Kiwis will leave signature on tower

Last updated 05:00 05/04/2012

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New Zealand engineers from Beca are working on the tallest building in the southern hemisphere, the US$1 billion Signature Tower in Jakarta.

The five-year job involves engineering for all the building services for the 111-storey structure that will be twice the height of Auckland's Sky Tower.

At 638m tall it will be one of only 60 buildings worldwide over 300m in height.

The world's tallest building Burj Khalifa at Dubai is 828m.

Signature Tower is the focal point of the district being developed by Indonesian company PT Grahamas Adisentosa.

Beca's technical director Simon Longuet-Higgins has been working for the company on projects in Indonesia since 1984, including several stints living in Jakarta with his family.

He recently worked with the same developer on the Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Pacific Palace hotels, all in Jakarta, where Beca employs 50 local engineers.

"It is the tallest tower we have worked on. Essentially the building is five stacked on top of one another so you engineer it from a services perspective as five buildings. The tricky bit is joining them all together. There is some pretty high pressure pipe work because you've got to pump water to the top of the building," Longuet-Higgins said.

"Because it's so tall you get a thing called stack effect. If you've got a shaft that goes the whole way up the building you get huge volumes of air moving through just because of the different pressures and temperatures between the top and bottom of the building. Generally, you just apply good engineering and if you do that then it all works."

The building includes its own wastewater treatment plant and generators to produce 100 per cent of the electricity it will use to combat the water shortages and weak infrastructure in Jakarta.

Longuet-Higgins will travel to Jakarta every six weeks to meet the other parties working on the building.

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