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Worlds tallest building true height still a mystery on eve of opening

The $4.1 billion Burj Dubai claims to be the tallest man made structure ever built and is due to be inaugurated on January 4 but officials from Emaar Properties will only confirm that it is more than 800 metres tall.

'It is still a secret. Emaar will only let us say its more than 800 metres. It’s part of the mystique of the projects,’ said a spokesman for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the tower’s structural engineers who are based in Chicago and also worked on the 442 meter Willis Tower in the city.

Construction on the reinforced concrete tower began on September 21, 2004, development Downtown Burj Dubai along Shaikh Zayed Road, near Dubai's main business district.

Skidmore developed the buttressed core structural system that resembles a gigantic Y to support the super tall structure.

The 35 year old Willis Tower was once the world's tallest building but will become only the fifth tallest when Burj Dubai opens.

The current record holder is the Taipei 101 that is 508 metres tall with 101 floors above ground and five below.

Jan Klerks of the Council on Tall Buildings, said it has asked to know the new tower's exact height.

‘We have expressed this a number of times, but if there are reasons not to disclose it, then I guess we have to do without an official number. We also do not know why they chose not to disclose the number.

The only thing we are sure of is that it is the tallest building in the world, and that it is at least 800 metres,’ Klerks said.
Over 1,000 apartments are already sold including corporate apartments  near the summit around the 164th floor.

A luxury Armani hotel will occupy the bottom floors.

From the 124th floor observation deck of the tower viewers can see 80 kilometres on a clear day.

It takes about two minutes to get to the summit on some of the fastest elevators in the world, which travel at up to 40 kilometres per hour.

The tower's exterior is glass and steel that would cover 17 soccer fields  and will take six to eight weeks to clean.

The cooling system produces enough condensation to fill 20 Olympic swimming pools a year, which will be used to water the grounds.