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World's tallest building opens – under a new name

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The 828m-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai was officially opened yesterday

The tower, inaugurated by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was renamed the Burj Khalifa minutes before the opening – apparently to thank Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates and emir of Abu Dhabi, for a recent financial bail-out.

Dubai real estate values have fallen by up to 50 per cent in the past year, and a large state-backed developer caused panic in world markets when it asked for a loan repayment holiday in November 2009.

The Burj Khalifa becomes the world’s tallest man-made structure, surpassing the 508m Taipei 101, just 1,325 days after excavation work started in January 2004. The £930m building contains the world’s highest place of worship – a mosque on floor 158 – office space (floor 154 ) and a restaurant (Atmosphere on floor 122).

In total 330,000m3 of concrete, 39,000t of reinforced steel, 103,000m2 of glass and 15,500m2 of embossed stainless steel have been used in the building, which to date has taken 22 million man-hours to build.

The Burj was designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill, the developer is Emaar and the contractor is a joint venture of Samsung, Arabtec and Besix. Consultant Hyder acted as the developer’s engineer.

‘The building represents engineering application at its finest and Hyder Consulting is very proud to add this project to its heritage of world class construction feats on one of the world’s most prestigious developments,’ said Hyder Consulting regional managing director Wael Allan.

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