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Tue 5 Feb 2008 04:57 PM

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Emaar accelerates Burj Dubai construction

Metal cladding on building 50% complete, reflective material now covers 80 storeys.

Construction of what will be the world's tallest structure, the Burj Dubai, has been stepped up to meet an accelerated schedule, Dubai developer Emaar Properties said on Tuesday, without giving further details.

The state-controlled company said metal cladding on the building is 50% complete, with the reflective material now covering 80 storeys of its exterior, an area of over 50,000 square metres.

“The architectural and design splendour of Burj Dubai is now coming to fruition with the installation of the cladding, which is being executed on an accelerated schedule,” Ahmad Al Matrooshi, UAE managing director of Emaar Properties, said in a statement.

“With 50% of the [cladding] work completed, Burj Dubai is setting new milestones in the speed of construction of super-high-rises."

Emaar announced last month the Burj Dubai reached the 600-metre mark as it continues to solidify its position as the tallest structure in the world.

At over 600 metres, the iconic mega-structure is over 90 metres higher than the world's tallest building, Taiwan's Taipei 101, and over 40 metres higher than the world's tallest free-standing structure, Toronto's CN Tower.

The only structure now left for the Burj to overtake is the KVLY/KTHI television mast in Blanchard, US, which measures 628.8 metres.

The Burj Dubai will not be officially recognised as the world's tallest structure until it is completed, which is expected before the end of 2008.

When completed, the tower will be the tallest building in the world in all four categories recognised by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), which ranks buildings on the basis of spire height, the highest occupied floor, roof height and pinnacle height.

Construction of the building's concrete structure finished at around 585 metres and contractors are currently working on the steel structure on top and the spire.

The spire will be built from the inside of the building and raised up using a hydraulic pump - meaning that the height will be adjustable.

Emaar has remained tight lipped over the final height, but it is rumoured to be between 700 and 1,000 metres.

Local media reports last year said the final height of the Burj would be 818 metres, citing architects drawings posted on the internet.

The Burj Dubai is to be the centrepiece of a city within a city, Downtown Burj Dubai. The development as a whole will include 30,000 homes, nine hotels, 6.2 acres of parkland, 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and a 30-acre manmade lake. The development will cost around $20 billion.

Emaar has partnered with South Korean construction firm Samsung Corporation and New York-based project manager Turner Construction on the project, which has been designed by Adrian Smith and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of Chicago.

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