Workers Savour Moment of Glory


By Lily B. Libo-on

DUBAI — Nothing can be more rewarding to people involved in the construction of the tallest building in the world than to see Burj Khalifa rising magnificently with hordes of crowds all around witnessing its official launch on Monday.


Two engineers of Ascon, the company contracted to embellish the washroom of the office of Emaar Properties Chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar, told Khaleej Times that they look at Burj Khalifa as a piece of masterwork and they are too happy to be a part in building the minutest details of the chairman’s washroom on Level 154.

Federico de Villa, a Filipino quality control engineer, said his company is one of the contractors handling the external landscaping and expertise. “The washroom is a beauty in itself, it being inlaid with marble and granite in a very intricate design. It is definitely one of a kind. The ambience is not conventional as it is a landscaping combination of hand landscape using natural stones.”

His co-worker, Mani Kandasamy, site engineer, talks about the beautiful design done by a Chicago-based company, which demonstrates sophistication that is not affected by the global economic downturn. “Even the chairman’s washroom exhibits this as it is embellished with sophisticated aluminum claddings.”

Inside out, Burj Khalifa is an impressive structure to all who have been a part of it in the construction stage and those who will become a part of it from after its opening.

Sara Ragusa, an Emaar employee, who will be working for the Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa, told Khaleej Times that she is too excited to be counted among those who will be working in the tallest building.

To her, Burj Khalifa is a big achievement for Dubai and for Emaar, much more to His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. “Visitors coming to witness the official opening of Burj Khalifa and The Address and The Palace hotels are fully booked,” Ragusa said.

“The opening of the Burj Khalifa, is a matter of pride not just for all citizens of Dubai, but for all residents of UAE,” said Venu Rajamony, Consul General of India. “I think we from different countries who come and live in Dubai  have watched with astonishments the way Dubai has grown and the opening of Burj Khalifa is a landmark. The fact that it’s opening at a time of economic problems shows the determination and the commitment of the leadership to ensure that Dubai continues to grow. I’m confident that this will be seen as a major sign of instilling confidence in the emirates and its economic future,” he said.

Among those taking the opportunity to see the opening were French Veronique’s family and Ganesh Ramamoorthy’s family. They brought their families to the lake fountain and took pictures around Burj Khalifa.

Hordes of sightseers, visitors and expatriates trooped to Dubai Metro exiting through the Burj Dubai Metro Station, which also opened simultaneously with the Burj Khalifa.

By 8pm, the metro was packed with not a spare step on escalators and people pressed against each other on concourses.

“I had to wait for a few minutes as the concourse was packed,” said Aissa Reyes, a regular traveller on the metro.

“I have a silver card so I could travel but those without tickets are still waiting in queue to buy them. About 200 people are waiting for tickets.”

“I had been waiting for more than 45 minutes to buy a ticket with my family,” said Rania Hamad, a tourist. “And the queue was very long. We were told that because of the Burj inauguration, traffic is blocked and that’s why there are so many people on the metro.”

Hundreds lined Shaikh Zayed Road near the downtown area, all eager to catch a glimpse of the city’s biggest event.