) codes of practices and standards; and
f) construction methods and operational requirements such as casting
cycle times, transport, lifting and erection systems, prestressing
systems and other material specifications.

The preparation of such a design criteria document requires the input from
many parties including, client, end users /system supplier, various
construction teams as well as perhaps those with previous experience
through research and further study.

3.3 Detailed Analysis and Design

The analysis and design of structures today is much easier and efficient
with the use of sophisticated software that can now be bought off the shelf
from an abundance of specialist software developers. The difficult aspect
of Monorail design is that the whole structure is completely three
dimensional with loadings applied in more than one direction or plane. As
well as the vertical axle loads there are lateral centrifugal forces, hunting
forces, wind loads on train and structure, longitudinal braking and traction
forces, as well as the typical thermal, creep and shrinkage forces
associated with prestressed concrete design.

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With such an array of loadings to apply to more than eighty unique frames,
the selection of a software package(s) which could model all of these
criteria together with the soil interaction from the fixed piers within the
portal frame type structure, was crucial. The software that was used was
called “Sofistik” which allowed all of the forces to be applied to each three
dimensional frame model, including an auto loader to simulate the moving

The software also provided all the necessary details for the prestressing
design including post-tensioning forces, losses and expected tendon
extensions. The design required a time dependent analysis for the creep
and shrinkage effects since the construction method required several
stages of prestressing at different phases of the construction, as well as
different support conditions during lifting, storage, transportation and
placement. The software was able to provide all this and allowed the input
for each frame to be entered using various template formats to make the
whole analysis process more efficient.

The design process would have been considerably more tedious and time
consuming if the design team had not decided to invest time and money in
new software and consequently new technology.

3.4 Preparation of Detailed Construction Drawings.

It is the conviction of K+S that shop-drawings need to be prepared by the

Consultant/Designer since they are in the best position and understanding
of critical construction details.

Ambiguities, misunderstandings and confusion during the construction

execution are eliminated via fully descriptive shop drawings to enhance to
overall construction quality. More important, detailed shop-drawings help
to avoid cost overruns. One must remember that the majority of the project
cost is spent on site. Any design related problems encountered during the
construction process are extremely costly and delay the project
completion. Further, having many “site-meetings” to discuss technical
issues binds resources of top personnel that could be used elsewhere
more effectively.

While developing difficult details on the drafting board, possible problems

can be addressed and counter-measures can be taken already during the
design stage. If necessary, due to geometric problems in the
reinforcement/prestressing arrangement, a different design approach may
have to be taken. This proves to be of no major problem during the design
stage but is a major “headache” during the actual construction as it is
difficult to make major changes by then.

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K+S prepared for each frame an overview drawing showing the following
• Plan layout and elevation
• Continuity prestressing detail
• Joint details
• Bearing schedule
• Height levels
• Beam weights

Further, K+S prepares for each & every beam reinforcement-drawings

showing the following information:
• Reinforcement details
• Prestressing tendon profiles
• Inserts & cast-in-items for Lifting and E&M System
• Bar-bending schedules

In addition to the above, various sequence drawings and standard details

are prepared to compliment the reinforcement drawings.

Figure 1: Example of fully detailed construction drawing showing special construction

sequence for Frame 68

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4.1 Concrete Technology

Earlier concrete mix designs by others for grade 60Mpa called for
510kg/m3 cement in combination with Silica Fume.

The immediate focus was on developing a concrete mix having less

cement content in order to reduce the hydration temperature during curing.
Based upon experience in Germany, a target cement content of 420kg/m3
Ordinary Portland Cement was envisaged. Extensive testing, including
more than fifty trial mixes, were undertaken to develop a concrete mix
design capable of meeting the necessary durability, workability and
strength requirements.

Addition of fly-ash was one of the options studied to reduce the hydration
temperature. However, fly-ash proved not suitable as a high early strength
of 28Mpa at 18 hours or sooner is required in order to apply first stage
prestressing which then facilitates the lifting and removal of the beam from
the mould within 24 hours from pouring concrete, subsequently reducing
cycle times.

A mix with 420kg/m3 Ordinary Portland Cement provided the required

strength characteristics yet was unable to provide the required workability
of around 160mm slump. Various different mix designs with different
aggregate sources, particularly sand, as well as different superplasticising
additives from different suppliers were tested.

