‘Burj Khalifa’, formerly known as ‘Burj Dubai’ is currently the world’s tallest building. It is a unique & spectacular skyscraper, and an engineering marvel to set ones sight on – if one could get a complete glance without having to strain their neck. Almost a kilometer from tip-to-toe, the exquisite structure stands about 2,717 feet or 830 meters tall with total-floors amounting over 160 (Golden, 2010).
Located in the heart of the fresh-metropolitan city, Dubai, the Burj Khalifa was just one part of the vast project called ‘Burj Downtown’ or ‘Downtown Dubai’, which included the world’s largest shopping mall ‘The Dubai Mall’ and various other construction projects (villas, offices, entertainment/recreational facilities, restaurants, etc.
). The goal of erecting Burj Khalifa was not only to be the highest skyscraper but was designed & constructed to be a milestone of ingenuity, inspiration and accomplishment.
The construction was planned by the Dubai government with the purpose of becoming a hub for finance, trade & tourism in the Middle-East (“Burj khalifa” 2009).
The idea of the mega-structure itself feels or sounds almost over-whelming, but there was and is a strong will, vision, goal and mission set by the political & economic leaders of the United Arab Emirates to accomplish the task of creating, managing & handling the world’s tallest building.
As it was announced near the end of year-2003 that the world’s highest man-made structure was being planned to be constructed soon, much was expected to follow-through in the coming time. Undoubtedly, it was a massive project with over 60 contractors & consultants (both international & local) and thousands of people (stakeholders) and a budget of about U.
S. D. 875 million (“Burj khalifa fact sheet” 2010). According the developers (Emaar PJSC), approximately 22 million man-hours were expected (2004-2008) to the finalization of the masterpiece.
After some planning, the construction process began in January 2004 with excavation work. This process then continued until the finishing, for about 5-6 years that included the completion of other processes like foundations, cladding, concrete & steel work, landscaping, electrical/water works, crane-work, etc. (CW Staff, 2010). The estimated time and cost of this project were influenced by the unfavourable global & local economic situations in 2008.
During the “Dubai Shock” in the same year, construction had halted for about four months and as expected to remain suspended for a few more months. This is when ‘Burj Dubai’ was renamed ‘Burj Khalifa’ with major monetary- influence from the leaders of Abu Dhabi (capital city of the U. A. E. ), who limited the construction halt to roughly four months. There were also changes in the exterior design (original design was 100m shorter) and interior designs. The final cost of the project was a whopping U. S. D. 1. 5 billion & was ready for inauguration after completing all construction, the ‘finishing’ phase, and safety & maintenance checks by October 2009.
The grandopening was then postponed till the 4th of January 2010, leading to more delays. The reason for this delay was the decision of the major investors involved, who wished the grand-opening be on the fouryear anniversary of the current prime minister & vice-president of the country as the ruler of Dubai – Shiekh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. As the chairman of ‘Emaar’ (developer) stated, “We decided to inaugurate the world’s highest tower during an anniversary that is dear to the hearts of everyone” (“Burj khalifa facts” 2009). Word Count: 544 Success or Failure?
Business Perspective: In the point of view of just ‘business’, in the long-run, this project might be a success, but for now, and since its inauguration, not much can be described in terms of success with the mediocre profits achieved. Although for the time being the business is still in its earlier stages, such projects require much more time than usual to recover funds & gain profits due to the hefty investments. The structure consists of a thousand or so residences/apartments which certainly require that there be enough availability of occupants in the region.
There is hardly much concrete information available on how well the Burj Khalifa did or has been doing in terms of business or profits – which makes one wonder if things really look that bad for the Burj. Considering the definition of a business mainly relies on the total profits, the following points hint the failure of Burj Khalifa’s business-aspect (Proctor, 2011):
1. Although 90% of the buildings’ apartments have been sold (under unfavourable-market situations), only about 15% are occupied 2. The profits made are almost minimal; the business is only achieving ‘just above breaking-even’ profits due to the still falling market-prices in real-estate (40% drop since opening) 3. The occupancy of Burj Khalifa to reach 90-100% is still not realistic or practical due to the city’s constraints/weak-capabilities at management aspects of waste/sewage (trucks transport waste from underground holding tanks to waste/sewage treatment plants or disposals) and road- ransportation & managing the saturated-population of the building itself Project Management Perspective: “Project management is a set of tools, techniques, and knowledge that, when applied, helps to achieve the three main constraints of scope, cost and time. ” (Nelson, 2006). According to this definition of the project management perspective, and with the basic principles of project-management, an analysis would suggest the project leaning towards being mostly unsuccessful (Attarzadeh, 2008).
Although the vision, mission and goals were eventually achieved, the manner in which they were accomplished and the relationship between ‘cost-time-scope’ in the case of Burj Khalifa seems not that up to the mark. Listed below are some supporting ideas denoting the unsatisfactory project-management of Burj-Khalifa (Kamin, 2012): 1. The planning phase of the project was not executed effectively & efficiently, with numerous ambiguities in the project (hurried decisions/planning, changes in designs, etc. 2. The estimated cost ($875 million) was not precise, and the project went over-budget (up-to $1. 5 billion) prematurely in the project-phases (includes external factors – weather, economic & market situation, etc. ) 3. Inefficiency & Ineffectiveness did not remain through-out the project, but did affect the project overall. Time inefficiency & ineffectiveness was one of these factors. The project ended almost 6-7 months later than the announced & expected date of completion. Lessons Learnt
After studying this case and from practical knowledge & personal experiences being a resident of Dubai (since 1987), the importance of planning for a project is clearly noticeable. The investors for this mammoth structure had probably not attempted much forecasting or studied future trends to the population growth of the region or perhaps the “Dubai Shock” was not expected to actually happen. The planning phase for the project should have been successfully approved before construction began, which could have avoided loss of time & money.
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