Façade Access Equipment in the Burj Khalifa

“Recognizing the extent of equipment required for the Burj Khalifa, the designers were quite clever in integrating the BMU tracks with an architectural feature of the building.  Integration generally results in better cost performance and one could say that one of the tower’s architectural features (horizontal lines) came at no additional cost!”
Ashok Raiji, CTBUH Technical Awards Juror / Principal, Arup

Burj Khalifa posed the standard challenges of any tall building, which is how to provide façade access, but not compromise the architecture. Due to the height, area, and architecture of the Burj, it was obvious that a large quantity of Building Maintenance Units (BMUs) were required to provide the necessary maintenance. The designers of the Burj had introduced a series of horizontal architectural tubes to break up the massing of the tower. A joint effort of both the architectural design team and the façade access equipment design team resulted in an elegant solution. It was suggested these tubes could be converted into tracks for a BMU to ride on. The development of a BMU mounted on a vertical shunt track minimized the required interior space which would typically be used to store the BMUs. By utilizing an architectural feature of the building as a track, no visual impact was created.

Project Team

Innovation Design: Lee Herzog Facade Access Consulting, Inc.

Building Design: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
BMU Design: Lerch Bates
BMU Manufacturer: CoxGomyl