Tower power

Ensuring 24/7 power supplies for the Burj Dubai has meant some unusual distribution practices. We take a look at the final systems being installed in the project.


Ensuring 24/7 power supplies for the Burj Dubai has meant some unusual distribution practices. We take a look at the final systems being installed in the project.

With over 160 levels to provide with power and a connected load of 74.15MW and MD of 44.32MW, the installed electrical distribution system for the Burj Dubai is somewhat unusual for a mixed-use building.

High voltage operations

The building is served by a total of twenty 11kV feeders from the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) network. It is also connected to a DEWA 132/11kV substation that is located within the Burj Dubai Development.

Rather than step-down transformers reducing the voltage at the high voltage (hv) incoming supply, here an 11kV power supply is distributed throughout the building via two main risers.

Two separate risers located in the building core serve the full height of the building and operate in parallel to ensure security of supply.

Supplies within the risers provide normal operating power and emergency generating power separately, with emergency generators serving the life safety systems, elevators and general escape lighting.

Five 2200kVA generators provide back-up to the life safety systems in the event of a power failure. Under total or partial power failure the generators will operate via automatic transfer switches (ATS). Battery-operated emergency lighting will also operate within the tower in the event of a mains failure.

The 11kV distribution within the risers has been completed using a four-core, 180mm2 diameter cable. This decision was made as 11kV busbars are more suitable for use in short runs within substations; the flexibilitiy of tap-off points provided by busbar was also not necessary in the building.

Low smoke and fume (LSF) cables have been specified throughout the project in order to reduce the risk of fume pollution in the event of a fire.

The hv distribution serves hv substations within the main MEP floors of the tower at levels 17, 40, 73, 109, 136 and 155. At these points the supply is reduced to 400V and distributed locally by busbar via sub-mains distribution boards. These eventually feed local distribution boards via corridor routes.

Powering up

The main DEWA substation that will serve the Burj Dubai is currently under construction and scheduled for completion around May 2008.

As permanent mains power is thus unavailable during the construction period, the building is connected to temporary power supplies and some local generators.

All hv work on the project has been installed according to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) Regulations, however it is effectively a private network.

The MEP contractor was partly chosen due to their skills with hv installations.

The final testing and commissioning of the systems will be carried out by a separate specialist subcontractor.

RELATED LINKS: Supplying skywards services, Servicing the Burj, Going up..., Cool runnings, Pipe plans, Fire safety at height, Making initial preparations

Most popular


CW Oman Awards 2020: Meet the winners
A round of the thirteen winning names at the Construction Week Oman Awards 2020 that


Leaders UAE 2020: Building a sustainable, 'resilient' infra
AESG’s Phillipa Grant, Burohappold’s Farah Naz, and Samana's Imran Farooq on a sustainable built environment
CW In Focus | Inside the Leaders in KSA Awards 2019 in Riyadh
Meet the winners in all 10 categories and learn more about Vision 2030 in this

Latest Issue

Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020