By Anil Bhoyrul & Andrew White
Arabian Business reports from the top of the world's tallest tower, hours before the official opening.
9.25am: That's the end of our live coverage for this morning but log on again this evening for more live coverage from the inauguration event. It promises to be spectacular.
9.20am AW: Thanks Anil, you go get your coffee. That’s it for now, folks, but do check out our exclusive photos – now live. The best view in the world from the comfort of your home or office: who could ask for more?
9.16am AB: Our first pictures should be up soon . We also have video of the view from the top – as well as the rather scary lift journey on the way back down the tower! I’m now back downstairs; it only took a minute. What a truly breathtaking experience. The observation deck will be open to the public from tomorrow morning, and I suggest you get down here first thing. It’s also probably worth making a separate trip at night – the city lights will be amazing. Right, I’ve been up since 5am, so I’m off for a well-deserved latte…
9.15am AW: In the event of a fire, the tower’s inhabitants won’t be expected to walk down all 162 floors. Instead, there are pressurised, air-conditioned refuge areas every 25 floors or so, where you can put your feet up and wait to be rescued. Even without the demands of dousing a blaze, the Burj Dubai is expected to use an average of 946,000 litres of water each day. The tower will power through around 50 MVA of electricity at peak times – the equivalent of having some 500,000 100-watt lightbulbs burning at the same time. DEWA must be rubbing their hands in glee, though environmentalists might not share their enthusiasm...
9.10am AW: Here’s one for you: the total weight of aluminium used in the Burj Dubai’s construction is equivalent to that used in five A380 aircraft. And a staggering 58,900 cubic yards of concrete were used in the tower’s construction – enough to lay a pavement all the way from Dubai to Damascus, and equivalent in weight to around 110,000 elephants. Does that mean it would be a trunk road?!
9.08am AB: Just talking to Ashish Joshi from Sky News, who tells me that the channel has cleared its schedule from 8pm to cover the inauguration live. Also I am told the highlight will be a firework display that will last just four minutes. But according to someone who knows these things, it will be “the greatest four minutes of fireworks ever seen on Earth”. Again, there are rumours the fireworks are to be launched from surrounding buildings towards the Burj Dubai, though we’ll need to wait around 12 hours to find out!!
9.07am AW: On the subject of the elevators, the Burj Dubai is home to 57 in total (plus eight escalators) . The lifts servicing the observation deck travel at an eye-watering 10 metres per second; I guess with the job of traversing the world’s longest lift distance (from lowest to highest stop), they need to be pretty nippy. Each cab holds between 12 and 14 people, and if that’s not enough then there’s also a service elevator which can carry a weight of up to 5,500kg. To put that in perspective, that’s equivalent to five polar bears, or 47 Vespa scooters. Or for our more cultured readers, that’s 6,875 copies of ‘The Lost Symbol’, by Dan Brown...
9.06am AW: Takes me back to 2006 and the last time I went up the tower, when it was a mere 88 floors high. We were taken up in a couple of rickety little industrial lifts which ran up the outside of the building, which was pretty terrifying. Fortunately we were in the company of a couple of ‘Miss Belgium’ winners (courtesy of the Belgian contractor running the trip), so I couldn’t let the nerves show... All very different to the experience today, I’m sure – I’ve got a feeling the VIPs and their assorted hangers-on (that’s you, Anil) are travelling in rather more style!!
9.02am AB: Everyone’s now flooding onto the observation deck; it’s becoming packed by about 200 of the world’s media – following in our footsteps, I might add! The plan for this morning is that Emaar will be holding some kind of briefing pretty soon. Then looking forward the VVIP guests will start gathering from about 5pm. Looking down and to my left the Burj Al Arab park island is being filled out with thousands of stadium-style seats and a huge stage, in prep for tonight’s event. This will be the hottest ticket in town, if not the world, tonight.
