According to statistics available, about 125,000 tower cranes are operating worldwide. Industry experts cautiously estimate that 15 to 25 per cent of the world's cranes are here.
Patrick Mullaney, Tower Crane Operations Manager for Select Plant Gulf, the heavy machinery arm of Al Naboodah Laing O'Rourke, arrived in Dubai three years ago to work on the new airport site.
On arrival he approached the Guinness Book of World Records to enter Dubai for the high number of cranes on the site at the time. "There were 50 cranes, all over the 12-tonne capacity. It's the most we've had at the site and we are just one contractor. We tried to get it in the Guinness Book of World Records, but they weren't that interested," said Mullaney.
Tower cranes used to build skyscrapers are put up in two days on average. "The tallest free standing crane we used was at Ski Dubai, which measured 92.5 metres," said Mullaney.
The crane at Burj Dubai will eventually be 750 metres above ground level. Laing O'Rourke is currently working on four big projects Dubai airport, Festival city, Burj Dubai and the Old Town and Atlantis hotel on Palm Island.
The construction boom in Dubai is very fast paced due to the overwhelming workforce and building around the clock. "At the most, we as a contractor had about 11,000 men working at the airport. Sites are just flooded with workers," said Mullaney.
"Tower cranes help the whole site. You can't do without them. Mobile cranes are limited because you keep having to move them. Tower cranes can be placed closer together and have a radius of about 140 square metres," he said.