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A range of factors create significant challenges for the design and implementation of effective, reliable and visually unobtrusive building maintenance systems for mega-tall skyscrapers. Most obviously, there is a huge facade surface area for the building maintenance system to cover in order to provide regular, effective cleaning and maintenance access. Structurally, super- and mega-tall buildings often utilise a tapering or stepped form to reduce mass at the higher levels and achieve the necessary stability. At the same time, curving facade surfaces and other complex architectural features are often central to the aesthetic vision of super- and mega-tall buildings and require facade access solutions with a high level of flexibility and manoeuvrability to navigate the building geography.

Structurally, it is often necessary for mega- and super-tall skyscrapers to explore different design and construction approaches to traditional rectilinear buildings in order to safely support such a remarkably tall building with a relatively small footprint. The effects of the prevailing weather conditions and how they might differ at the higher levels of the building, in particular during high winds, is also a key consideration in the development of skyscraper projects which reach mega-tall status.

Not only are mega-tall skyscrapers impressive in terms of pure scale, they are also among the most imaginative and complex architectural achievements to be found anywhere in the world. For a city, becoming home to a skyscraper of the mega-tall calibre represents a major event, putting it at the forefront of global architecture. Bearing that in mind, it’s also apparent that any mega-tall skyscraper will also become a central landmark for the city and the wider region, and is likely to dominate the skyline. The visual aesthetic of these huge structures is therefore equally important as they become iconic and much-visited attractions in their own right, standing as symbols for the area which can pay tribute to history and express ambition for the future, in addition to serving their day to day functions for tenants, residents and guests.

A combination of these challenging issues were all in play when CoxGomyl’s design and engineering team were tasked with providing the building access solution for Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. This unprecedented project is the tallest building in the world, outstripping the second-placed mega-tall skyscraper by 200 metres. Far exceeding the 600 metre benchmark for mega-tall buildings, the Burj Khalifa reaches 828 metres to roof level and 829.8 metres including its antenna.

Structurally speaking, the tower tapers inwards towards the higher levels, with numerous stepped setbacks forming a unique spiralling form which increases stability and was extensively tested in a wind tunnel to minimise the impact of high wind conditions. The aesthetic vision also draws on the rich history of Islamic art and architecture as well as drawing inspiration from a dessert flower native to the region for its unique ‘three petal’ footprint. In order to effectively service this record-breaking mega-tall structure and keep its breath-taking visual design unspoiled, CoxGomyl developed a comprehensive building maintenance system encompassing nine Building Maintenance Units (BMUs) located in groups of three on floors 40, 73 and 109. All nine of these BMUs are hidden from view behind retracting panels in designated parking areas within the building itself. The mid-section of the tower presented the most complex and challenging building geography and required the flexibility of BMUs with a specially designed articulating knuckle jib which is capable of safely navigating through a huge range of challenging movements to practically reach the most inaccessible areas of the building.

All of CoxGomyl’s work on ground breaking projects such as mega-tall buildings, cements the brand’s industry leadership position and allows us to continue expanding our knowledge and expertise to deliver practical, cost effective building maintenance systems for tall buildings of any size and shape. Contact us to discuss how we can help address your specific needs.

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