Reaching Record Heights

Bringing Innovative Solutions to High Profile Projects

The construction site for Shanghai Tower

From high-rises to highways, large-scale construction is seeing a resurgence. Skyscrapers are reaching record heights, huge tunnels are establishing new transportation connections, and colossal bridges are spanning greater distances than ever before. According to Skyscraper Center.com, the world’s tallest building remains the Burj Khalifa at 2,717 ft (828 m); 163 floors. 2019 set a new record for supertall building completions with the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre in China measuring 1,739 ft (530m). The total number of supertall buildings worldwide is now 170. A few of them are outfitted with Victaulic products.

Engineers looking to meet the design intent of these larger, more complex structures have to take into consideration innovative engineering options that they may not have used before. Alleviating or accommodating deflection and settlement, which is increasingly more challenging in megastructures, is one area where considering alternate design approach becomes particularly important. But there are many other engineering challenges that need innovative solutions.

Victaulic has a long history of minimizing risk and engineering confidence in buildings. Most often specified as a fast, easy, safe and reliable alternative to welding, Victaulic systems also provide design solutions to address a range of piping movement issues common in skyscrapers including settlement, sway and creep. (Read more about that in our white paper “Best Practices in Accommodating Deflection, Building Creep and Settlement: Grooved Mechanical Piping Systems.”) But these are only some of the reasons engineers and owners have chosen to partner with Victaulic on their megastructures.

Victaulic is proud to have been chosen to provide engineering solutions in the world’s 10 tallest buildings, including the recently completed Tianjin CTF Finance Centre. Below is a sampling of those buildings and Victaulic’s approach to solving the needs of owners and engineers.

A century of innovation from Victaulic helps make building the world’s most recognizable structures safer, faster and more efficient

Reaching Record Heights

The World’s Tallest Building – Burj Khalifa

With its 163 floors and 2,717 ft (828 m) in height, Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates is the tallest building in the world. In addition to being the highest building in the world, it is also home to the world’s largest “dancing” fountain. The fountain has 1,138 shooters, of which some can blast water as high as 150 m. Impressive as the fountain is to watch, there is more to it than meets the eye. Below the surface are six mechanical rooms with technology worth more than $200 million. The main challenges in joining the compressed air and chilled waters were time and the 500psi/35bar working pressure. That’s why BK Gulf sought a reliable pipe joining solution and that’s exactly what Victaulic grooved mechanical pipe joining systems provided.

Dubai skyline at dusk
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The piping installation of the HVAC pumps, suction diffusers, and fire protection system was highly challenging, due to the building height. Victaulic mechanical pipe joining solutions were used to maximize on-site material handling on this large job site. In order to optimize onsite efficiency and the movement of teams and material on-site, most of the pipe spools were prefabricated in the shop. By installing Victaulic products in the Burj Khalifa and its fountain, BK Gulf and ETA, Voltas Limited and Hitachi were able to minimize construction delays and optimize material handling and on-site safety.

Using lean fabrication techniques, with the pre-planning and project coordination support of Victaulic’s Virtual Design and Construction, allowed for faster installation times, enabling contractors to meet the tight project schedule and enhance safety.

The World’s Second Tallest Building – Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Pudong aerial night view

The world’s second-tallest building, the 2,073 ft; (632 m) Shanghai Tower, also features Victaulic solutions. Beyond its height, the tower’s outer layer twists as it rises and the floors are enclosed by the inner layer of the glass facade. This creates several indoor zones.

Due to the particular design of these zones, a specialty sprinkler head was required and Victaulic was up to the challenge. To meet this demand, Victaulic engineered, created and supplied a sprinkler head designed specifically to protect non-operable window openings, greatly improving the fire resistance of the building.

The World’s Third Tallest Building – Makkah Royal Clock Tower  

The Development of King Abdul Aziz Endowment (DOKAAE) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is just one of the latest high-profile international projects to solve engineering challenges using grooved piping technology. The world’s third tallest building, the 1,972 ft; (601 m) Makkah Royal Clock Tower is a part of a complex known as the Abraj Al-Bait Towers. Faced with an exceptionally large install and a very tight time frame, consultants and contractor chose grooved products from Victaulic to get the job done. Victaulic grooved mechanical piping systems were used in all areas of DOKAAE including HVAC, Fire Protection and Desalination, with pipe sizes ranging from 2” to 60” (50.8 to 1,525mm) and pressure ratings of up to 17.75 bars.

MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA - MAY 05 2018: Amazing night long exposure

Using Victaulic systems enabled prefabrication, while flame-free assembly using grooved products not only sped up installation times but kept welding to a minimum, as local ambient temperatures rose over 50 degrees centigrade.

Accommodating for building sway, creep, deflection and thermal movement