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World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

Posted March 20, 2013 7:54 AM by larhere

We have been following this ambitious undertaking of building the world's tallest building, the 220 floor "Sky City", in an incredibly short three month period. This is largely due to the new technologies developed by the Broad Sustainable Building Group of China based on fabrication of the building frame and most building systems in factories which are shipped to the site for assembly. With some 20 buildings already "built" using this technology success has been seen and the learning process has continued.

In our last blog post on this subject, GEA's President & CEO expressed some concern about the pace, "Although I admire the success to date and the exuberance of this plan I believe smaller steps would be more appropriate".

Well, bureaucracy and the emergence of another less ambitious project may help bring order to the progression of the multiple technologies being created and advanced by Broad and its partners.

The 220 story world's tallest building was scheduled to start in December and be completed in March. However delays in getting approvals ("authorities have withheld permits for Sky City because of concerns over safety, congestion and environmental impact") have caused rescheduling. But Broad is not just "sitting on their hands". In late January they announced an agreement to build 100 story skyscraper in Tinchuan using the same mass production methods planned for Sky City.

We see this as good news as the increases in building size and complexity had progressed nicely through the last building which was a thirty story office building "built" in fifteen days. The leap from 30 to 220 stories encompasses many new issues including the social issues surrounding the creating of a city in a building. Although there are certainly some disappointments we view this opportunity to take a smaller step a positive for the buildings and HVAC industries.

(Read from WIRED Magazine the fascinating article about Broad Sustainable Buildings, its founder and Chairman,Zhang Yue and the full story Meet the Man Who Built a 30-Story Building in 15 Days.)

Editors Note: CR4 would like to thank Lea Zhang of GEA Consulting, for contributing this blog entry, which originally appeared here.

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#1

Re: World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

03/20/2013 12:03 PM

China has been responsible for many "firsts" over the centuries, like gun powder, the compass, etc, etc. All of a sudden, they quit and the rest of the world took over the march of progress. Maybe now the Chinese have decided to get back into the race and pick up where they left off.

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#2
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Re: World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

03/21/2013 10:49 AM
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#9
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Re: World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

06/02/2014 12:25 PM

That may or may not be true, They certainly have proven that over the years that they steal anything of value to reproduce. They have been accredited for a few things that you mentioned, but anything thats made a real difference did not come from china, anything that's had world impact has come from USA and no place else. The only reason these people have money is because of the USA and no place else. Because in our manufacturing arena, we have over paid idiots in the unions that deserve to be paid $8.00 an hour, NOT $45.00 and because of the idiot democrat unions the manufacturers have gone else where to have their items made. By going to China they honor no patents or agreements, their greedy and the best of all: they have absolutely NO QUALITY control, when anyone thinks of China, the first thing they think of is; they build allot of trash and looks like junk, poorly made items that should last for years but last only months and their saturating the market with this crap. But you feel free to step into that building and go all the way to the top, enjoy! better yet!go over to China and live there for awhile and see the real truth for yourself, but don't give these parasites credit for anything.

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#3

Re: World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

03/21/2013 11:25 AM

I was impressed when my house was famed in less than a week. Then there was plumbing, electrical, inspections, drywall, paint, doors and trim.

This is not meant to be a negative comment. Just a question. I am curious about the added cost of prefab modular sections. Sure you can be more efficient in a factory setting building jigs and fixtures to crank out hundreds of modules. But how about the over building required to get the module to the job site without warping/twisting during shipping? With steel prices being as high as they are and wages not all that great I am just curious that's all.

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#4
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Re: World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

03/21/2013 12:13 PM

Re: Costs

You ask a good question. The article in WIRED magazine (link above) gives a good discussion and more detail. They do make the statement that the recent 30 story building cost $1000/m2 vs typical cost of $1400/m2 in China. At this early stage with a new technology costs are going to be difficult to pinpoint. What we find most interesting is the positive characteristics including lower energy consumption, less environmental impact, less waste, more earthquake resistant, etc....all from a design that is lower in cost and has a much shorter build cycle. An impressive accomplishment even if only most of it comes true.

Larry Butz/Lea Zhang

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#5

Re: World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

03/21/2013 3:27 PM

A popular saying goes: "to be successful, you have to take chances". This is proven true by the great industrialists of the past, like Rockerfeller, Carnegi, Gates, Jobs, etc. The Chinese like most form the Asian countries have that same interpreneurial spirit. The classic story of Chinese immigrants who come to this country, opening a restaurant, despite language difficulties, go on to become successful in a very short time. A lot of people resent them for their success. It's this type of thinking that gets things done. While the average American works 9-5, goes home, has dinner, watches TV and goes to bed only to repeat the same thing day after day, and during that time, an immigrant is busting his hump to achieve his dream. What all this means is; we are not willing to take chances and as a result will never succeed beyond a certain level of accomplishment. I know because I'm one of those who doesn't take chances.

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Re: World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

11/13/2013 7:32 AM

"Take chances, indeed!" nothing would ever surpasss the current status if chances weren't taken. That being said, I don't want to be the one being "chanced upon". The 30 story "pre-fab" building that was built is possibly a marvel in and of itself. But 220 stories? As the blog implies, that is a city within a building. What's the rush? A 220 story building in 9 to 12 months is not sufficient? The consequences of the failure of a 220 story build housing probably 40,000 or more people is staggering. I like progress, but not with that kind of risk. I, too, am of the old school where I worked my butt off to make my business successful. I've found that you CAN become successful working half days. It doesn't metter if it's the first 12 hours or the second. Eight-hour days will make you a living, but your continued expansion of your goals will cost you more hours. It's the "cost" that makes the difference. My father was more of a success the I and he worked an eight-to-four job all his life. The point is, 220 stories in a short time needs to be examined more closely and the risks weighed very intently. The consequences are enormous.

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#6

Re: World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

03/22/2013 4:50 PM

There is a quote that says, "the person who says it can't be done should never stand in the way of the person doing it."

Like Ronseto said, new technologies, trends, products, thinking, etc. start with someone who probably doesn't think like everyone else. They therefore have the oppurtunity to make great things happen. Guys like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Billy Durant, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Sam Walton, Walt Disney, etc. all did what "couldn't be done" because they didn't listen to the naysayers, overcame much established thinking and because of that independent drive accomplished some great things.

Many times people don't like something new because "they didn't think of it first", "that's not the way we've ever done it before", "that will never work" mentality. Doing things different is what has brought great advances to mankind.

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

07/22/2014 9:03 AM

Your statement makes no sence. It was never said "It can't be done" to any of those amazing men, if anything! It was said "It's only a matter of time before they do it. Keep in mind the men you coined, two of which were of our four fathers who started this country, so please if you want to address engineering do so, but these men were/are Pathfinders of the world. Period!

PS: I understand what you were trying to say as an undertone, but not with these amazing men.

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#7

Re: World's Tallest Building (A Prefab) - Update From China

08/08/2013 11:44 AM

The fact of the matter is that we in America have lost our edge and bemoan anybody else that exposes this fact, or has that edge which we have lost. We need to quit making apologies to the rest of the world for our greatness and start kicking some engineering butt!!!!!!!!!!!

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