It’s a landmark thing< Back to Blog

Ask people what the tallest building in the world is and most will be able to tell you it’s the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (that’s until the Jeddah Tower is completed anyway).

Standing at 828m tall, it would take a staggering 2,909 steps to climb to the 160th floor of the Burj Khalifa! Perhaps it’s a good job that visitors are not allowed to take the stairs and have to use an elevator which takes them to the observation deck on the 124th floor instead!

But what about the crowning titles held by other world landmarks – for instance, which one was the most expensive to build or what took the longest to build?

Just for fun, we’ve dug out the answers to these questions and a few other interesting facts:

Most expensive = The Great Pyramid of Giza

You may have thought the title of most expensive would go to one of the 21st Century skyscrapers, but when you consider the cost relative to the times in which the world’s landmarks were actually constructed, the winner is Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza.

Involving over 2 million stone blocks and an estimated 100,000 builders, by today’s calculations, constructing the Great Pyramid would cost £3.8 billion. That’s £27million per square metre!

Compare that to the One World Trade Centre which opened in 2014. Standing at 546 metres high, this much newer landmark cost £5.53million per square metre to construct.

Longest construction = The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Famous for its leaning profile, work on the Leaning Tower of Pisa began in 1173 but wasn’t completed until 199 years later!

So, how did it get its lean? Well, it seems the construction team failed to account for the marshy land where they were building, the tower began to show evidence of its lean when they had reached the second storey and by then it was too late to stop the work.

Fastest build = The Empire State Building/ The Space Needle

While the Empire State Building may have lost its claim on being the world’s tallest building some time ago, it’s hung onto the title of the ‘fastest build’.

Completed in just one year, the project involved 300 workers who took alternating 12-hour shifts. To save any time that might be wasted during lunch or other breaks, cafes, concession stands and water taps were placed on five incomplete floors across the 102-floor building!

Sharing the crown of fastest build is The Space Needle which also took only one year to construct. It’s flying saucer design (originally sketched out on a napkin) makes it instantly recognisable in the Seattle skyline and it also now features the world’s first revolving glass floor. During construction, the team worked round the clock to complete the project in time for it be showcased at the 1962 World’s Fair.

Most visited = Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal was built over 21 years by a construction team that involved 22,000 labourers and 1000 elephants!

Attracting around 8 million visitors per year, it plays a fascinating part in the story of the Mughal Empire. Constructed in memory of the Emperor Shah Jahan’s third wife, the way the monument changes in tone throughout the day is said to represent her changing moods. It tends to look pink in morning, milky white by evening and golden at night so we’ll leave it to you to decide what that means!

What about us?

So, here at Sheriff Construction, we’re proud of our contribution to the built environment but we’re not sure that we’ll ever be part of a landmark-scale build that could take the place of one of those mentioned above (although you never know). We just hope we’re not asked to help with one that takes 199 years to complete!!


Information source: Alpharooms

Image source: Freepik