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Who is the Contractor on the Burj Khalifa? Why does it Matter?

The tallest building on the planet today is the Burj Khalifa rising 2,717 feet into the desert sky over Dubai.  It is a building full of hyperbole built to illustrate some of the limits of today’s construction.  At 160 floors, it is higher than two Empire State Buildings and the tower that sits on its top is over 700 feet tall.  The designers said that the tower was that tall so that the overall tower would not look too stubby.  The designers were members of the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) offices.  The firm has had a number of tall buildings, but this is the tallest.

We could ask and answer lots of esoteric questions about its cost and design, but that is not the purpose of my inquiry.  You can read a great review of the building, its lighting and some of the intricacies in this latest issue of Architecture Record.

My question is two-fold.  First, Who is the contractor?  I will leave that one to the reader to tell me.  The second question is more relevant to me.

Why Does it Matter?  It matters for the simple reason that a group of very creative professionals, contractors, subs, craftsmen and workers scheduled, purchased, erected and in essence “turned on” or commissioned the tallest and one of the most complex buildings humans have every built.  These individuals coordinated the delivery from all over the world something like a million individual pieces and assembled them into a three-dimensional puzzle.  I think that is absolutely amazing.

The people involved in the industry are amazing creative and hard working.  They take on safety issues every day that could mean life or death for the individual standing next to them.  They bring to life the designs and structures that many only dream about.

Think about this fact.  Without you and your colleagues in the industry, there would be no new houses or office buildings or bridges or Burj Khalifas and that is something that you can be really proud to be a part of.  Something that you can tell your friends, families, girlfriends and boyfriends.  Tell them that you are a member of the Construction Industry and proud of it.  Tell them that your industry built the tallest building in the world, the oldest Gothic cathedrals in Europe and the longest bridges in the world.  That’s why it matters to me and why it should matter to you as well.

Now, will someone please tell me who the contractor is for Burj Khalifa?


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