Kingdom Tower cheaper to build than Burj Khalifa

Tumbling construction costs mean smaller bill for Prince Alwaleed-backed tower
Kingdom Tower cheaper to build than Burj Khalifa
The price tag for Dubais Burj Khalifa is estimated at $1.6bn
By Staff writer
Thu 04 Aug 2011 11:18 AM

Kingdom Tower, the planned 1km-high building backed by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed, will be cheaper to build than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, comparisons show.

The building that plans to steal the title of world’s tallest tower will cost $1.2bn to build, the company said in a statement, a significant drop from the Burj Khalifa’s $1.5bn price tag

"The original construction contract [for the Burj Khalifa] was negotiated with the JV of Samsung Engineering, Besix and Arabtec in January 2005 for $1bn," Eric Tomich, the architect behind the Burj Khalifa, said in February.

“All the big stuff was in, so at the end the building probably cost $1.5bn to $1.6bn, which still I think is pretty good value.”

Initial designs for the Jeddah-based Kingdom Tower show a mixed-used building featuring a Four Seasons hotel, an observation deck and office space, served by 59 elevators.

Media reports earlier this year had suggested that the tower could be as large as 1,600m tall, making it twice as high as its nearest competitor.

Prince Alwaleed told Arabian Business on Tuesday the project would be “transformational”.

 “These are the kind of projects l like to do,” he said. “These big projects need vision, strength and guts to do.”

Saudi’s Binladin Group, one of the Gulf state’s largest contractors, was awarded the deal to build the tower.

Designer Adrian Smith, who helped plan the Burj Khalifa while with architect firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, said the Middle East’s cut-price labour costs would be a key element in the more than 1km-tall tower’s $1.2bn price tag.

 “In the Middle East you have very inexpensive labour, and they work three shifts, so they keep going all around the clock. That helps keep the construction cost low here,” he said.

A report by consultancy EC Harris in July found Saudi Arabia was the cheapest Middle East country to build in, half as expensive as Bahrain and 34 percent cheaper than the UAE.

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