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Technical Case Studies - Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is at the core section of Dubai, with its total height exceeding 800 meters. It is not only a new landmark as a focus of global attention but also the current tallest building in the world.
 
With its predominant strength and reputation, Far East stands out in numerous competitors and won the competition. Far East is fully responsible for Burj Khalifa’s curtain wall design, project management, cladding production and installation, where everyone’s attention is paid from then on.
 
In addition, Far East’s efficient management and construction had recovered Burj Khalifa from almost two years’ delay in the site progress previously. Far East had succeeded the performance test with stringent requirements in just three months from the award and on site installation was commenced in the fifth month.
 
Visually, Burj Khalifa extends outward in spade shapes (triaxial "Y" type) on plan. The whole building spiraled up along each terrace from bottom to the spire. The whole building is cladded with Low-e reflective insulated glass and mirror finished decorative fins.
 
The skyscraper covers a total of 125,000 m2 of curtain wall. To comply with local requirements, the architect decided to adopt high performance external façade system that not only can sustain the extreme high wind pressure requirements but also insulate interior from the intense heat of Dubai which is up to 45°C. Featuring a thermal enhanced system and high performance low-e reflective insulated glass, this system reduces effectively the building’s heat transfer and minimizes heat built up on the metal frame at the interior side. Besides, the system is designed to achieve an U value of 2.1W/m2°C or lower, and withstand up to 82°C ambient when exposed to direct sunlight. 
 
Meanwhile, building height and movement are also major considerations of curtain wall design. During the initial design stage, our engineer has conducted a comprehensive analysis and taken into account the effect of wind pressure, building movement due to various factors such as displacement and vertical/ lateral movement, beam sag etc. The finalized system design caters for +/-2.0 to +/-5.5 Kpa wind pressure and vertical movement of -20mm to +30mm at typical floors. 
 
Besides, this curtain wall system is designed to be fully unitized enabling pre-assembly to be carried out in factory. Each panel is pre-glazed prior to delivery to ensure it is correct and free from error.
 
In order to substantially speed up the job progress, Far East proposed a four-zoning simultaneous installation scheme subdivided by the mechanical floors on the 19th, 40th 73rd and 109th floor. This enables multiple starting points for installation. Far East sent more than 300 skillful installers to Dubai to perform the installation works. It is unavoidable for them to encounter problems in communication and cultural differences upon their arrival but these were readily solved with the aid and coordination by a special task force. This installation team had made wonders of speed. Only after six short months, the curtain wall erection works proceeded to the 100th floor and successfully caught up with the overall project and scheduled programme.
 
In the process of installing panels on the spire, the team was faced with various challenges such as the working condition at high wind speed, limited work space causing reduction of manpower, difficulties in vertical material hoisting, interruption of communication with ground staffs and limited timing at top floor erection etc. In order to minimize these foreseeable problems, special methods were adopted during design, logistics procedure and installation to reduce high-altitude operation risks.
 
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