Engineers know that high-rise projects pose design challenges including building sway, creep, and thermal expansion/contraction of piping systems.
With the Burj Khalifa exceeding the height of any existing structure, those concerns became even more critical and high-profile.
According to William Baker, partner and senior structural engineer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in Chicago, wind behavior of the structure was a top structural design consideration for the engineers designing the Burj Khalifa.
Regional estimates for wind load placed the expected sway at the top of the structure at up to 6 ft overall.
The question of accommodating sway in the chilled water, domestic water, and fire protection piping systems was not just about how much the structure would move, but also about how quickly it would move given acceleration of the movement.