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Spinnaker tower also known as Portsmouth millennium tower is a

millennium commission project that was aimed to change the
international notable sight of the south coast of Britain. It is the tallest
accessible structure in the united kingdom outside London, It is 170
metres above the sea level and hence a tourist attraction. Burj Khalifa
tower is a skyscraper in Dubai, and it is the tallest man made structure
that has ever been built to include residential spaces and also has been
the world’s tallest building since 2010. The architecture is a combination
of cultural effects and sophisticated technology. The decision to embark
on this project is based on the fact that the government saw the need to
diversify from being an oil based economy to a tourist environment.


Spinnaker tower which was originally called Portsmouth Millennium tower

was constructed to reflect Portsmouth’s maritime’s history. The location of
the tower is in one of the busiest harbours in the UK, so the risk of ship
impact was firstly addressed and they provided an independent piled ship
impact structure in front of the tower’s raft. Again because of the shape of
the proposed tower, it had the risk of being affected by the wind so; series
of wind test were carried out to alleviate this.

United Arab Emirates, Dubai was previous known to be an oil economy but
the government felt there was a need to diversify so the invested in
tourism, and because so many beautiful structures were already being
built, the government felt there was a need to construct a tower that
would be on record. The concept of Burj Dubai tower’s structure
emerged from the geometrics of the desert flower in the region. Before
the commencement of the tower construction, extensive concrete quality
and testing control program were put in place to ensure all the
contractors that were involved agreed fully with it (Abdelrazaq, Kim, &
Kim, 2008), wind climate studies was carried out and the data gotten was
used for in the wind tunnel, this also helped to determine the relationship
between wind load and wind response, cladding test was carried out in
order to determine wind speed and the direction considering the fact that
the tower would be Y shaped. Pedestrian level wind study was carried out
so as to improve pedestrian’s comfort in exterior area (Irwin & Baker, June


The stakeholders of involved in a project can have positive or negative

impact on the project, this can be seen from the spinnaker tower project,
so many stakeholders were involved .The stakeholders that were involved
were Millennium commission, Portsmouth city council , Portsmouth
spinnaker ltd (PSTL), Mowlem, Tax payers, Berkeley. In 1999, Millennium
commission delayed the approval of fund and this brought about a delay
of two years, the construction contractors that were employed too had no
experience of a tower project and this caused another delay of six
months. Portsmouth spinnaker i.e. PSTL ltd , had no experience of
managing a large project as spinnaker tower and hence they mismanaged
the project and this brought about cost escalation i.e. the council had to
pay for damages and legal cost because they failed to enter into a
contract with them at the initial stage (Arthur, 2004). City council
employed the services of Mowlem contractors to be their construction
contractor. Introducing Mowlem into the project brought about delays
because of the initial jobs that had been done by previous contractor.

On the other hand, the stakeholders that were involved in burj khalifa
tower project were, Adrian Smith who worked with Skidmore, Owings and
Merrill (SOM) as the architect, the chief structural engineer was Bill Baker,
the primary contractor was Korean – based Samsung Corporation,
Belgium based Besix and arabtec who were the supervision consultant
engineer were sub-contractor, Hyder Consulting was the construction
project manager and Turner Construction Company was chosen as the
construction project manager. Otis was the lift contractor, Emaar
properties were the developer, although taxpayers were initially told that
they would not contribute towards the millennium project but when it
went over budget, they had to contribute £12 million (Payne, Oct 2005).
The stakeholders in Burj Khalifa had experience in tower projects
previously, that was even part of the reason why the project was
successful, there was no delay in way and the project was on time i.e. it
commenced in January 2004 as stated to the original plan and it was
opened in January 2010, because of the positive impact of the
stakeholders, the project was also not over budget.


