Famous Construction Projects – Empire State Building


The Empire State building is one of the most well-known and iconic office buildings in the world. Towering over Manhattan at 381m tall (443m tall including its antenna) and 103 floors high, it was the world’s tallest free-standing structure and tallest skyscraper for over 40 years.

Despite the colossal size and scope of the project, the design, planning and construction of the Empire State Building took just 410 days to complete by a workforce of over 3400 – a remarkable achievement in 1931. In comparison, the Burj Khalifa – the current tallest structure in the world (828m, 163 floors) – took five years to complete.

Construction on the Empire State Building began in 1930 and the methods used were a model of efficiency for the time. Construction efforts utilised emerging principles of industrialism, assembly line production and divisions of labour. To maintain the strict schedule, pieces like steel beams and stonework were prepared off-site, and delivered ready to be inserted into place by workers. A series of hoists and narrow-gauge tracks inside the building moved the pieces to the top floors, while large external winches were used for its heavy stone pieces.

Workers were perched hundreds of metres above street level while they riveted steel girders, showing unprecedented bravery and courage. Most moved around the structure untethered and unfazed at the risk they were placing on themselves and fellow workers. While the project was considered very safe for the era and complexity of the task at hand, sadly five workers died during construction.

Technological advancements and increased site safety have revolutionized the construction industry and increased safety standards for workers since the construction of the Empire State Building. For example, only one fatality was recorded during the five-year construction of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. This was despite the building being almost twice as high, being under construction for much longer and being far more complex to build than the Empire State Building.

Sitemax supplies an extensive range of personal safety gear, site safety signage and containment products, all the way from height safety to debris containment. We have continuously invested in developing new and improved safety solutions, with our FlameX range of products being just one recent example.

If you would like to know more about our product range and how it can improve your site safety, contact us today! At Sitemax, we make it easy.