Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kiwi back to earth after tallest skyscraper completed

The New Zealander in charge of putting up the world's tallest skyscraper leaves the Dubai developer this week.

Greg Sang, director of projects at Emaar Properties PJSC, said his role had ended with the completion of Burj Khalifa, the 828m tall glittering glass and steel structure named after Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi.

"When I arrived in Dubai in October 2004, Burj Khalifa was a hole in the ground. Today the tower is open and making money so my work is done and it is time for me to move on," he said.

The controversial tower has had its share of problems.

Panic hit in February after a lift broke down and 15 people were trapped for 45 minutes until rescuers managed to pry open the doors.

Sang said the view from the tower's top was "like being in an aeroplane. Some people get scared but for the people who work there, it's run-of-the-mill". His last day is tomorrow and Sang said he was holding a small farewell event at night.

Sang's great-grandfather migrated from Canton and Greg Sang went to Auckland Grammar School before enrolling in civil engineering at Auckland University.

For a short time, he was a building labourer and later worked at Takapuna City Council on drains and water mains.

He then moved to Hong Kong and the giant Japanese contractor Kumagai Gumi. He worked for Britain's Maunsell Group and Ove Arup & Partners, eventually specialising in high-rise development.

Sang said he had enjoyed working on Burj Khalifa and it had been an exciting journey.

He is returning to Hong Kong where he said he would take a lower-profile role.
By Anne Gibson | Email Anne By Anne Gibson
4:00 AM Wednesday May 12, 2010

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