COVER STORY

Statue of Unity Gujarat

The 182 m tall statue is made up of a 25 m high base and 157 m tall statue. The base has high roofs with steel trusses and RCC slabs. The statue is divided into 5 parts – the lower & upper legs, lower & upper body and the shoulder & head.

Salient Features

  • The design life of the project is 100 years.

Construction time

  • 13 months for designing
  • 33 months for construction

Vital statistics

  • 182 m (597 feet) tall
  • The Sardar in a walking pose facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam (that was his vision)

Material used for construction

  • 6,500 tons of structural steel
  • 18,500 tons of reinforcement steel
  • 210,000 cum of concrete

Bronze cladding

  • 1,700 tons of bronze cladding
  • 8 mm thick
  • 550 macro-panels & 6,300 bronze micro-panels

Engineering Features
2 tuned mass dampers each weighing 200 MT to help the statue withstand strong winds & seismic activity.

The steel inside is zinc-coated using hot gip galvanization to enhance its life and withstand corrosion. A viewing gallery at 135 m level that visitors can reach in 34 seconds from the base level.

Unique Features of the Statue

  • At 182 m, it is 100 times bigger that a normal human being
    It is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty
  • At 70 feet, the Sardar’s face is taller than the faces of US Presidents cut out on Mount Rushmore
  • The next tallest statue in the world is the Spring Temple, Buddha in China that is reported to have taken over a decade to construct
  • The statue has been engineered to withstand wind velocities of up to 180 kms/hour
  • The architect is Ram V Sutar, a Padma Bhushan award winner

A tribute to India’s engineering skills and project management abilities
The Statue of Unity, apart from being a symbol of national pride and integration, is also a tribute to India’s engineering skills and project management abilities. We have delivered several projects of national significance and are proud to be associated with building the world’s tallest statue, which is a fitting homage to the Iron Man of India – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Our engineering and construction teams along with the architects, the sculptor, and reputed global consultants, have converted our honourable Prime Minister’s dream into reality in record time. Our commitment to scale, speed and quality in engineering has yielded this desired outcome, which is not only structurally superior but aesthetically appealing as well.” 
S. N. Subrahmanyan
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, L&T

Structural Specifications
The 182 m tall statue is made up of a 25 m high base and 157 m tall statue. The base has high roofs with steel trusses and RCC slabs. The statue is divided into 5 parts – the lower & upper legs, lower & upper body and the shoulder & head.

The steel in the statue is in 3 layers: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. The Primary frames are vertical trusses that interconnected with infill steel members and in turn connected to the RCC cores. These transfer all the load from the statue skin onto the RCC cores. The Secondary steel, that is part of the primary layer, are trusses that carry the load from the bronze cladding connected through the tertiary steel frames. These two layers form the basic skeleton of Statue.

The Tertiary layer is set of steel trusses connected between secondary steel and bronze cladding that bridges the gap between the skin and the skeleton of the statue. Each tertiary steel frame is unique as each bronze panel is unique.

Every joint is unique and that makes the structure extremely complex in terms of design. As it involved Hot Dip Galvanisation, identifying the size of assembly is crucial based on bath size and high accuracy was required to match the profile of statue.

Steel Sections and Erection Technique
Steel section used in the project are basically UB and UC profiles along with plates. The grade of steel used is E350. Two tower cranes each having 8T capacity (at the tip) are used to erect the structure

Overcoming Challenges
For a project of this magnitude and complexity, there were several challenges that the project team faced. Here is one of them.
Due to space constraint, external cranes could not be positioned hence only tower cranes were planned for the entire erection. Till Dec 2018, the entire tower crane hours were used for completing the 2 RCC cores and hardly any steel was erected for the statue by that time.

From Jan 2019, both steel and bronze works were planned simultaneously. As the contractors for both these works were different, sharing of crane hours was very crucial. The cranes were used on all days including Sundays and holidays in 3 shifts for erection and unutilized crane hours for scheduled maintenance.

Ensuring Safety
To construct the world’s tallest statue, one of the biggest safety concerns was of people falling off the edges, falling to the ground through openings, tripping into excavation pits or loose material falling on people working below. Here are three safety measures that went a long way to deliver the project without LTI (Loss of Time due to Injury).

Co-ordination of multi-level activities through a common permit:
With work proceeding simultaneously across multiple work fronts, at various levels, special care was taken to ensure that while people working at lower levels were well-protected from falling objects, those working above were safe and steady on their platforms. 2nd & 3rd levels of PERI (formwork) core wall platforms were given complete fall protection through an all-inclusive permit.

A triumph of teamwork

It is a tremendous achievement by the Buildings & Factories business vertical of L&T Construction. Right from the concept through the entire process of developing the design, the features and characteristics of the statue, the engineering, project planning, logistics, cost controls, were all managed extremely efficiently and reflects a triumph of teamwork. We are proud to have built a monument that makes the country proud and delighted that through this we are honouring a towering Indian personality.
M V Satish Whole Time Director & Executive Vice President – Buildings, Minerals & Metals, L&T

External structural erection
A void area of 6 m was created below overhead safe working platforms extending the full 6 m with catch nets to safely carry out welding activities.

Further, the pre-installed working and intermediate platforms were equipped with aluminium ladders and grab-rope assemblies with an additional platform with a lifting cage ready to be used in an emergency.

Rope Suspended Platforms (RSP) for external welding and management
For the bronze welding activity, the team found that it was very difficult to rescue workmen from the vertical fall arrestor due to the outward slope of the external surface of the statue.

Since cranes couldn’t reach those spaces two RSPs were installed close to each other at the same level of work for work to proceed safely.

Manpower Requirement
At peak times, the work force had 250+ engineers and 4,000+ workmen. A total of 2 million-man hours was consumed for the entire project.