Cleaning of Burj Dubai exterior will begin soon to prepare for the expected September soft opening of the tallest building in the world, XPRESS has learnt.

An Emaar spokesperson said on Sunday that “Burj Dubai will open this year as scheduled'' but declined to confirm if the schedule still includes September or a later date.
Cleaning an 818-plus metre tall icicle-shaped shard that seemingly reaches into the heavens is easier said than done, said Mick Atkins, Project Director of Cox Gomyl in Dubai.

The Australian design and fabrication company was subcontracted by cladding firm Arabian Aluminium to build on behalf of Emaar owners a custom cradle for window washers.

The first of 18 tailor-made Cox Gomyl buckets is now being tested on the south side of the Burj Dubai at Level 40, Atkins said.

“Normally you would drive around a track on the roof,'' Atkins said.
However, with the Burj's tri-floral petal exterior shape, he said that they have to drive “around the outside of the building''.

To wash most of the 160 floors of habitable space of the structure, a horizontal track has been installed on the exterior of Burj Dubai at three levels - 40, 73 and 109. Each track holds a 1,500 tonne bucket machine which moves horizontally and then vertically using heavy cables, he said.

“The cradle drops vertically and cleans that strip,'' Atkins said.

The very top of the spire, however, is reserved for specialist human window cleaners who brave super heights and high winds dangling by ropes to clean the top panels.

Daniel Hicks, Business Development Manager of Megarme Rope Access, is bidding for the contract to clean the spire using rope access technicians who abseil or rappel along the facade.

Despite 15 years of expert experience in Dubai hanging from some of the tallest buildings in the Gulf, Hicks said maintaining the top 111 metres of the Burj Dubai will be a first.
Unlike climbing Mount Everest, for example, where there is secure landscape nearby for a climber to maintain his bearings at a super high altitude – on top of the Burj Dubai, there's mostly air.

“There's no natural feature that you could relate this to,'' Hicks said. “This is like a chopstick jutting out of the ground compared to a mountain.''