Client name: Emaar

Duration: 2003 - 2005 

Location: Dubai, UAE

Our collaborative and robust peer review ensured the challenging construction of this landmark building kept on track.

Building a megatall skyscraper on weak rock strata 

The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building, rising 828m high.

It sits on relatively weak rock strata that had never before been subjected to such high loadings. It has previously been thought that these ground conditions could lead to excessive settlement of piled raft foundations, causing construction delays.

The client sought expert advice to ensure the ground-breaking design could be implemented without unnecessary delay. We were asked to conduct a geotechnical peer review and independent analysis of the building foundations, in parallel with another consultant. 

Geotechnical peer review

Our team used state-of-the-art ground interpretation and numerical design analysis techniques  to undertake a parallel design with another consultant.   

By undertaking and interpreting a series of pile load tests, we determined that the as-designed foundation would perform within acceptable limits.

Settlement measurements during the construction of the building were monitored and assessed by Coffey and were found to be less than anticipated during design. The predicted final settlement was estimated at 75mm and the actual figure came in at about 45mm. This meant there were no delays due to foundation performance issues.

As the building was constructed, we also carried out the independent evaluation of the soil conditions.The detailed analysis indicated the design assumptions were appropriate, and gave the construction team a great deal of confidence that the foundations would perform as expected – which they have.

Interactive piled raft foundations designs met timeframe and stringent quality criteria

Coffey’s approach to the geotechnical peer review ensured there were no significant delays in the design or construction of the foundations. The use of state-of-the art methods of analysis, design, laboratory testing and trial pile testing contributed to the client being able to open this iconic building on schedule in January 2010.