Finally, a concrete mix using

460kg/m3 Ordinary Portland Cement
with a new type of superplasticiser
called “Kao Mighty”, proved to be the
best solution to the strength and
workability needs.

This particular encounter

demonstrates the need for the
Engineer to provide practical
Specifications which can be met by
the Contractor. If the target cement
content of 420kg/m3 would have been
the absolute criteria; placing and
compacting of the concrete would
have become extremely difficult
resulting in other construction related
problems (e.g. honey combs,
prestressing problems etc.). This
shows that it is necessary to make Photo 3: The concrete mix design
required workability as well as high
compromises / adjustments together early strength

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as a team in order to achieve the highest quality.

In regards to curing, the concrete beams were wrapped in plastic to

contain the humidity and were shaded from sunlight to reduce external
heating. Curing by water was not advised as it creates a high differential
temperature between outer surface and beam core, which might cause
micro-cracks at a later stage.

Photo 4: The beams

are lifted from the
mould within 18-24hrs
once the concrete has
achieved 28Mpa and
partial prestressing has
been completed.

4.2 Mould Setting Data

Developing a mould system and a method of converting the alignment

design into a series of mould setting information was one of the major
technical challenges of KLM.

The first step by K+S was to model three-dimensionally different shapes of

guideway beams to get a better understanding about the beam geometry
and to be able to check mathematical calculations later on.

The alignment design uses various combinations of straights, curves and

spiral transitions. Similar to the design of highways and railways the
following parameters are used:
• Gradients (max. 5%)
• Vertical & horizontal curves (min. RV = 1500m & min. RH = 67m)
• Spiral transitions (min. length = 15m)
• Superelevation (max. 12%)

This results in warped concrete surfaces, which need to be properly

represented by the formwork skin.

A team between Consultant/Contractor was formed to discuss the major

functions of the formwork (Figure 2).

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Adjust top
chamfer level
Master Panel

Adjust Soffit turnbuckle

Pivot Lower

Figure 2: Configuration of Beam Formwork System

After understanding the mechanics of the formwork, it became necessary

to find the most practical and simple way in adjusting the formwork to
produce the required beam geometry. By adjusting upper and lower
turnbuckles - jacks 1 & 2 respectively - the required beam geometry could
be achieved.

The warped beam surface is produced by tilting of the cross-section in

accordance to the required superelevation each jack position. The angles
at each corner shall always be 90° as required by the train manufacturer’s
system specifications. (Figure 3)

Figure 3: Tilting of Cross-Section at Different Jack Positions

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Figure 4 shows the presentation of the formwork adjustment data for a

particular beam:

Lateral Master Panel Adjustment Instructions

Lateral panel with Axis level 1 (z) 3.00
Cell axis
Axis level 2 (z) 1.00
jack ref (y) 2.00
Jack Nr. x cell (P1) jack length 1 (m) jack length 2 (m) inclination(deg)
-14 -17.500 - 1.961 - 1.999 1.105
-13 -16.250 - 1.965 - 2.002 1.055
-12 -15.000 - 1.977 - 2.009 0.898
-11 -13.750 - 1.987 - 2.013 0.741 z
-10 -12.500 - 1.994 - 2.015 0.584
- 9 -11.250 - 2.000 - 2.015 0.427 Y
- 8 -10.000 - 2.003 - 2.013 0.269
- 7 - 8.750 - 2.005 - 2.009 0.110
ref(y )
- 6 - 7.500 - 2.006 - 2.004 -0.048 A
- 5 - 6.250 - 2.006 - 1.998 -0.207
- 4 - 5.000 - 2.004 - 1.992 -0.367
- 3 - 3.750 - 2.003 - 1.984 -0.526
- 2 - 2.500 - 2.001 - 1.977 -0.686
- 1 - 1.250 - 1.999 - 1.973 -0.748 Lateral Panel
0 0.000 - 1.997 - 1.971 -0.748 z
1 1.250 - 1.996 - 1.970 -0.748
ax is lev el 1
2 2.500 - 1.994 - 1.968 -0.748
jack length 1
3 3.750 - 1.992 - 1.966 -0.748
4 5.000 - 1.991 - 1.965 -0.748
5 6.250 - 1.989 - 1.963 -0.748 inclination(deg)
6 7.500 - 1.988 - 1.962 -0.748
7 8.750 - 1.986 - 1.960 -0.748
8 10.000 - 1.984 - 1.958 -0.748
9 11.250 - 1.983 - 1.957 -0.748
10 12.500 - 1.981 - 1.955 -0.748 ax is lev el 2
11 13.750 - 1.980 - 1.954 -0.748
12 15.000 - 1.978 - 1.952 -0.748 jack length 2
13 16.250 - 1.976 - 1.950 -0.748 y
jack reference

Figure 4: Presentation of Mould Setting Data

Photo 5: The flexible moulds are

surveyed using the latest precise
total station instruments and then
adjusted to the high degree of
accuracy required to achieve the
stringent surface tolerance
requirements for the final ride


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The beam transport, lifting, stabilising and adjustment methods for this project
are probably what make the KLM stand apart from other Monorail projects. The
longer spans, tighter radii (68m on mainline) and continuous span
arrangements required extensive design and development of the temporary
works equipment necessary.

The curvature of the beams presents the obvious problem of managing a

displaced centre of gravity at every stage of construction, from lifting the beams
from the mould to storage in the casting yard, to maintaining their stability
during transport and subsequent placement on the crosshead supports. This
can only be done by studying the location and conditions of the supports, which
vary for all these situations and are further complicated by the different
curvatures and superelevations that occur on transition beams.

5.1 Lifting Beams from Mould

Special lifting brackets were utilised in the casting yard (Photo 6) that
could be preset to counter
balance the offset centre of
gravity. The amount of
adjustment and subsequent
torsional forces in bracket and
beam were reduced by moving
the lifting positions in from either
end. These positions were shown
on the detailed shop drawings,
having previously been
calculated. This also had the
effect of reducing the sagging
moments during early stage
lifting. These identified positions Photo 6: Special lifting brackets designed
were also used for supporting for lifting the curved beams from the
the beams during storage and moulds were one of the many items of
special equipment required for the
transport. guideway construction.

8.85m Centre of 8.85m

Y Figure 5: The centres of
Alpha-L Alpha-R
gravity, lifting positions and
e-R estimated eccentricities are

calculated and supplied for
each beam.
K6 K5

e-L = 0.061m e = 0.060m e-R = 0.061m

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5.2 Beam Transport

With beams typically weighing anything from 35 tonnes to 185 tonnes and
up to 44m in length the selection of the equipment to be used and its
configuration must also be worked out with specialist consultants and
equipment suppliers. Multi-axle hydraulic platform transporters were used
which although their use is not common for civil engineering structures in
Malaysia, are in fact widely used for petrochemical and power projects to
move large vessels, turbines, transformers and so on. Their benefits are
not extensively known or understood by civil engineers, yet can offer so
much to the bridge construction industry in Malaysia.

Line Axle
Draw Header
Bar Beam

Figure 6b: All axles can steer to

Module 1 Module 2
allow excellent manoeuvrability and
Figure 6a: Typical trailer configuration tight turning radii

Suspension Pivot

Figure 6d: Hydraulic Cylinders are

Hydraulic linked to allow oil to move from one
Air Brake Tyre cylinder to the other, thus allowing
Suspension wheels to travel at different heights
Cylinder Figure 6c: Typical axle detail and still maintain equal load.

The sophisticated hydraulic suspension allows the trailer to raise and

lower by +/- 300mm which not only enables the transporter to negotiate
difficult terrain but can be used to pick up and offload cargo. The linked
hydraulic system ensures even load distribution to all wheels and the full
control of the load stability, even for loads weighing two to three hundred
tonnes. All axles can steer which permits the transporter to manoeuvre
tight road junctions or a constrained site access. When these features are
complemented by the modular nature of the trailer system, almost any
configuration of transporter can be assembled to carry very abnormal

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loads. The transporters used for this project were hauled using heavy duty
prime movers equipped with powerful 500bhp engines with torque
converters and special gearboxes to give maximum power and control.
Figures 5a, b, c and d illustrate some of the basic features of multi-axle

(Self propelled transporters with onboard drive systems, fully computer

controlled steering and suspension systems are also available and can be
used to pick up and move complete bridges weighing thousands of

The design of the interface between the beam and transporter is crucial
since it must accommodate the variable geometry, restraining forces
required to stabilise the beam, together with the dynamic movements of
the transporter as it negotiates the bends, gradients and junctions along
the route from Sungai Long to the city. It was imperative to design an
interface that would not only transmit the huge loads into the transporter
correctly and safely but also had to ensure that dynamic forces transmitted
back into the beam were controlled and considered by the beam designer.
This critical interface was developed through team effort between
specialist consultant, specialist transport equipment supplier and
permanent works engineer and resulted in the design and fabrication of a
set of “smart” bolsters and brackets that could be used for any type of
guideway beam.