The project life cycle for the two projects has been classified into the
following stages:


In the planning phase of Spinnaker tower, because the city council and
other contractors that were involved were not experienced in tower
construction, so they had preliminary sketches and drawings that were
done, again at the initial stage, they had funding approval issues with the
millennium commission, which caused delay of two years (Griffiths, Sep
2004). Three designs, ’ The Globe’, ‘Spinnaker’ and ‘Triple Tower was
proposed by HGP Greentree Allchurch Evans and the German tower
specialists Leonhardt Andra were put out for public acceptance and 60%
chose Spinnaker because they felt it reflected Portsmouth’s unique
maritime heritage .

HGP Greentree Allchurch Evans submitted a planning application to the

city council in 1998 which was supported by an environmental report that
proofs that no environmental effects were envisaged and that the tower
would not just be viewed in Portsmouth alone but other areas like
Hampshire, Sussex, etc. The proposal was finally approved on September
1999 and a revised application was submitted to the city council in
January 2000 because PSTL had started erection so changes had to be
factored in the revised version (Griffiths, Sep 2004).

Burj Khalifa was properly planned from the onset, all the contractors that
were used were experts in their field, even the architect Adrian Smith who
is very famous for the dynamic tower structure he always design, that was
why being an Islamic city, an Islamic architecture with desert flower
hymenocallis that was grown in the region concept was used as the
footprint of the building.


Piling work commenced in November 2001, and in 2002 a pre-cast raft

was built in order to build the main concrete cast. Slip- forming technique
was applied to construct the concrete A-frame of the tower. The steel
sections were fabricated by Butterly in Derby in 2004 and the first stage
was they erected a system of trestle supports at the ground level which
will aid connection of other sections when forming the lower bows. A
glass that supports it’s self with glass fins and stainless steel posts was
put in place and finally internal fit work which took place from January
2005 to September 2005 .

In Burj Khalifa, a structural system called the buttressed core that had a
hexagonal core reinforced buttresses that formed Y shape was put in
place so that the building can support itself laterally and can also twist
(Poulos, August 2010). Reinforced concrete was used and while
construction was on, although in tower construction history, to pumping
thousands of cubic metres of concrete that was needed was always very
difficult but this was properly handled by the building contractor. Special
mixes of concrete were prepared to overcome difficult pressures of the
massive weight of the tower and during this process batch of concrete
were tested in order to know if it could stand pressures.

Spinnaker tower was finally opened in October 2005, six years after the
original opening time. It attracted over 100,000 visitors in the first two
months and even the day it was finally opened, Portsmouth council boss
was trapped in the lift of the tower for over one hour( (BBC, October
2005). Burj Khalifa was completed in 2009 but was officially opened in
January 2010 with a grand celebration and so many people were eager to
see because it was the tallest structure that has ever been constructed.


Risk register for Burj Khalifa tower

Challenge Risk Solution Benefits

Numeric Significant hazards Project drawings All relevant risk
design and risks can be to be annotated information is
hazard hidden collated in one
Potential Integration of design Haskell design Safety symbols are
liability and construction build(US) will be placed where the
claims safety responsible since hazard is on the
they have drawing
cooperate liability
Graphic Missing the important Will use optimal Risks are
important risk issues while number standard pinpointed on the
data at the planning cost or when industry wide actual drawn plans
point of designing symbols
use on
How to put Seeing the hazards SHE box or key Design team and
hazard and graphically on cross referenced contractor’s
risk data on drawings with symbols on supervising and
drawings the drawing pricing team are
aware of the
significant issues
Time Too much un-helpful After prices, All operatives
wasting information can be put contracts and irrespective of
on drawings by construction nationality and
designers which are of methodologies education should
no benefit to anyone are agreed the be able to decipher
and diminish the risk design stage the relevant
reduction process drawings will be information at
augmented by point of use.
the contractor’s
Delivery of The absence of such Using links with Safety information
relevant information can lead trade about lifting ,
site safety to deaths and injuries associations, handling and fixing
information component provided by the
to site manufacturers “experts”
operatives and suppliers to
at the provide visually
workface explicit safety
suitable for
including foreign
workers and
other operatives
with reading
To avoid Inhalation of fibres will Client to instruct Reduction in
exposure to cause asbestosis or appropriate likelihood of
free mesothelioma survey analysis of asbestos exposure
asbestos building and site before , during and
fibres of and provision of after, and in future
designers accurate asbestos construction works
survey drawings
and report to
design team
Unprotecte Fall form height during Designers to Enables contractor
d slab and construction highlight typical to identify key
roof edges roof edges and safety issues that
slab edges he needs to
respond to by
methods eg. Full

