Myth of ‘Babu Sassi’ Remains After Burj Cranes Come Down

Martin Croucher
Filed on November 11, 2009

DUBAI He got paid Dh30,000 a month and lived for a year in the cab of a crane, 818 metres above ground.

These are just two of the rumours surrounding the mysterious figure who was said to operate the crane on the top of the world’s tallest building.

But when it was announced that the last of the cranes had been removed from the Burj Dubai, there was little mention of the man who has become known as Babu Sassi — or ‘the Indian on Top of the World’.

“I presume much of it is just rumour and speculation,” said Shaun Killa, a Dubai architect and a member of the Council on Tall Buildings and the Urban Habitat.

On Tuesday, the master developer said that a specialist team of just 35 engineers – out of a workforce of 11,000 — were responsible for operating three cranes near the top of the building.

Each of the cranes could move a 25-tonne load to level 156 of the tower, and were designed to withstand 120km per hour winds.

“No high-rise construction project has moved the same volume of materials as Burj Dubai or to the same heights,” said Abdullah Lahej, Executive Director, Dubai Project Management, Emaar Properties

“The way tower cranes have been used to complete the world’s tallest tower is unprecedented. Each aspect of the construction was analysed to ensure maximum safety, efficiency and ease of operation — and the steady progress of the tower’s construction is a testament tothe team’s exceptional commitment and abilities.”

According to the Emaar statement, the dismantling of the cranes proved to be more difficult than the installation. A recovery crane was set up on the 159th floor to dismantle the crane which was already working at the tallestheight on the building.

The final crane came down at the end of last month after what the statement described as a “finely orchestrated set piece”. Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, reiterated that the mega development would be open to the public on January 4.

“Dismantling the cranes is an exciting development because it shows that completion of the world’s tallest tower is just around the corner,” he said.

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