5.3 Beam Lifting

The heavy lifting operations

played a significant role in
shaping the success of the
KLM with more than 800
lifts totalling more than
75,000 tonnes (including
station spine beam
elements) it was imperative
to select the correct type
and capacity of crane for
each and every lift. The
logistical constraints of
working in the city with the Photo 7: A combination of 160 tonnes and 300
many tight roads, tonnes capacity were used with some other cranes
used from time to time including a massive 350t
sidewalks, trees and street Manitowoc 4100 Ringer crane to place beams over
furniture as well as the the River Klang.
buried utilities was a
fundamental part of the equipment selection and lift planning. Generally,
two telescopic mobile cranes were used in tandem lifting to place the
beams. A combination of 160 tonnes and 300 tonnes capacity were used
with some other cranes used from time to time including a massive 350t
Manitowoc 4100 Ringer crane to place beams over the River Klang.

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As with the transportation, the interface between crane and beam was
another vital element to the success and safety of the operation. This
lifting bracket had to cope with the offset centre of gravity at a lifting
position that will be accessible from the crosshead such that it could be
removed after placing. The bracket was also designed to adjust for the
centre of gravity and tilt the beam to the correct superelevation whilst still
hanging from the crane hook. A basic operational requirement was that the
bracket must be quick and easy to install and remove to enable two beams
to be erected within the 11.00pm to 6.00am road closure time window.

In order to satisfy these criteria

the bracket incorporated
hydraulics to adjust the lifting
sling position on the bracket
whilst still maintaining full load.
Sufficient range of adjustment
had to be provided for all
variations of beam. The
specialist designer worked
closely with the fabricator to
detail available materials and
practical welding details,
together with the hydraulics
supplier and operations team for
this safety critical piece of

Prior to commencing the

fabrication a 1:5 scale model
was made with a steel beam
Photo 8: The lifting bracket could compensate
and various counterweights in for the centre of gravity offset using an
order to prove the geometrical onboard hydraulic system which also allowed
adjustments would be possible. the beams weighing up to 200t to be tilted
whilst still hanging from the crane.

The integrated approach to the design, development and fabrication is

another example of teamwork and technology working hand in hand to find
a solution to a very complex problem.

5.4 Beam Stability and Adjustment

After lifting the beam into position the beam must be stabilised and made
secure until final adjustment. A unique stability system was developed to
clamp the beams firmly in position yet act as a guide during placing and
facilitate precise adjustment to the final alignment position within
tolerances of a few millimetres. Once again, this equipment had the
unenviable task of accommodating the huge varieties of beams as well as

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the huge forces that can be expected when dealing with beams weighing
more than 100 tonnes.

This piece of equipment would require very careful thought and

understanding to ensure that all possible load combinations are
considered, and that every possible measure is taken to ensure that safety
is maximised. The system had to be practical and simple to install, use
and remove, and so development via close consultation with various
operations people who would be using it was essential. The end result was
a system which could stabilise and adjust the beam, provide working
access at all levels for placing and securing; survey and adjustment;
continuity stitching; and prestressing as well as installation of bearings. It
utilises the permanent prestressing bars used to secure the crosshead to
column connection, resulting in a safe and effective method of installation
that will accommodate the massive overturning moments experienced
when stabilising four curved beams.

Figure 7: The Beam Stability System was developed to stabilise and adjust the beam, provide
working access at all levels for placing and securing; surveying and adjustment; continuity
stitching; and prestressing as well as installation of bearings. Three dimensional computer
simulation was used to demonstrate all aspects of the functionality prior to fabrication

Upon finalising the design, the whole system was modelled on three-
dimensional CAD software so that every aspect of the system could be
simulated by the operation team to ensure that there would be sufficient
working space. A working test bed was constructed upon fabrication of the
prototype set of equipment in order to full load test the system prior to starting

6.0 CASE STUDY: The Challenge to Design and Construct Frame 68

Frame 68 that crosses Mahameru Highway has been chosen for the particular
case study since it presented many technical challenges associated with the
design, precasting and launching.

