Facade access solutions reach new heights for mega-tall skyscrapers

Shanghai World Financial Center, China
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‘Mega-tall’ skycrapers are a group of ever more innovative and complex construction projects with heights beyond what has previously been possible.

With ground space becoming more limited and city populations growing, very tall buildings are becoming a more common sight as an elegant solution to compact living. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) there are now more than 100 skyscrapers that meet the criteria for a ‘super-tall’ building, being over 300m in height.

The trend towards taller buildings is clear, and the cutting edge of design, engineering and construction innovation is to be found in the development of ‘mega-tall’ buildings, classified as buildings over 600m in height.

These innovative and boundary-pushing buildings also need facade access solutions that match the vision and ambition of the architects and developers.

CoxGomyl has extensive experience of providing access solutions for super-tall and mega-tall buildings, taking a holistic approach which considers the design of the roof, the cleaning cycle, the building footprint, BMU placement options, glass replacement strategies and emergency retrieval plans.

The right solution might involve large capacity hoists over 500m or may be best serviced by a multi-zone approach with combinations of machines. Each project is unique, particularly in the case of mega-tall buildings, and CoxGomyl are committed to providing bespoke solutions which meet the needs of these impressive structures.


Shanghai World Financial Center, China

At the time of completion in 2008, this was the tallest building in China at 492m with the highest observation deck in the world at 474m.

The bespoke access solutions required for the maintenance of this building and its unique design features is 20 separate BMU systems which work together to provide access to the entire building, whilst having the ability to retract into the building and out of sight for parking.

The various parts of the full solution were tailored to the building design and included fixed length jibs and multistage knuckle jibs, which were capable of launching the cradle through narrow openings and reaching around corners to position the cradle in hard to reach locations on the building’s facade.

The key feature of the glass-clad observation bridge at level 97 is accessed using a custom gantry to facilitate regular and convenient access to this important viewing area.

Shanghai World Financial Center, China


The Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Considered by CTBUH to be the first mega-tall skyscraper when completed in 2010, and still the tallest building in the world at 828m, CoxGomyl were the provider entrusted with developing and implementing facade access solutions for this ground breaking feat of design and engineering.

The unique tri-petal footprint and lack of roof or terrace space meant a conventional Building Maintenance Solution was not viable. CoxGomyl rose to the challenge and developed 18 bespoke machines to achieve full facade access.

The solution consists of three wall-mounted machines located at levels 40, 73 and 109 (nine in total). Longer telescopic boom machines located at tier 19, 20 and 21 to access the mid-levels of the building between 109 and tier 21. The tower space above tier 21 is maintained by a series of six smaller machines located from tier 22 through to tier 27.

The Burj Khalifa, Dubai

CoxGomyl’s extensive experience of working with some of the most celebrated super-tall and mega-tall buildings is testament to our expertise and commitment to providing the optimum access solutions for any project, including the most innovative and challenging buildings in the world.

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