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Kingdom Tower cheaper to build than Burj Khalifa

$1.2bn construction cost for Kingdom Tower vs $1.5bn for Burj Khalifa

Labour costs in KSA will help keep the cost of the Kingdom Tower down, says architect.
Labour costs in KSA will help keep the cost of the Kingdom Tower down, says architect.

The 1km-high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah will be cheaper to build than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, according to Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).

A statement issued by KHC states "the overall construction cost of Kingdom Tower is $1.2bn," while the estimated overall cost of the Burj Khalifa was $1.5bn.

"The original construction contract [for the Burj Khalifa] was negotiated with the JV of Samsung Engineering, Besix and Arabtec in January 2005 for $1bn," SOM architect Eric Tomich told CW in February.

“It did not include things like the external works, or some of the lobby finishes, but it did include the superstructure, the cladding, all the MEP services. All the big stuff was in, so at the end the building probably cost $1.5bn to $1.6bn, which still I think is pretty good value.”

The inexpensive construction labour in the Middle East is the key element of the $1.2bn construction cost of the 1km-high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, according to designer Adrian Smith.

Smith planned the Burj Khalifa while with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), prior to forming Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

“In the Middle East you have very inexpensive labour, and they work three shifts, so they keep going all around the clock. That helps keep the construction cost low here,” said Smith. He added though that the labour cost in the Middle East was comparable to Chicago “and other parts of the US.”

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Construction Week - Issue 749
Sep 15, 2019