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The frame consists of a three span frame from the top of Sultan Sulaiman
TPSS (Traction Power Sub-Station) (pier position M4) to Pier M7 with Piers M5
and M6 located adjacent to the Mahameru Highway. The guideway, which is
following a route parallel to the nearby Klang River, will cross over the approach
abutment of an existing highway bridge that spans the Klang River, making it
difficult to find a favourable location for the M5 and M6 columns.

Following the completion of trial excavations and the determination of the

existing highway structure, the position of the pile caps and the column centres
could be finalised. Unfortunately it meant that a centre span of 50.0m would be
required with side spans of 25.85m and 25.0m. See Figure 8 - Site Layout and
Figure 9 - General Arrangement Drawing.







Figure 8: Site Layout for Frame 68

Figure 9: General Arrangement for Frame 68

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The first problem was that the longest mould in the precasting factory is only
capable of casting beams up to 44m in length, but the lifting equipment and
overhead gantries within the casting yard have a combined Safe Working Load
of 200t. Furthermore, the site was also extremely small, bordered by the Klang
River, highway embankment and highway structure as well as the Sultan
Sulaiman TPSS and adjoining property boundaries. Positioning the cranes is
always a difficult task; however positioning cranes in such a way so to enable
the beam transporter to get into position to deliver the beam within picking
radius of the crane only compounds the planning problem.

The detailed planning for these types of operations is essential since the
boundary conditions of the design are so critical there is no room of error or

The design and construction of this section of the guideway structure would test
every aspect of the design and construction process requiring an integrated,
well planned and managed effort by all members of the team.

6.1 Launching

The position and capacity of the crane was a driving influence for the
whole operation and with such tight space constraints minimum lifting
radius was as critical as maximum radius. The planning of this operation
was only made possible by the extensive use of CAD, in order to simulate
every position of the transporter, crane and beam so that clearance could
be checked from site boundary conditions, the TPSS building structure
and beam stability system.

A detailed site topographical survey was undertaken and plotted

electronically together with the building layout plans to provide the basis of
the crane rigging drawing.

The lifting positions on the beam were very important since the side spans
were cantilever beams, which would not allow lifting at the tip since this
would cause a temporary sagging moment in the beam – opposite to the
hogging resistance provided by the permanent prestressing tendons.
However by moving the lifting position of the first crane back towards the
M5 support the weight distribution between cranes would differ
dramatically and require a lift which would be close to the capacity of the
300t Liebherr LT1300 crane. Furthermore, the second crane, a similar
300t crane would also be working close to its capacity when placing the
furthest most beam; having to reach over the building without hitting the
structure with the main boom.

The only possible position for the crane meant that the outriggers would
prevent the transporter from delivering the beam to the required picking
position. Therefore, a special solution was discussed and worked out
between transport supplier and crane supplier whereby the beam could be

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self-off-loaded first. This method required setting the cranes in position first
and then retracting the obstructing outriggers. The beam transporter was
then pushed into position and a set of temporary steel transfer beams
were set under the beam with supports on either side of the trailer. By
using the hydraulic suspension of the trailer, it was possible to lower the
trailer and leave the beam supported by the temporary transfer beams.
This “self-off-load” operation allowed the transporter to be removed and
the crane outriggers extended below the beam. The crane was then fully
rigged complete with full 60t counterweights and the first phase of the
lifting operation proceeded.



Figure 10a: 2no. 300t BRIDGE
mobile cranes are set in
position with outriggers SULTAN SULAIMAN TPSS
retracted. Beam MAHAMERU
Transporter with left- HIGHWAY
hand beam is pushed CRANE 1
into position CRANE 2




Figure 10b: 2 sets of EXISTING

temporary steel transfer M4 M5 HIGHWAY
beams set in position BRIDGE
and trailer suspension
is lowered to leave
beam on temporary HIGHWAY
supports (Self-Off- EMBANKMENT
Load) CR ANE 1


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Figure 10c: Beam BRIDGE
Transporter is removed
and cranes are fully SULTAN SULAIMAN TPSS
rigged for lifting MAHAMERU





Figure 10d: Left-hand BRIDGE
beam is lifted and
temporarily secured in
the right-hand beam HIGHWAY

8. 5
R= 9




Figure 10e: Crane 1 is
derigged and set up SULTAN SULAIMAN TPSS
again in new position MAHAMERU
CRAN R= 6.

