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How to build the world's tallest building in 90 days

Posting in Architecture

An innovative construction method may allow a Chinese team to set new standards in cost and energy efficiency.

A little over two years ago, a team of Chinese builders showed the rest of the world how to get things done when they set a world record by building a 15-story hotel in less than a week. A year later they one-upped themselves by erecting a 30 story hotel in 15 days. Turns out, it was all merely a dress rehearsal for their greatest feat yet.

In November, the Broad Sustainable Building group hopes to break ground on Sky City, a the 838-meter building that, once finished, would be world´s tallest. The plan is to complete the 220-story skyscraper at a coastal location in Changsha, the provincial capital of China´s Hunan Province, within an unheard of time-frame of 90 days.

To say that the whole idea is a highly ambitious undertaking is a real understatement. It took builders in Dubai more than five years to build the current world’s tallest building, the 828-meter Burj Khalifa. And we´re talking about a country that´s no stranger to colossal infrastructure projects. The city is renowned for having the world´s tallest skyline, which includes the world´s tallest hotel.

Ironically though, Sky City was designed by an architectural firm in Dubai, though after watching the workers in China put up hotel buildings like it´s nobody´s business, I wouldn´t bet against it.

The secret to BSB group´s high speed process is an innovative technique that effectively combines a pre-fabrication approach with good old fashioned on-site construction. Prior to arriving to the site, building components are assembled beforehand in a nearby factory. For instance, 95 percent of the work that goes into building Sky City will be done before on-site labor begins.

Doing it this way not only saves time, but should also help investors save money. As of now, the budget for Sky City is roughly the Chinese equivalent of US $628 million. If they pull it off, the total cost would be less than half of what it cost to build the $1.5 billion Burj Khalifal.

The company also says that their propriety construction method also allows them to set a high standard for energy efficiency. The clever use of quadruple glazing and 15-centimeter-thick exterior walls to prevent heat loss means that Sky City will consume a fifth of what´s typically needed to run conventional buildings, BSB chief executive officer Zhang Yue told state news agency Xinhau in an interview.

BSB has already received approval from officials in Wangcheng, the district overseeing the Changsha region and is awaiting final clearance from the central government.

But what do you think? Can they pull it off?

-- via CNN

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure