World Records

At over 800 metres (2625 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records:

•  Tallest building in the world

•  Tallest free-standing structure in the world

•  Highest number of stories in the world

•  Highest occupied floor in the world

•  Highest outdoor observation deck in the world

•  Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world

•  Tallest service elevator in the world

Tallest of the Supertall

Not only is Burj Khalifa the world’s tallest building, it has also broken two other impressive records: tallest structure, previously held by the KVLY-TV mast in Blanchard, North Dakota, and tallest free-standing structure, previously held by Toronto’s CN Tower. The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has established 3 criteria to determine what makes a tall building tall. Burj Khalifa wins by far in all three categories.

Height to architectural top

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building. This includes spires, but does not include antennae, signage, flagpoles or other functional-technical equipment. This measurement is the most widely used and is used to define the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat rankings of the Tallest Buildings in the World.

Highest occupied floor

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest continually occupied floor within the building. Maintenance areas are not included.

Height to tip

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest point of the building, irrespective of material or function of the highest element. This includes antennae, flagpoles, signage and other functional-technical equipment.

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony of Burj Khalifa was held on 4 January 2010. The ceremony featured a display of 10,000 fireworks, light beams projected on and around the tower, and further sound, light and water effects. Using the 868 powerful stroboscope lights that are integrated into the facade and spire of the tower, different lighting sequences were choreographed, together with more than 50 different combinations of the other effects.

The event began with a short film which depicted the story of Dubai and the evolution of Burj Khalifa. The displays of sound, light, water and fireworks followed. The portion of the show consisting of the various pyrotechnic, lighting, water and sound effects was divided into three. The first part was primarily a light and sound show, which took as its theme the link between desert flowers and the new tower, and was co-ordinated with the Dubai Fountain and pyrotechnics.

The second portion, called ‘Heart Beat’, represented the construction of the tower in a dynamic light show with the help of 300 projectors which generated a shadow-like image of the tower. In the third act, sky tracers and space cannons enveloped the tower in a halo of white light, which expanded as the lighting rig on the spire activated.

The ceremony was relayed live on a giant screen on Burj Park Island, as well as several television screens placed across the Downtown Burj Khalifa development. Hundreds of media outlets from around the world reported live from the scene. In addition to the media presence, 6,000 guests were expected.