How the Burj khalifa was built

How we built the world's tallest skyscraper on our doorstep…

The Knowledge

Okay, so we’ve been hearing about the Burj Khalifa for what seems like forever but it’s easy to forget what an iconic structure it is and how excited we should be to have it on our doorsteps.

Excavation work began for Burj Khalifa in January 2004. In the 1,325 days since, it has become the tallest free-standing structure in the world. We’ve taken a look back on how it all happened…

January 2004: Excavation started

February 2004: Piling started

March 2005: Superstructure started

June 2006: Level 50 reached

January 2007: Level 100 reached

March 2007: Level 110 reached

April 2007: Level 120 reached

May 2007: Level 130 reached

July 2007: Level 141 reached - world's tallest building

September 2007: Level 150 reached - world's tallest free-standing structure

April 2008: Level 160 reached - world's tallest man-made structure

January 2009: Completion of spire - Burj Khalifa tops out

September 2009: Exterior cladding competed

January 2010: Official launch ceremony

Construction Highlights

Over 45,000 m3 (58,900 cu yd) of concrete, weighing more than 110,000 tonnes were used to construct the concrete and steel foundation, which features 192 piles buried more than 50 m (164 ft) deep.

Burj Khalifa's construction will have used 330,000 m3 (431,600 cu yd) of concrete and 39,000 tonnes (43,000 ST; 38,000 LT) of steel rebar, and construction will have taken 22 million man-hours.

Exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa began in May 2007 and was completed in September 2009. The vast project involved more than 380 skilled engineers and on-site technicians. At the initial stage of installation, the team progressed at the rate of about 20 to 30 panels per day and eventually achieved as many as 175 panels per day.

The tower accomplished a world record for the highest installation of an aluminium and glass façade, at a height of 512 metres. The total weight of aluminium used on Burj Khalifa is equivalent to that of five A380 aircraft and the total length of stainless steel bull nose fins is 293 times the height of Eiffel Tower in Paris.

In November, 2007, the highest reinforced concrete corewalls were pumped using 80 MPa concrete from ground level; a vertical height of 601 metres. Smashing the previous pumping record on a building of 470m on the Taipei 101; the world’s second tallest tower and the previous world record for vertical pumping of 532 metres for an extension to the Riva del Garda Hydroelectric Power Plant in 1994. The concrete pressure during pumping to this level was nearly 200 bars. The amount of rebar used for the tower is 31,400 metric tons - laid end to end this would extend over a quarter of the way around the world.

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