Adapted from (Browntigg, Oct 2009)

Risk for spinnaker tower

Risk Recommendation Priority Responsibility



Completion A system to ensure that 2 Head of risk and
of task members of the team have the project
capacity to finish all the tasks management
should be put in place
Prince2 Prince 2 training should be 2 Head of risk and
knowledge made available to project project
managers, team members and management
other people that are part of the
project reviewing board
Detailed reports describing 2 Project
projects progress should be managers
made available to the project
review board
Systematic opportunities to 2 Head of risk and
develop and share learning project manager
about project management
techniques and experiences
should be developed
Lack of The council should appoint a 3 Corporate
expertise Head of Risk and Project director
Management and a Risk
Manager with the necessary
expertise to promote and
implement effective risk
management across the
A risk register should be 3 Head of risk and
compiled in order to identify project
actions to be taken to reduce management
the council’s exposure to risk
Identified A framework should be put in 3 Risk manager
risk place to reduce the risks that
has been identified and their
success should be monitored
Outdated Risk management strategy 2 Risk manager
risk should be reviews and updated
manageme to reflect the risk management
nt framework’s draft
Risk Programme of risk management 2 Risk manager
manageme training should be put in place
nt for the councillors , officers
knowledge handling the risk management
aspect and other staff
Mechanism Opportunities to share 2 Risk
for learning knowledge on risk management management
should be put in place internally sub- group

Adopted from (Bryant, 2005)


In the spinnaker project, the planning was not properly done, the funding
approval was delayed buy two years, professional and experienced skill
was not used, instead the council setup their own project management
team, they went further to choose an Berkeley architects who have never
designed a tower before and they did not even have a contract with them
so six months later, Berkeley withdrew from the project. The council later
choose Portsmouth spinnaker ltd (PSTL) in 1998 as their construction
contractor and PSTL had site access issues with Berkeley which caused
another delay of one year. The council again terminated their contract
with PSTL because of the six months delay that they had, and since there
was no signed contract between the two of them at the initial stage, city
council had to pay for damages and legal costs.

City council later chose Mowlem as their construction contractor and

signed a contract with them without considering cost escalation. They also
had a number of scheduling issues, for example, they could not resolve
the rights of ownership of the image they wanted to use which caused
them to have to pay £100k per year. Resources were not properly
managed which made them have quality control issues e.g. The paint
they used in painting peeled and also the concrete crumbled (Griffiths,
Sep 2004).

Burj Khalifa was properly planned at the initial stage, because of the
unique structure that was to be built, Emaar properties carried out a
research on the architecture firm that has worked on amazing tower
projects and they finally approached Adrian Smith of Chicago’s –based
architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) because of Jin Mai
tower that he designed in 1993. Hyder consulting built a structure that will
accept tolerances (Vertical or lateral) and that would not compromise the
execution of the tower project and also it’s long term performance which
also include supervising the sub-contractors like Otis that were
responsible for the elevator systems. Part of the plan Hyder consulting
came up with was that they came up with an extensive sequence analysis
that actual predicted the movement of the building as it was being built.

The contractors changed the outrigger wall panels into composite element
in order to speed up the construction process. The pinnacle and its
cladding attachment were raised three steps higher with a degree of
tolerance despite the wind conditions and the spire geometry. A creative
survey process was employed from the onset and a GPS survey
technology was used to build the tower at great heights. Analytical work
was carried out in order to study the iteration of the spire and the crane
while the construction was going on and this was because of loads that
were on the spire and also the possible effect of wind (Louise, Dec 2009).

