French company Soletanche Bachy is tipped to win the piling and foundations contract for what is expected to become the tallest building in the world, Nakheel’s Al Burj, sources close to the project told Construction Week on Tuesday.
With initial designs putting Al Burj, or the Tall Tower, at over a kilometre high, the building will easily overtake Emaar Properties' Burj Dubai as the world's tallest.
The Burj Dubai is expected to be around 900 metres upon completion at the end of this year, although the final height remains a closely guarded secret.
A spokesperson for Nakheel denied an official award had been made, but confirmed the French company had begun some work on the project.
The spokesperson said testing work had been done on site and an official launch was planned in March.
A source at Soletanche Bachy’s Dubai office confirmed the Tall Tower was among the projects it was working on.
It is common practice in the region for companies to start work on projects prior to actually winning the contract.
Al Burj was initially planned to form part of the Dubai Waterfront development, but the location was moved to between Jumeirah Lake Towers and Ibn Battuta Mall on Sheikh Zayed Road.
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Initial designs for the tower indicate there will be 228 floors, a four level basement and one service sub-level.
The total built up area will be 1.49 million square metres, with 492,000 square metres of usable space. The development will house offices, apartments and hotels.
The top habitable floor will be at 850 metres, topped by a 200-metre central spire with a three level function area and three service floors.
Among the consultants working on the project are the UK’s WSP, US-based LERA, Australia’s Van Der Meer Consulting (VDM) and Olive Group, while foundation-engineering company Fugro Middle East has just completed soil investigations on the site.
Soletanche Bachy was recently awarded a foundations contract for the Norman Foster-designed Russia Tower in Moscow with the STT Group. At 612 metres high it will be the tallest building in Europe.
The company also worked on the foundations for the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and constructed the 2.4-kilometre long canal on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.