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China Holds the Title for Fastest Skyscraper Built

How fast can a skyscraper be built? The Chinese engineering firm Broad Sustainable Building is a prefab construction firm that is claiming that their 57-story skyscraper built in only 19 days now holds the record for fastest skyscraper ever built. That's an average of three floors built per day. The building, dubbed Mini Sky City, is located in Hunan's provincial capital of Changsha and has 19 atriums, 800 apartments and office space for 4,000 people. Xiao Changgeng, Broad Sustainable Building's CEO, says the building can survive earthquakes and meets all safety requirements. As of yet, no one has disputed Broad Sustainable Building's claim.

The company used a modular construction method to hit their impressive build speeds. Most of the building was prefabricated in sections before being brought to the building site, the sections then put into place and assembled on site. This is opposed to the more traditional method of building buildings one base component at a time, brick by brick and girder by girder. This modular method of construction has obvious advantages to speed of deployment over traditional construction, however some critics say that a broad adoption would create excessively uniform skylines. The main drawback is that modular construction doesn't allow for clients to personalize the design, a failing that Broad Sustainable Building recognizes. For generic buildings like low cost housing and office complexes, however, cost savings and build speed may win the argument. This method has also been used with success in the US and UK.

Another attractive feature of modular construction is the safety of the construction workers as they built Mini Sky City. Since the pieces were built off site and in a factory setting over the course of the previous 2 years, builders were not required to spend long stretches of time exposed to weather at heights. This alone might be enough to see modular building become more and more popular as construction companies strive to meeting rising building demands.

Mini Sky City rose to moderate fame when a time lapse video of the build was uploaded to YouTube and other video sharing sites. The time lapse shows the excessive speed at which the building was built, chunks of the building brought into place quickly and safely.

Now that Mini Sky City is complete Broad Sustainable Building is setting their sights even higher. Looking for a greater challenge their next project, called Sky City, is a 220 story skyscraper that would break the record for worlds tallest skyscraper. Sky City is planned to be built in a 3 month stretch, keeping to their pace of 3 floors a day. To say this is a monumental undertaking is almost an understatement. Sky City is pending approval by the government and will also be built in Changsha province.

Tim Aldiss writes for OSC.

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