World's Tallest Building
By David Ellis
Next time you’re thinking to yourself how boring it is washing the home windows, give a thought to the blokes whose job it is to wash those of the world’s tallest building, the 830-metre high Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Because these 36 hardy souls face a daunting 24,348 individual windows covering some 120,000 square metres, or roughly six-and-a-half times the size of the Sydney Cricket Ground, and it takes them close to four months to clean the lot – after which they take a short break, then start the job all over again.
And they do it in often howling winds, temperatures reaching into the top-40s under a cloudless sky, sand storms that can swirl around the lower levels… and at their highest point with the ground more than three-quarters of a kilometre below them.
These cleaners, who use nothing more than traditional squeegees and buckets of soapy water, dangle in harnesses from Australian designed and built cage machines that move horizontally and vertically on special tracks around the building, and wear “moon suits” for protection against the searing heat and winds.
And interestingly they say they never tire of the view from their lofty eyrie, in particular watching the 250 aircraft including some eighty-five A380s of the local Emirates Airlines, plus other world operators, as they fly below them into and out of the nearby Dubai Airport.
At 830 metres high, or nearly three times that of Paris’s Eiffel Tower and twice as high as New York’s Empire State Building, the Burj Khalifa was opened in January 2010 at a cost of 1.5-billion United States dollars.
- It takes the men seen in the photo close to four months to clean the 24,348 windows of the world’s tallest building, and when they finish they start all over again.
- The world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, reaches over three-quarters of a kilometre into the sky, and cost US$1.5b to complete and open in 2010.