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1. Project Introduction

The Burj Khalifa tower is the highest skyscraper in the world. Its designing and build plan is among the world’s most successful projects to date. The Burj Khalifa was built to make the UAE the centre point of hospitality, finance, and commercial ventures; Burjkhalifa is a multifunctional investment that comprises a recreation club, lookout centre eatery, and sports centre, and thirty-seven office stories. The project extended for six years and comprises over 106 stories and an unprecedented height of over 2716.5 feet. The Burj Khalifa tower has broken many records globally, such as the highest tower worldwide, highest elevator globally, and highest inhabited stories in the world. This case study aims to analyze the whole project and the ingredients that led to its success in project management.

Effective project management helps an organization have an edge in the industry in today’s world. The successful outcome of projects such as the Burj Khalifa has led to the growth of Dubai into a metropolis. Dubai has numerous projects in various industries such as transportation, hospitality, real estate, retail, manufacturing, and agriculture. The Burj khalifa project has considerably transformed and advanced Dubai’s recognition, image and economy. This case study will contextualize problems encountered during the implementation and execution of the project. It will also give a detailed analysis of the framework and project management phases that led to the success of the Burj khalifa project.

2. Project management phases


A. Initiation and planning

Burj Khalifa was built after the UAE government decided to expand the economy from a petroleum-driven economy to one based on tourism and service-oriented. Before Burj Khalifa was built, the UAE depended on petroleum as its primary source of revenue. Burj Khalifa was designed and built to attract foreign and local investments and draw attention from the international community. The project’s detailed planning is a factor that led to its success. The architects knew the purpose, mission, objectives, vision, risks, requirements, budget and schedules.

B. Execution 

Dubai’s extreme summer temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius and the impact of wind loads at a greater height were factors to consider during the execution of the project. The structure of the building was designed to resist the effect of gravity and wind load, construction .safety measures such as numerous cameras were installed to detect the number of people in the building and unsafe conditions. Bart Omens (2017) stated that the Burj khalifa tower comprises 160 floors, and the project was set to be completed after 47 months. However, new technology was adopted during the construction known as the “3-day cycle” that increased the entire building to one floor every three days (Abdelrazaq, 2010).

Project management areas of knowledge

A. Stakeholders 

            Stakeholders are described as persons who are concerned and interested in a business venture, according to (IGI Global, 2018). Communications were effectively made between the stakeholders, which enabled them to win and maintain their support throughout the project. The most concerned stakeholders in the project were; the government, architects, consultants, contractors, suppliers, financial institutions, and others.

B. Scope Management 

 Burj Khalifa’s project scope was to construct the highest tower globally. The Burj Khalifa tower was built after the UAE government shifted to a commercial, finance, and tourism-centred economy. The government made Dubai a commercial centre attracting many business ventures worldwide through this building. In addition to that, it has attracted numerous foreign investments and has attracted a lot of international recognition. 

C. Time Management 

A practical project has a defined start and finish date. Initially, the project’s life span was to take 47 months. However, the United Arab Emirates faced a financial crisis in 2008 that led to a 9-months delay. This led to the project spanning years from January 20004 to October 2009 (Brach & Loewe, 2010). Other than the financial crisis, the change in the design of the building led to the delay and affected the overall cost of the project. This is a clear indication of a poorly managed project since there were a lot of unanticipated construction and financial challenges. 

D. Cost Management 

The project’s initial budget was $876 million However. The project’s overall cost at its completion was $1.5 billion. Many reasons led to this First, the change in the design of the building led to unexpected costs being incurred. The building’s new design was 100 meters higher than the initial (Strobili, 2008). Secondly, inflation was also a contributing factor. The financial crisis led to the inflation of raw materials. In return, the increases in the price of raw materials led to an increase in the total cost of construction of the tower. In addition to that, the switch of the initial interior make-up of Burj Khalifa led to an increase in the overall cost. Deluxe fittings and furnishings were incorporated into the building to ensure a magnificent interior. The project management team behind the Burj Khalifa tower endured excessive of its initially set cost of operation. For that reason, this project plan was not well carried out. 

E.  Quality Management 

Quality management is an indication of a properly managed project. The Burj Khalifa project’s quality management practices involved the effective utilization of resources and effective logistics, training of employees, selection of potential contractors and suppliers and selection of the construction method (University of Lincoln, 2017). During the summer, Dubai faces extreme temperatures of up to 50 degrees caucus; therefore, the external cladding system withstands these extreme temperatures.  The architectural glass design makes thermal and solar performance provisions and an anti-reflective defence for protection against the strong heat radiating from the sun, intense desert temperatures, and wind storms. 