8.57am AB: Earlier on there was a real buzz down at ground level, particularly with people talking about what the final height of the building might be. His Highness will reveal the final figure in around 12 hours, though the buzz at the Burj seems to be 818 …
8.55am AW: “The doors opened and a bright white light flooded in”? Sounds like Anil’s having some kind of spiritual episode up there… either that, or the altitude’s got to him. He’s at the top of the world’s tallest building, which took some 22 million man-hours to build since construction began. And the work doesn’t stop now that it’s open - apparently to clean the tower’s entire exterior from top to bottom takes up to four months at a time. My word, that’s a lot of Windowlene...Some 35,700 metric tonnes of steel was needed to build the tower – that’s enough to stretch a quarter of the way around the globe if laid end-to-end. The tower’s curtain, or outer, wall is 27.5 acres across, equivalent in size to 17 football fields.
8.53am AB: Bit of a bizarre journey up here. I seemed to lose everybody before we even got started and ended up in the lift on my own. I should say right away that the lifts are a bit freaky. They are very dark, and you don’t actually feel as though you are moving – I was actually pressing the ‘open doors’ button a few times, before I felt my ears pop and realised it had been rising the whole time. After about 60 seconds the doors opened and a bright white light flooded in from the observation deck on the 124th floor of the Burj Dubai.
8.45am AW: We're told on a clear day visitors will be able to see as far as 80km through the observation room’s ceiling-to-floor glass walls - that’s twice the distance from Dubai to Al Ain. And if even if you’re nowhere near Dubai, you’ll know exactly where Sheikh Zayed Road is – the spire will be visible from as far as 95km away. Can anyone in Fujairah confirm that for us?!
8.40am AB: Woo hoo! AB has reached the very top of the Burj Dubai – and we’re the first up here! We’ll fill you in on the background shortly, but first thing to say is that the view is breathtaking. You feel as though you’re in an aeroplane. This might sound strange but it’s almost too high – you lose all perception. Off to my right the Emirates Towers look like toys, like a model set. Directly in front I can see the World islands; there’s a great view and it’s a lovely clear day so I can look right down on them. I’m now looking to my left and the Palm Jumeirah is stretched out into the Gulf. The Burj al Arab has never looked so small!
8.35am Andrew White (AW): While Anil joins the media scrum to get to the top of the Burj Dubai, I can tell you want some facts and figures. Since work began back in January 2004, the Burj Dubai has notched up a string of titles, and not just the ‘world's tallest building’ . Apparently, it’s also the tallest free-standing structure (eclipsing Toronto’s CN Tower) and boasts more storeys than any other building in the world. Still don’t know the actual height though…
8.25am AB: Later this evening (from around 7pm) we will again be bringing you live coverage from the official opening ceremony, which is set to include one of the greatest fireworks displays in history. And what do I suggest you do between 12pm today and 7pm? Well why not buy yourself a copy of this week’s Arabian Business magazine, which is devoted entirely to this historic event. It also features a fascinating interview with Emaar chairman Mohammed Alabbar , saying some really personal stuff that you don’t normally get in this region. Great stuff.
8.20am AB: In the next hour I will be among the very first people in the world to be given a sneak preview from the 124th floor of this amazing building. We will be bringing you the first pictures from the top , incredible pictures of the inside, and exclusive interviews. We’re also hoping to get you some exclusive video footage before midday. All of which means that for the rest of the morning, AB.com is the only place to be.
8.15am Anil Bhoyrul (AB): Welcome everybody, it’s just gone 8am, my name is Anil Bhoyrul, I’m standing right in front of – you guessed it – The Burj Dubai . Now, wait a minute I hear you say, isn’t the official opening in exactly 12 hours’ time? Yes, it is – but that’s for 7,000 specially invited guests and two billion television viewers. If you work for Arabian Business then you get to go up the tower before everyone else!
Great going guys. I am following your every step that you are taking. Thumbs up to you both AB & AW and thanks for the continuous updates. Keep it up Arabian Business.