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Standards Spotlight

Views of Real-World Impact

ANSI shines a spotlight on Standards in action as they support safety, efficiency and well-being in interesting aspects of everyday life.

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Inside The Tallest Building in the World and How Skyscrapers Soar High with Standards


An eye-catching legend in the sky, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai holds the record as the world’s tallest building. Standing over a half-mile high at almost 2,717 feet and more than 160 stories, the building also holds other world records, including housing the elevator with the longest travel distance, and having the highest outdoor observation deck. The structure is so high that over 40 wind tunnel tests were conducted to examine the effects the wind would have on the tower and its occupants.

A new article published by Popular Science looks into the construction of the tower, and examines whether another building will exceed the height of the Burj Khalifa (most likely). The article also examines the evolution of materials used in the construction of skyscrapers: whereas once, buildings were made of steel, now many are composite constructions—a combination of both steel and concrete.

Standards Support Skyscrapers, Inside and Out

Various standards support skyscrapers, their occupants, and creators, guiding everything from energy efficiency to elevators. Here’s a look at just a few:

Commuting to Work in an Elevator

Imagine an elevator commute that takes you higher than the clouds. For the millions of people who depend on elevator service to get to their jobs in high-rise buildings, the American National Standard (ANS) ASME A17.1/CSA B44-2019, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, covers elevator and escalator equipment and its associated parts, rooms, spaces, and hoistways, when located in or adjacent to a building or structure. Developed by ASME and CSA Group, the ANS has become the accepted guide throughout North America for the design, construction, installation, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, alteration, and repair of elevators, escalators, and related conveyances.

Keeping Energy Efficient

Energy efficiency can lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other pollutants. Standards that support this include ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 100-2018, Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings, which applies to existing buildings, portions of buildings, and building complexes, including the envelope and all systems in the building. This ANS was developed under the auspices of ASHRAE and co-sponsored by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).

Staying Safe with Wind Tunnel Testing

Wind tunnel testing on buildings and structures can save time and project costs, and reduce risk. The standard ASCE/SEI 49-2021, Wind Tunnel Testing for Buildings and Other Structures, provides the minimum requirements for conducting and interpreting wind tunnel tests to determine wind loads on buildings and other structures. Wind tunnel tests are used to predict wind loads and responses of a structure, structural components, and cladding to a variety of wind conditions. This standard includes commentary that elaborates on the background and application of the requirements.

The standard was prepared by the Wind Tunnel Testing for Buildings and Other Structures Standards Committee of the Codes and Standards Activities Division of the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Constructing a Skyscraper

Safety comes first: supporting construction worker wellbeing, ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014 (R2019), American National Standard For Industrial Head Protection, describes types and classes, testing, and performance requirements for protective helmets. These include recommended safety requirements for authorities considering the establishment of regulations or codes concerning the use of protective helmets. The standard was prepared by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) Head Protection Group.

To support construction sites from the ground up, ASME B30.19-2011Safety Standard For Cableways, Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Hooks, Jacks, and Slings, contains provisions that apply to the construction, installation, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, and use of all load transporting hoisting and lowering cable supported systems operating on and supported from track cables. Developed by ASME, ASME B30.19-2011 is part of a family of ASME B30 construction standards: ANSI/ASME B30Construction Package, a complete collection of standards applicable to various cranes, hoists, lifting systems, and derricks.

These standards are among thousands that support the engineers, design, workers, and occupants of sky scrapers and other buildings.