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Doing Maintenance Work Atop the World's Tallest Building

Could you be so calm hanging off the pinnacle of Dubai's Burj Khalifa?

I think I've found the reason why the maintenance-manager position at the Burj Khalifa is still open.

Many folks would require 30-second pants changes if their jobs involved hanging off the side of the world's loftiest skyscraper. But this monkeyman handles it with an unusual calm, noting that it's a "beautiful day today" despite the fact that he's situated a skull-atomizing 2,700-plus feet above terra firma. If his line snapped, he would probably have time to put away his caulk gun and send a farewell text to his family before becoming one with the Dubai pavement.

At more than 2,700 feet tall, the Burj stacks on top of 163 floors another 46 maintenance levels, where presumably this undated video was shot. At that height the upper-level winds play the structure like a violin string; note that the worker detects a "slight wobble in this tower." Still, for people who love mountain climbing and tying knots that your life depends on, this kind of job must be better than mainlining a turkey baster of adrenalin.

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.