Atlantic Cities

Building Supertall, Superfast

Building Supertall, Superfast
Reuters

The Chinese construction company Broad Sustainable Building recently announced plans to start construction on the next world's tallest building later this year in Changsha, Hunan Province. The building is planned to be an 838-meter, 220-story tower of residential, office and commercial space that, if built, would replace the 828-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai as world's largest building. The company plans to begin construction in November.

The height is impressive on its own. Compounding that feat is the company's timeframe for building this behemoth: 90 days from groundbreaking to ribbon cutting. The speed is mainly due to the fact that most of the building will be pre-fabricated. As ABC News reports, 93 percent of the building's construction will be completed before ground is even broken. This slideshow from Treehugger has a nice breakdown of the pre-fabrication and construction process.

BSB is hoping to build on its previous superfast prefab projects, including a 15-story hotel built in 6 days and a 30-story building erected in just 15 days.

The scale of the work is massive. If constructed in the 90 days the company claims, the building will be springing up from the ground at an average of 9 meters and 31 centimeters per day, or more than 31 feet per day.

So how would this building rate compare to the construction of supertall buildings from the past? Here's the per-day construction height breakdown for 10 notable skyscrapers and tall structures, listed in order of fastest per-day construction.

Unnamed BSB building, Dongting Lake, Hunan Province, China


Image credit: YouTube/ differentenergy

Height: 91.44 meters/300 feet (estimated)
Groundbreaking: December 16, 2011
Completed: December 31, 2011
Duration of construction: 15 days (not including prefabrication time)
Average height built per day: 6 meters 9 centimeters per day/20 feet per day

Empire State Building, New York City, New York

Image credit: Andrew Burton / Reuters

Height: 443 meters/1,453 feet
Groundbreaking: March 17, 1930
Completed: May 1, 1931
Duration of Construction: 410 days
Average height built per day: 1 meter 8 centimeters per day/3 feet 6.5 inches per day

Willis Tower, Chicago, Illinois


Image credit: Frank Polich / Reuters

Height: 527 meters/1,729 feet
Groundbreaking: August 1970
Completed: May 1973
Duration of Construction: 1,004 days
Average height built per day: 52 centimeters per day/1 feet 8.5 inches per day

Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo, Japan


Image credit: Reuters

Height: 634 meters/2,080 feet
Groundbreaking: July 14, 2008
Official opening: May 22, 2012
Duration of Construction: 1,408 days
Average height built per day: 45 centimeters per day/1 feet 5.7 inches per day

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France


Image credit: Kevin Coombs / Reuters

Height: 320 meters/1,050 feet
Groundbreaking: January 26, 1887
Official opening: March 31, 1889
Duration of Construction: 795 days
Average height built per day: 40 centimeters per day/3 feet 4.2 inches per day

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Image credit: Mohammed Salem / Reuters

Height: 829.84 meters/2,722.57 feet
Groundbreaking: January 2004
Official opening: January 2010
Duration of Construction: 2,192 days
Average height built per day: 37 centimeters per day/1 feet 2.88 inches per day

Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan


Image credit: Pichi Chuang / Reuters

Height: 509 meters/1,670 feet
Groundbreaking: January 13, 1998
Official opening: December 31, 2004
Duration of Construction: 2,544 days
Average height built per day: 20 centimeters per day/1 feet 8 inches per day

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Image credit: Bazuki Muhammad / Reuters

Height: 452 meters/1,482 feet
Groundbreaking: March 1993
Official opening: August 31, 1999
Duration of Construction: 2,375 days
Average height built per day: 19 centimeters per day/7.49 inches per day

World Trade Center, New York, New York


Image credit: Flickr/mat's eye

Height: 417 meters, 415 meters/1,368 feet, 1,362 feet
Groundbreaking: August 5, 1966
Official opening: April 4, 1973
Duration of Construction: 2,434 days
Average height built per day: 17 centimeters per day/1 feet 5 inches per day

Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai, China


Image credit: Ho New / Reuters

Height: 492 meters/1,614 feet
Groundbreaking: August 27, 1997
Official opening: August 28, 2008
Duration of Construction: 4,018 days (includes a 5-year hiatus in construction)
Average height built per day: 12 centimeters per day/4.8 inches per day

Top image credit: Aly Song / Reuters

Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for The Atlantic Cities. He lives in Los Angeles. All posts »

Join the Discussion