Another essential feature of the quality management plan was the design of the Burj Khalifa tower. It was built in the shape of a flower, representing a sense of national prosperity and characteristic hence the reason why it was built in the shape of a flower in the desert. In addition to that, the tower is built in a  Y-shaped plan to enhance security and provide safety in the case of solid winds. It has provided advancement in the architectonic design world (Baker, Korista&Novakm, 2007) because the Burj Khalifa is unique and revolutionary on its own.

F. HR Management 

Human resource management involves managing, organizing, and leading a project team. The required expertise, managers, professionals, consultants, engineers, and employees were diligently selected to ensure maximum efficiency throughout the project. The human resources comprised 12,000 specialists and professional workers from all parts of the world (dubaifaqs, 2010). The architects that designed the building of Burj Khalifa comprised not less than 60 persons, inclusive of administration personnel, engineers, and architects. The collaborative efforts of all the project management teams with various stakeholders led to its goal to become the longest tower in the world. 

G. Communications Management 

Communications Management identifies how vital information will be communicated to the stakeholders throughout the project. With all the human resources and stakeholders in the project (dubaifaqs, 2010), on time and time-to-time reporting was an essential element required to necessitate smooth continuation and proper control of expectations and the financial plan. At the initial stages of the projects, communication was carried out using walkie-talkies throughout the construction site. However, the walkie-talkies became less dependable, leading to delays and reduced safety concerns. This led the project team to analyze practical solutions to better communication capabilities Samsung Corp (Fireside, 2016); Samsung invented a mobile-connected network that made clear and instant voice and video communications and monitoring. This resolved the communication problem enhancing safety and avoiding delays.

       H.  Risk Management 

Risk management involves identifying, evaluating, and preventing risks to a project with potential impacts. The significant risks incurred in designing and building the tower included the following; gravity due to the wind load, high-speed elevators was also a risk factor. Evacuation Of the tower led them to create an excellent evacuation structure (Al Shame, 2014), having safety rooms that are heat and fire-retardant for two hours. In addition to that, the refuge rooms are also equipped with air pumps to ensure the breathing of good air. The building is also at risk of collapse since it has more than five hundred meters long. Constructing the tower in a triangular shape helped mitigate this risk.

I.  Procurement Management 

One factor that led to the project’s success in collaboration with the suppliers’ early supplier involvement involves suppliers at the product development stage of a good or service. Early supplier involvement enabled the suppliers to implement the best innovative concrete designs and a (Future of Construction, 2017). The collaborative efforts, direct involvement with the utility companies, the UAE government’s officials and the main stakeholders helped convert the dream into a reality.

J. Monitoring and evaluation

Safety and quality management were carefully maintained and monitored during this phase Practices such as; Investigation of accidents, effective control of Information Systems, and executing Risk Management practices; however, several features of the Burj Khalifa venture were not well managed. Firstly, the construction of the building surpassed the planned time limit, which was 47 months from January 2004December 2008. The project suffered a 9-months delay after the UAE faced an economic crisis in 2008. Secondly, poor labour conditions were a significant challenge faced by construction workers as they were given little pay, contrary to the project budget. A review made by the Human Rights Watch Study (2006) stated that a few labourers earned a minimum wage of $10 a day. A lot of workers also lost their lives during the construction. Thirdly, the construction of the building outstripped its set financial plan of $876 million. The concluding overall project cost was $1.5 trillion, resulting from the change in design and inflation.

K. Closing 

closing is the final stage of the Burj Khalifa project management plan. Once all the deliverables are met and formally handed over, a project is closed. All documentation is signed off and approved by the necessary stakeholders. The antagonistic challenges faced by the Burj khalifa project should not be regarded as a loss as the project is a success with the most incredible realization of t being ascertained on the grounds of the advantages and investment it has brought the United Arab Emirates. The inauguration of Burj khalifa took place on January 4, 2010. The celebration was characterized by a display of 10,000 fireworks, which additionally led to it being recognized as the world’s highest fireworks. A beam of light extended on every side of the tower, and further water, music, and glares of light (Flashy Dubai, 2011. A significant number of guests attended and witnessed the opening of the tower.


Three key ingredients that led to the success of this project were; collaboration with contemporary suppliers, a highly skilled team that allowed for efficient transfer of information and resources, and early supplier involvement, which was also an essential factor, Future of Construction (2017). The Burj Khalifa tower has considerably favoured the growth of the economy in Dubai. This has garnered attention to Dubai, making it one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Despite all the challenges faced during the execution of this project, the Burj Khalifa project management team combined efforts and was able to complete the project. The collaborative efforts between the designers, architects, engineering officers, and labourers, under the direction of a proficient Project leader, brought about the successful and exemplary culmination of the Burj Khalifa project that has garnered a lot of attention and broken many records to date.












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