Final crane removed as world’s tallest building nears completion

11 November 2009

The final high-altitude tower crane used in the construction of the world’s tallest building, Burj Dubai, has been dismantled, signalling the start of the final stage of construction for the record-breaking skyscraper.

Three Favelle Favco tower cranes were used in the construction of Burj Dubai, lifting over 63,300t of steel reinforcements, welding equipment, scaffolding, 20t steel link beams, shuttering, compressors, hoist masts, cladding panels and elevator motors up to Level 156 of the 818m-tall structure. Each crane could lift 25t loads, and they were designed to withstand 120km/h wind speeds. The cranes were operational for more than 45,000 man-hours and were manned by a team of 35 technicians.

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The final crane has now been removed from the tower, and construction teams are concentrating on finishing interiors and landscaping.

“The sheer size, scale and architectural detailing of Burj Dubai demanded an unprecedented degree of engineering innovation,” said Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of developer Emaar Properties PJSC.

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“Working at great heights involving the use of massive cranes has been one aspect of the challenge. Dismantling the cranes is an exciting development because it shows that completion of the world’s tallest tower is just around the corner.”

As well as wind speed and the volume of materials that had to be lifted to great heights, the decreasing size of floor plates and working space meant there was no room for the three cranes at the top of the tower. This saw one of the cranes removed from construction work in November 2007 and reinstalled at Level 99 to act as a future recovery crane for the two remaining models.

In October 2008, a second crane was removed from construction duties leaving one final crane to continue to work on the tower until, in June this year, it was removed to allow exterior cladding and finishing work to take place.

For this dismantling, a small recovery crane was lifted to Level 159, to support the existing recovery crane on Level 99. The final high-altitude crane started off the process by climbing down from its working height above 700m and lowering its own mast sections back to the ground. This left the last of the mast, boom and power pack to be handled by the two recovery cranes. The Level 159 crane dismantled the remainder of the main crane and lowered it to the Level 99 crane, which then lowered it to the ground.

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