How Tall and Super Tall Skyscrapers are Measured


Over the last several years The Conco Companies have had the opportunity to be involved in the construction of the two tallest skyscrapers west of the Mississippi, the Wilshire Grand in Los Angeles and the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. This experience got us to wondering who was responsible for measuring and recording the world’s newly constructed skyscrapers as they continue to push the envelope in terms of their towering height.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is the world’s leading resource for professionals focused on the inception, design, construction, and operation of tall buildings and future cities. The CTBUH is also responsible for developing the international standards used to measure tall buildings’ heights and is the recognized official organization for bestowing the title of the ‘The World’s Tallest Building.’

The height of tall buildings is measured by three criteria that includes: the height to the architectural top; the highest occupied floor; and the height to the tip. The height to the architectural top is defined as the height measured from the level of the “lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment.”

The highest occupied floor is officially defined by the CTBUH as the measurement from the lowest significant pedestrian entrance to the highest occupied floor in the building. The third criteria again starts at the “lowest level” as defined earlier to the highest point of the building “irrespective of material or function of the highest element (i.e., including antennae, flagpoles, signage, and other functional-technical equipment).”

In addition to tall skyscrapers the CTBUH also recognizes a fairly new category of “supertall” and “megatall” buildings. They define a supertall building as being over 300 meters or 984 feet high. Buildings over 600 meters or 1,968 feet tall are considered to be megatall. Their statistics show that as of June 2015, there were 91 supertall and 2 megatall buildings that were fully completed and occupied across the globe. In addition there are several more extremely high skyscrapers currently under construction.

At The Conco Companies, we are one of the leading concrete contractors in the Western U.S. and offer a wide range of quality services and products. Our experience includes providing services for commercial, educational, parking and other construction development as well as public works projects. We serve California, Washington State, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada.

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