The Skyscraper Construction Process: The Tallest Buildings in the World

The Skyscraper Construction Process: The Tallest Buildings in the World
Kitmondo 12 Nov 2018

The views from the world’s highest architecture constructions are breathtaking. How could someone have built something so tall that it almost seems like it’s touching the sky? It’s more than obvious that months and even years of hard work stand behind the construction of skyscrapers. Let’s briefly take a look at the skyscraper construction process along with reviews of the top three tallest building in the world.

The skyscraper construction process

Before we understand the construction process, we have to recognize the design that starts the project. Uncountable buildings were drawn and never carried out. One of the main reason why these building will never be built is an unrealizable architect's vision. The creation of the design has to go along with the construction process.

As one of the main points of each skyscraper’s design is to be absolutely unique, the construction of each skyscraper itself is completely different. The following steps give a basic overview of how the world’s tallest buildings are constructed.

1. The substructure comes first

Earthmoving work is necessary at the beginning. When the construction of the skyscraper starts, the first job is to dig a pit to hold the whole foundation. The depth of the pit depends on many factors such as the height of the buildings and numbers of underground levels. Vertical beams are fitted into the pit to support the foundation of the building. The most commonly used materials for the substructure are steel and concrete.

2. The superstructure and core of the skyscraper

When the construction of the substructure is done, the proceeding work happens in several phases. For example, if the construction of the support structure work on the lowest floors is done and operators have moved onto higher levels, the finishing work begins at the lower levels. These phases structure the work and allow it to be time efficient.

Steel columns are bolted or welded at the end of the beam. The beam is wrapped into a special jacket for heat protection from fire. The core of the skyscraper is built with concrete columns using a "slip forming" technique which helps to build the column without any joints. The floors are fixed into the building core and support columns.

3. The exterior of the skyscraper

When the superstructure with the core is done, the construction process shifts its focus to build the exterior. The exterior walls are made of paneling which surrounds the metal or steel structure of the building. The most common panel material is metal, steel, glass or stone. The panels are fixed into the superstructure of the skyscraper.

Are you thinking about how the massive and super heavy blocks are lifted onto the highest heights of skyscrapers? The most powerful equipment that could lift such a load is once again cranes. You can read all about cranes in the article, Different Types of Cranes Used on Construction Sites.

4. The finishing work of the skyscraper

Normally the roof is constructed as a normal floor covered by waterproof layers from rubber or plastic materials. The top surface of it is constructed of highly resistant metal or tiles to protect the skyscraper’s roof from all kinds of weather conditions and the threat of natural disasters.

The final steps of the finishing process include many kinds of installations from telephones, electrical wires over all plumbing work, fire controls to mechanical installations such as elevators or cooling and heating systems.

Building construction equipment

What are the machines that built the highest buildings in the world? Just imagine how someone could build a piece of architecture which is over 2,000 feet tall without the advanced technology of today; only with human-powered or animal-powered equipment. It sounds insanely complicated. But thanks to the modern technology of the construction world, the skyscraper construction process has become way easier.

There are numerous pieces of heavy equipment used in the skyscraper construction process, for example, heavy trucks, crawlers, excavator, loader, roller, drilling machines, recycling machines and others. To learn more about these heavy units, read our previous article: Category of Heavy Equipment Used in Construction.

But the most powerful and commonly used machine which has become an icon of the construction of the skyscraper is the crane. These machines are known as ‘wall-climbing monsters’. At first, cranes are fitted into the ground and when the work gets higher and higher, the crane is fixed onto the skyscraper’s construction itself. When the building work comes even higher, the cranes are fixed onto the current highest level to start building other floors.

The top three tallest buildings in the World

China could be named as the country of the fastest urbanisation in the world. Only last year China built more than half of the skyscrapers in comparison to all the world. It might be a surprise that the current highest building is not located in China but in the United Arab Emirates. Let’s have a look at the top three tallest buildings in the word:

1. Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It’s known as the tallest man-made structure in the world ever to be completed It is 2,716 feet tall and has 163 floors, making it the most interesting building in the United Arab Emirates.

2. Shanghai Tower

The Shanghai Tower stands right next to the Shanghai World Financial Centre in Shanghai, China and it is the second tallest architectural building in the world. With a height of 2,073 feet it is a dominant construction in the city. The most interesting characteristic of this building is the fastest elevator with a speed of 59 feet per second.

3. Makkah Clock Royal Tower

The Makkah Clock Royal Tower is located in Makkah in Saudi Arabia. It is the tallest construction (1,971 feet) in a seven-tower complex which was designed for a luxury five-star hotel. The dominant trait of this building is the largest clock in the world which can actually be seen from a distance of 15 miles.

The Burj Khalifa building is currently the world’s tallest building - but not for long. The Wuhan Greenland Center in the provincial capital of Hubei, China is being constructed right now and it’s planned to be finished by end of 2018. The Wuhan Greenland Center with its 2,086 feet of height will become the next tallest building in the world. But it is only a matter of time before we see what country will come with the newest skyscraper which will become the tallest in the world.