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Last Burj Dubai crane comes down

by Greg Whitaker on Nov 10, 2009

Dismantling the cranes has been a technical challenge
Dismantling the cranes has been a technical challenge

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Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, which is being developed by Emaar Properties PJSC, is nearing completion, following the dismantling of the last high-altitude crane used in the tower’s construction.

Having also completed the external cladding recently, the Burj Dubai construction team is now concentrating on the interiors and landscaping.

Mr. Mohamed Alabbar, chairman, Emaar Properties PJSC, said: “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.”

Three huge tower cranes were used in moving construction materials up to level 156 of Burj Dubai. The cranes could each lift a staggering 25-tonne load and were designed to withstand 120km/hour winds.

Installation of the three tower cranes used for the construction of the higher levels of Burj Dubai was relatively straightforward, as sections of the cranes could be moved up the tower with the completion of new levels.

But as the tower grew in height, the floor plates and working area became smaller and smaller, providing insufficient room to fit the three cranes at the top of construction.

Dismantling the towers was considerably more complex than installing them. The first crane was removed in November 2007 and installed at Level 99 in order to serve as a future recovery crane.

For the next 11 months, the two remaining cranes continued their climb up the tower until October 2008 when one of them was removed due to the small size of the tower’s floor-plate. This left one final crane to continue with the rest of the exterior work.

In June 2009, the final crane had to be removed in order to allow the exterior cladding and finishing works to progress in the area it occupied. This longest serving crane had been in operation since the start of construction in March of 2005.

A small recovery crane was lifted up and installed at Level 159. With recovery cranes now positioned at Levels 99 and 159, the task of removing the last crane was ready to begin.

The process started with the crane climbing down from its working height of over 700 metres. The crane removed its own mast sections and lowered them to the ground until the boom and power pack were at the position of the level 159 recovery crane.

From there, the level 159 recovery crane dismantled the remainder of the main crane, lowering the pieces of boom, mast and power pack to the recovery crane at Level 99, which further lowered them to the ground.

Final work on interiors and landscaping is underway as the Burj Dubai prepares to open on January 4, 2010.