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Sat 18 Dec 2004 04:00 AM

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Emaar names contractor for $1 billion Burj Dubai

Samsung-Besix-Arabtec JV lands main contract to build the world’s tallest tower

The main contract to build the world’s tallest tower, Burj Dubai, has been awarded to the Samsung-Besix-Arabtec JV.

Speculation that the joint venture company would be successful had been rife in the market since early September, but up until last week the final agreement had yet to be signed. Commenting on Samsung’s role in the JV, Mohamed Ali Alabbar, chairman of Emaar, developer of the Burj Dubai, said: “Samsung Corporation has been awarded this contract because it matches Emaar’s global quality standards and processes, which have become benchmarks for developers around the world.

“The company has an impeccable reputation and unrivalled expertise in constructing tall towers. The tower represents the next stage of growth for Emaar and will be the basis for future developments and act as a signpost for the ambitions of the region.”

Meanwhile, the Burj Dubai, which could eventually top 800 metres, is going to cost an estimated US $1 billion to build, according to Emaar. Construction is already well underway. Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has designed it and Turner International Construction is project and construction manager. The contract to build the structure of the tower was awarded to the JV following an 11 month process that began earlier this year and involved bids from major global contractors in joint ventures with local operations.

Middle East Foundations and Bauer did the piling work for the tower and Nasa Multiplex completed the raft. Construction of the tower from the ground up will now be taken up by the joint venture, whose members all now have some experience of high-rise construction: Samsung in Korea, Besix with Emirates Towers and Arabtec at Jumeirah Beach Residence.

Burj Dubai will combine residential and commercial space, and will include a boutique hotel, recreational facilities, serviced residences, apartments and an observatory. It will be the centrepiece of a US $8 billion residential and commercial district, known as ‘Downtown Dubai.’ This will include the Dubai Mall, currently being built by the Dutco Balfour Beatty - Al Ghandi Consolidated Contracting Co. JV, which is likely to be the world’s largest retail complex, a 3.5 km boulevard, The Residences and The Old Town.

The Burj Dubai’s base will rise upward in a series of steps and it is composed of three elements arranged around a central core. The tower thins out as it reaches towards the sky and it has been designed to reduce potential wind effects.

A high performance exterior cladding system will be employed to withstand the extreme temperatures during Dubai’s summer months. Primary materials include reflective glazing, aluminum and textured stainless steel panels, as well as vertical stainless tubular fins designed to accentuate the height and slenderness of the tower.

Burj Dubai will have to outdo some stiff competition to earn the mantle of world’s tallest building. The current champion is the 509 m Taipei 101 in Taiwan. It was completed this year. Though expectations are that Burj Dubai will soar to 810 m, the height has never been confirmed and Emaar is likely to allow for an increase in height during construction if required.

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