Work on the Burj Dubai, set to become the world's tallest building, has been accelerated with 50 percent of its exterior cladding being completed.
"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," Emaar Properties, developer of the project, stated in a company press release in Dubai.
"With 50 per cent of the work completed, Burj Dubai is setting new milestones in the speed of construction of super-high-rises," it said.
The cladding work is being done by the Arabian Aluminium Company in phases across various levels to match the project timelines. More than 12,000 panels covering an area of over 50,000 square metres have been installed on the tower, which is now unofficially the world's tallest freestanding structure.
More than 80 storeys currently don the cladding system. The primary materials used are reflective glazing, aluminium and textured steel spandrels, and vertical stainless steel tubular fins.
"We are deploying innovative techniques in the cladding work, and 50 per cent of the work was completed in less than seven months - a record of sorts," general manager of Arabian Aluminium Company Bashar Kayali stated in the release.
"The logistics of cladding Burj Dubai, with other aspects of construction going on simultaneously, is very demanding, and we are utilising advanced technologies to complete the work on schedule."
Burj Dubai is now 604.9 metres tall. Though the final height and number of floors have not been revealed as yet, speculation here is that it might be 900 metres tall.
It is now taller than the Taipei 101 (508 metres) in Taiwan, officially the world's tallest building and CN Tower (553 metres) in Toronto, Canada.
The Burj Dubai will be officially recognised as the world's tallest structure only when the construction is fully completed, which is expected to be towards the end of this year.
Then the skyscraper 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.
The super-tall structure will feature residences, commercial space and retail space and hospitality elements including the world's first Armani Hotel and Armani Residences.
Burj Dubai is the centrepiece of Emaar's flagship project, the 73 billion dirham ($20 billion) Downtown Burj Dubai, a one square km new area in this West Asian metropolis featuring residential properties and commercial buildings.
Meanwhile, work has also started on what is being dubbed as the rival to the Burj Dubai, also in this city.
A French firm has started the pilings and foundation work on the site of the building, tentatively named Al Burj or Tall Tower, being developed by the Dubai government-owned real estate giant Nakheel.