From single-storey dwellings in the sand to the tallest building on earth – the UAE has come a long way in less than 40 years. A technological wonder it may be, but Burj Khalifa in Dubai is also the shimmering symbol of a young nation's lofty aspirations and burgeoning capabilities.
Indeed the capabilities of all who worked on Burj Khalifa were tested to the limit – and Al Ghurair was no exception. Our client, Emaar Properties, entrusted us with many aspects of the project, mainly in Façade Design and Engineering.
The façade was designed as unitized panels, meeting rigorous performance requirements to ensure the units were put together with the greatest degree of accuracy and consistency – a system validated via third party testing.
But first the planning. We had to provide a meticulous Health, Safety & Environmental study, a Project Quality plan, an Execution & Logistics plan, a plan for Procurement and Control and, finally, a Product & Installation plan.
Working at unprecedented heights of up to 828 metres was a challenge for all. We initiated an intensive safety training program for the construction crews and installed in our factory a 'mock-up' for training in installation techniques.
Then came Project Quality planning – checking and verifying the properties of all aluminium elements, and then checking and verifying again. Profile dimensions; thicknesses of façade coatings and galvanized protections; hardness of materials; gloss levels on aluminium profiles and panels; scratch tests, distortion tests – testing, testing, testing.
Execution and Logistics followed – delivering the materials to site, unloading, arranging temporary ground storage, hoisting to the storage floors with tower crane and unloading again, before transferring the units to location by hydraulic trolley for installation.
And before any of this began of course, we first had to source and take delivery of our materials. Under our Procurement & Control plan, a dedicated team was assigned to monitor the ordering process and ensure that materials got to us on time…every time.
These materials came from many different parts of the world as well as home suppliers in the UAE – aluminium extrusions, panels and glass from China; embossed sheets from Germany; door profiles and hardware from Italy; lighting brackets from Austria; stainless steel fins from Singapore; the list goes on and on.
Indeed, the list of tasks associated with the Burj Khalifa project; the logistical requirements, the technological demands, the innovative solutions applied and, not least, the sheer physical and mental strength needed to get the job done, were and will remain a classic case study in the annuls of construction history.
Al Ghurair is proud to be part of that history – and prouder still to be a partner in the building of the UAE.