The opening ceremony, held 1,325 days after excavation work started, was attended by some 6,000 guests. The Burj Khalifa was revealed to be 828 meters high, (2,716 ft) far taller than the previous record holder, Taipei 101. A dramatic fireworks and lights show took place around the tower while a screen displayed its exact height, which had previously been kept secret. Known as the Burj Dubai during construction, the tower has been renamed after the leader of Dubai's oil-rich neighbour, Abu Dhabi. Last month, Abu Dhabi gave Dubai a handout of $10 billion (6.9 billion) to help it pay off its debts.
Clad in 28,000 glass panels, the tower has 160 floors, 57 elevators and more than 500,000 m² of space for offices and flats. The tower also lays claim to the highest occupied floor, the tallest service lift, and the world's highest observation deck − on the 124th floor. The world's highest mosque and swimming pool will meanwhile be located on the 158th and 76th floors. Its spire can be seen 95 km (60 miles) away.
The design incorporates ideas from traditional Islamic architecture, while the open petals of a desert flower were the inspiration for the tower's base. Burj Khalifa will be home to 1,044 luxury apartments, 49 floors of offices and eventually a 160-room Armani-branded hotel. Around 12,000 people are expected to live and work in the tower, which is part of a 500-acre development.
Construction of the Burj Dubai began in 2004, at the height of an economic boom. The building is part of the 2 km2 (490-acre) flagship development called Downtown Burj Khalifa at the First Interchange along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai's main business district. The total budget for the Burj Khalifa project was about US$1.5 billion; ( 1 billion) and for the entire new Downtown Dubai, US$20 billion (13.8 billion).
The tower's architect and engineer is Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP (Chicago). Bill Baker, the Chief Structural Engineer for the project, invented the buttressed core structural system in order to enable the tower to achieve such heights economically. Adrian Smith, who worked with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) until 2006, was the Design Partner on the project. The primary builder is South Korean Samsung C&T, who also built the Taipei 101 and Petronas Twin Towers, followed by Belgian group Besix and Arabtec from UAE. Turner Construction Company was chosen as the construction project manager.
Under UAE law, the Contractor and the Engineer of Record are jointly and severally liable for the performance of