Burj Dubai – Spoken of as the tallest man-made skyscraper ever built, is under construction at Downtown and is likely to be unveiled to the world by the end of this year. This structure stands at a height of 829m..

The exterior cladding of Burj Dubai, developed by Emaar properties PJSC, was completed recently. The façade of this building is made up of aluminium and glass. The total weight of the aluminum used is equivalent to that of five A380 aircrafts. In May 2007, Arabian Aluminium Company in association with Hong Kong based Far East Aluminium began work on the exterior with more than 380 skilled engineers and on-site technicians.

On the whole, 24,348 cladding panels have been used over a total curtain wall of 132, 190 sq. m. The last cladding panel numbered 24,348 with a weight of 750 kg. This was installed at the height of over 662m. The total 103,000 sq. m of glass used in the cladding panels can cover 14 standard football pitches, while the15, 500 sq. m of embossed stainless steel used can cover 34 National Basketball Association specified basketball courts. The cladding material was specially made using advanced engineering techniques. Cladding includes high-performance reflective glazing, aluminium mullions and textured steel spandrels with vertical stainless steel tubular fins.

Doubly glazed and factory sealed panels of more than 18 different strength specifications and over 200 sizes have been used. The panels are of varying thicknesses and each feature two glass pieces of about 8mm to 12mm thickness, buttressed by a 12 mm spacer for strength and resilience. The length and thickness of each panel depends on the height and the location where the panel is to be fixed. Also, the strength of a panel needs to increase with an increase in altitude. Hence, panels at higher altitude are strengthened with stainless steel in addition to aluminium.

At the initial stages, 20-30 panels were installed per day. This number was eventually increased to 175 panels per day. As the altitude increased, the workforce faced grave risk; to minimize which, curtain-walling for the spire was pre-installed on the ground and then lifted to the summit as secured.

A “flickering cladding” was designed to maximize resistance to heat from the sun. This is expected to minimize load on air conditioning systems, thus improving the energy efficiency of the tower.

18 window-washing units have been built to ensure cleanliness of this huge façade. These are built using 9 track-mounted telescopic cradles, each with an extendable arm which can reach out to a distance beyond 20 meters.

The observatory deck on the 124th floor has been named “At the Top”, and will present to visitors with information on the “History and Evolution of Dubai and the Burj Dubai” and also a view of the whole city. This structure is expected to be a benchmark for high-rise developers in creating environment-friendly, sustainable and futuristic buildings.