High-rise buildings are the architectural marvel of the 21st century. The breathtaking iconic views from the top floor are heavenly. Ever wondered how these high-rise buildings are constructed? What goes on behind the scenes which ultimately erect these modern-day ziggurats? If you are keen to learn about high-rise construction projects or planning to build one in the future, you have landed at the right place. We are presenting you the stage-by-stage breakdown of the high-rise building construction process, which is alternatively known as skyscrapers.
Why Are High-Rise Buildings Popular?
High-rise buildings are the hallmark of modern urban development. It is essential to the sustainable development of metropolitan areas of the future. In the past few years, there has been a vast influx of real-estate investors to construct high-rise buildings. UAE is a prime example of this trend. After Burj-Khalifa, several high-rise buildings are following the same benchmark of a high-rise. In Pakistan, in a bid to promote sustainable urban development, Prime Minister Imran Khan is in favor of developing “vertical cities”, where high-rise buildings remain at the heart of them.
High-rise buildings are mega construction projects which are putting modern-day civil engineering to test. Pushing the boundaries of architectural and infrastructural innovations, high-rise buildings are usually the epitome of state-of-the-art construction.
Stages of High Rise Construction
Soil Testing of Site
The foremost stage of skyscraper construction is getting a solid foundation laid. To build a solid foundation, soil testing is a prerequisite. The geotechnical investigation helps to evaluate the properties of ground soil and its condition on the construction site. The condition and properties of the soil are assessed to ascertain the bearing capacity of the structure. This ensures the stability and strength of the building structure.
Once the soil testing phase is completed, the next stage is the development and creation of architectural design and concepts. These structural aspects are highly crucial as they play a significant role in the development of grand-mix used complexes. A structurally feasible and up-to-date code architecture is essential. At this stage, a team of architects and design engineers works in collaboration with each other.
Blueprints Approval and Construction Plan Permit
This stage is one of the most important stages of high-rise construction because nothing can move forward without the necessary approval. The concerned authorities are presented with the proposed design and construction plan of the high-rise building for approval. Once the proposed construction plan gets approved, the project then moves forward to the execution phase. However, it is important to note that approvals are a recurring process that might be required at different stages of construction. This may vary for each high-rise project depending upon the architectural elements of the project.
Site Clearing and Excavation
After the necessary approvals, site clearing follows. All the unnecessary rubble and debris are removed from the site. This includes both man-made and naturally occurring debris so that there is no hindrance on the construction site. Both the process of site clearance and excavation is carried out simultaneously. A deep foundation is laid and its boundaries are supported through the installation of piles. These piles are temporary vertical structures that can reach as deep as 100 feet depth below the ground level. Once the excavation is completed, vertical piles are replaced by retaining walls. The retaining walls are made up of steel and concrete. Both these materials can bear high loads of construction and structural foundation.
Building a Strong Foundation
After successful completion of site clearance and excavation, the foundation is poured. When it comes to megaprojects like sky-scrapers, their strength is gauged by the size and stability of the land. Skyscrapers are built on a steady bedrock foundation because the weight of an under-construction structure increases non-linearly with height. Building a solid foundation is one of the most challenging stages of high-rise construction. Building a solid foundation to ground-level is highly important.
Construction of Grey Structure
Once the foundation of the skyscraper is poured, the construction of the frame begins. The grey structure is constructed with several construction elements such as columns, slabs, and beams which are made up of different construction materials such as reinforced cement concrete and steel. In absence of any hindrances, the entire framing process takes a lesser amount of time. It is also very easy to replicate for the subsequent floors of the building. After the basic framework of the building is laid, other structural aspects can then be tended.
The finishing stage includes the installation of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) equipment. It also includes the completion of the interior and installation of the fixtures. After the successful completion of the grey structure, essential components of MEP such as firing systems, distribution systems, HVAC plants, electric connections, sanitary pipes, and electric substations are installed.
Once the plumbing and electrical components are installed, the finishing of the last floor of the high-rise (which is the roof) begins. At this point, air-conditioning systems are installed, walls and ceilings are insulated if required.
After the installation of the MEP system, the interior finishing begins. Architectural elements and fixtures are installed which includes a long list of components. Some of these are windows, closets, doors, lighting fixtures, elevators, and lifts. This stage marks the end of construction and the beginning of the distinguished charm of a sky-scaper.
Last but not the least, the interior design elements of the skyscrapers are much more extensive and are only briefly discussed. These elements are highly dependent on the architectural style and specific theme that the designers and architects are trying to pull off.
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