Burj khalifa was properly planned and scheduled and also the resources
were properly managed by the contractors, architects, e.t.c., that was why
it was not over budget and it did not exceed the stated time frame unlike
spinnaker project, the project was not well planned at the initial stage and
there was even lack of expertise that was why they had delay and went
over budget and again and again the resources they had was badly


In spinnaker tower, iron triangle i.e. cost quality and time were not
properly managed, the initial cost was £28 million and the project finished
off with an overall cost of £38.2million (reference David Greenhalgh, pdf
on desktop). Also the project was supposed to commence in 1995 and to
be opened in 1999 so it can be used for the millennium celebration in
2000 but the project did not start until 2001 and it was completed in mid-
2005, which was six years later than the agreed opening date. On the
other hand, Burj Khalifa was properly managed, the initial cost of $1.5
billion was what was used for the construction of the tower (Stanglin, Jan
2010) , it was not over budget and also the project was to start in 2004
and opened in 2010, the project was properly managed by the contractors
and Emaar properties, the only delay they had was for two to three
months, and it was just to ensure that the construction work was properly


In spinnaker tower project, Portsmouth city council relied on weekly and

monthly reports to monitor the progress of the project and when
Portsmouth spinnaker ltd(PSTL) were still in charge, because of their lack
of expertise, they had issues with the chain of activities because the
tasks could not all be completed simultaneously in the project and in the
weekly reports they submitted to the council (David, April 2006), the
problems were escalated which brought about delay because their
contact was terminated by the council and as a result the project was
delayed by two years and because there was no real contract term
initially by the council and PSTL, , the council had to pay £922,075 to PSTL
for settlement and £940,000 for an in an out of court settlement (Auditor,
March 2004). Later Mott Macdonald services was employed to manage
the project management aspect in 2002, through working closely with the
other contractors and sub-contractors, they were able to save 2million
and also six months off the predicted plan, they closely controlled budget
and secured funding.

While on the other hand Burj Khalifa project was well handled by Emaar
properties, combined efforts by the contractors helped in achieving the
best and the most expensive building cladding in any project they even
took their delayed by two to three months just to ensure that all fine finish
places were in place, because they felt there was no point rushing a
project and later on, faults would be discovered.


Burj Khalifa tower and Spinnaker tower projects had no supply chain
issues and that was why Spinnaker tower won two awards for best
regeneration project and the overall project of the year and Burj Khalifa
won multiple awards and even got a world record.


Abdelrazaq, A., Kim, K. J., & Kim, J. H. (2008). Brief on the construction planning
of the burj dubai project, dubai, UAE.

Auditor. (March 2004). Report in the public intrest: Millinium tower. Portsmouth:
District auditor to portsmouth city council.

BBC. (October 2005). Council boss trapped in spinnaker.

Browntigg, S. (Oct 2009). Safe Design and Communication RIBA- CDM. 11-24.

Bryant, D. (2005). performance detailed report- Project management and risk

management. Portsmouth.

David, O. (April 2006). Understanding and solving the causes of project failure.
The CBS interactive business network .

Griffiths, A. (Sep 2004). The Millennium Tower – a Jewel or a future public

burden? 11-14.

Irwin, P. A., & Baker, W. F. (June 2006). The Burj Dubai tower- wind Engineering.
Structure Magazine .
Louise. (Dec 2009). Building the Burj Khalifa. Big Project .

Payne, S. (Oct 2005). Red faces over Portsmouth's showcase project, £12 million
over budget and six years late . the Telegraph .

Poulos, H. G. (August 2010). The piled raft foundation for the burj dubai- design
and performance. Australia.

Stanglin, D. (Jan 2010). Dubai opens world's tallest building. Ondeadline .