R= 9


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Figure 10f: Left hand BRIDGE
beam is then picked
from right side and SULTAN SULAIMAN TPSS
placed in final position. E1 HIGHWAY



R= 13

The capacity requirements were so critical that it was necessary to lift the
furthest beam first onto the near position, reset crane 1, and lift again to
the far position. The second beam was then lifted in a similar manner to
the first by self-off-loading prior to fully rigging the crane.

Photo 9: The multi-functional beam stability system ready to receive M4-M5 Beam.
M6-M7 beams can be seen in the background

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Photo 10: M4-M5 Beam being lifted into position.

Sultan Sulaiman TPSS Building can be seen on right hand side

This operation would not have been possible if it was not for the combined
effort of transporter and lifter, who fully understood and maximised the
capabilities of their equipment by planning every detail and working
together as a team.

6.2 Bearings

For this particular frame, the connection at M5 and M6 should have been
fixed, however, it was not possible to have a typical RC stitching joint
connecting crosshead and beam together. The only solution was to use
some form of a mechanical connection such as a bearing. Furthermore,
due to the long centre span and short side spans there was a requirement
for the end piers to have bearings that would provide the necessary lateral
restraint, longitudinal
movement and uplift forces
under certain load

Working with the specialist

bearing supplier, bespoke
bearings for this particular
frame had to be designed and
manufactured based on the
loading and movement
requirements of the designer.
The solution was a large
Photo 11: Sliding guided pot bearing with uplift knuckle leaf hinge bearing and
restraint at M4 on the right, with temporary 100t a sliding guided pot bearing
failsafe support jack on sliding plate for later
adjustment of beam shown on the left

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with uplift restraint. The congestion of the bearing reinforcement and

transfer of forces between connections meant that several rounds of
discussions and proposals were made before the successful solution could
be issued for construction. (It was of course also necessary to ensure that
the designer of the TPSS building structure had catered for the uplift as
well as downward forces being transferred into his design.)

6.3 Halving Joint Detailing

The most critical detailing exercise for this frame and perhaps the project
was the halving joint between cantilever spans and the centre drop-in
span. Positioning of prestressing anchorages for the cantilever tendons as
well as the second stage continuity prestressing ducts, vertical
prestressing bars and the necessary reinforcement required for the
temporary support of the centre span, all created a very complex design
and detailing problem. This again, required input from the precasting team
as well as the launching and continuity teams for the designer to produce
a detail that would best satisfy every team member’s needs. The benefit of
fully detailed and large-scale shop drawings is clearly apparent for this
particular case as can be seen below in Figures 11, 12 and 13.

Figure 11: Shop drawing detail for cantilever reinforcement arrangement

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Figure 12: Formwork details for prestressing tendons

Figure 13: Reinforcement details for closing joint

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Some of the achievements made on the Kuala Lumpur Monorail Guideway

Beam construction were only made possible through teamwork and
determination to develop new systems and methods of construction not
previously used before.

Many of the systems including precasting moulds, transport, lifting and stability
temporary works equipment were developed specifically for KLM and many
aspects are unique. The study and advancement in the temporary works
technology for this project has been at the heart of the success of the KLM
guideway construction.

One of the key factors to the successful efforts by the whole team has been
through increased communication and the use of electronic media. In fact
almost all of the design activities by K+S were undertaken in Germany and
every document, drawing and detail were sent via email and then printed in

Communication with suppliers and specialist consultants was also effected in

this manner with lifting and rigging plans, shop drawings and calculations for
bearings and fabrication drawings for temporary works equipment all being
transmitted to the team members via email. Through the use of .pdf formats and
plot files, the designer was assured that the information would be received just
as he had intended, and it could not be altered later by those with itchy fingers!
The use of electronic communication was very effective and fast when dealing
with queries from site personnel, which could be directed straight to the
designer and where necessary replies or revised details could be issued almost

With so many projects becoming more complex and the demands from clients
to become more innovative and cost effective ever increasing, the exploration of
new technology and a more efficient method of working via teamwork have now
become a pre-requisite for today’s projects.

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