How Long Did it Take to Build Burj Khalifa

Soaring a stomach-churning 828 metres (2, 716-feet) high, the Burj Khalifa isn’t just the world’s tallest building, it’s also 60% taller than the world’s second-tallest building. That’s quite the leap. It comprises 160 floors and boasts the tallest observation deck in the world too. How long did it take to build Burj Khalifa? We’ve pulled together a speedy fact file to answer all of your questions.

How long did it take to build Burj Khalifa?

how long did it take to build Burj Khalifa

When was Burj Khalifa built? 

Excavation work started in January 2004. Just three and a half years later (1,325 days) it became the world’s tallest free-standing structure.

The tower formally opened on January 4, 2010, to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the Accession Day of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum as the Ruler of Dubai.

Overall, construction took around 22 million man-hours.

Where is Burj Khalifa?

Burj Khalifa boasts one of the most prestigious addresses in Downtown Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Why is it called Burj Khalifa?

Originally, the building was supposed to be called Burj Dubai, but authorities renamed it to honour the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Abu Dhabi and the UAE government lent Dubai money to pay its debts after the financial crisis.

how long did it take to build Burj Khalifa
(Photo: Editorial credit: Rasto SK /

Who built it? 

Adrian Smith, working for Skidmore, Owings and Merill, designed the Burj Khalifa. That’s the same company that designed the Willis Tower and the One World Trade Centre.

At the peak of construction, at least 12,000 worked on the building every day.

What is Burj Khalifa?

It’s a skyscraper, yes, but it’s also known as a ‘Vertical City’. It boasts 1.85 million ft2 of residential space, 300,000 ft2 of office space and the Armani Hotel Dubai and Armani Residences.

Inside there are four swimming pools, excluding the hotel pool, health and wellness facilities, a public observation deck and At.mosphere, the world’s highest fine-dining restaurant.

There are over 1,000 pieces of art by prestigious Middle Eastern artists dotted around the building too.

Tells us more about that luxury hotel

The Armani Hotel Dubai is the world’s first-ever Armani hotel. Opened in 2010, every aspect of the hotel – form the room designs to the textiles – bears the signature of Giorgio Armani. Guests can choose from 160 rooms and suites. There’s also a range of restaurants, a spa and an infinity pool.

What about the residences?

Giorgio Armani designed the whole of Armani Residences, located on levels 9 to 16. Lucky residence get 24/7 room service, housekeeping and access to a library, spa, gym, swimming pool and concierge.

What is Burj Khalifa made of? 

Firstly, a lot of concrete. To build the concrete and steel foundation alone, which plunged 50 metres (164 feet) underground, engineers used over 45,000 m3 of concrete weighing more than 110,000 tonnes. For the whole construction, it required a record-breaking 33,000 m3 of concrete and 39,000 tonnes of steel rubar, as well as 103,000m2 of glass and 15,500 m2 of embossed stainless steel.

Some of the structural steel came from the Palace of the Republic, the former East German parliament in East Berlin too! How did they build Burj Khalifa?

How much did it cost to build it?

Despite being the world’s tallest building, it’s not actually the most expensive. Construction totalled around USD 1.5 billion. The world’s most expensive building – the Yongsan Landmark Tower built by the Samsung Corporation in xx – cost over twice as much, racking up to USD 3.45 billion.

Editorial credit: Ilona Ignatova /

Are we sure it’s the tallest building in the world?

The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats have established three criteria to ensure the title doesn’t go to the wrong person.

  • Height to the architectural top – the council measures the height from the level of the lowest open-air pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building. So that includes spires, but it doesn’t include signage or antennae.
  • Highest occupied floor – the council measures from the level of the lowest open-air pedestrian entrance to the highest continually occupied floor of the building.
  • Height to the tip – the council measures from the level of the lowest open-air pedestrian entrance to the highest point of the building.

The Burj Khalifa smashes all three of these measurements.

What’s so interesting about the design?

The architecture features a triple-lobed footprint to mimic the Hymenocallis flower. The tower features three elements positioned around the central core. This emerges into a sculpted spire.

Any other world records?

As well as being the tallest building in the world, it also wins the:

  • Tallest free-standing structure in the world
  • The highest number of stories in the world
  • Highest occupied floor in the world
  • Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
  • Tallest service elevator in the world
  • The highest observation deck in the world.

So yeah, it doesn’t look like anyone will be taking the Burj Khalifa’s crown anytime soon…

(Photo: Editorial credit: FrimuFilms /

Anything else to add?

The Burj Khalifa elevator moves at 10 metres per second. It’s one of the fastest in the world and only takes one minute to race up to the 124th story.

In 2011, Dubai also hosted the world’s highest firework display at, you guessed it, the Burj Khalifa.

Allie D'Almo

Allie is a passionate traveller with a hearty interest in great food and stories. She likes to travel slowly, particularly to underrated and underloved places. She’s lived in Italy and is now based in London, where she spends most of her time either plotting her next trip or writing about her last one.

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