90 days to the world’s tallest building

Having the world’s tallest building is a status symbol in itself but here is another aspect of this race: how quickly can the tallest building be constructed? One Chinese company says it has it done to a 90 day process:

Broad Sustainable Building Corporation will lay the foundation for their “Sky City” project this month. The company, famous for building tall buildings in ridiculously short time spans, plans to construct a 220-story skyscraper in 90 days, with construction starting in January and finishing in March. Sky City, if successful, will be 10 meters higher than the current tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

How do they plan on doing it? BSB eschews architectural beauty for simplicity. Their building are tall and block-y. They essentially make buildings out of lego blocks, but in real life. The National Post has a nice graph explaining how they plan on achieving their 90 day goal. “Traditional construction is chaotic,” BSB chairman Zhang Yue recently told Wired magazine. “We took construction and moved it into the factory.” BSB prepares the pieces offsite and then brings everything together so it slides in easily when construction begins, exactly like Lego blocks. By breaking everything down into simple blocks piled on top of one another, it allows them to build at an amazing pace — their goal for Sky City is 5 stories a day.

The quick process may be more impressive than the height of the building. Constructing a skyscraper requires a large amount of workers and resources and this company has streamlined the process. I don’t know if this exactly applies to this situation but it sounds like skyscraper by assembly line.

I wonder if there are any downsides to quick construction. Less time for quality control? More work is done off-site which has a negative impact elsewhere? Based on the description above, perhaps the architecture and design suffers the most: only certain kinds of modules, shaped like “Lego blocks,” can be put together quickly.

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