The Makkah Clock Royal Tower is considered as the second tallest building and most primarily the biggest clock tower to have ever been built across the globe. This is the central tower of the Abraj-al Bait development project in Makkah, KSA. It is worth noting that various characteristics make the building impressive and unique. Firstly, the building stands at six hundred and seven meters high (607m). This is estimated to be eighteen hundred and ninety-three feet (1893 feet). The second unique feature of the building is that the top two hundred meters consist of more that forty thousand square meters of advanced FRP composite panels. This is the section that is occupied by the world’s largest clocks. To be specific, the diameter of the clock is forty-three meters and the minute hands of the clock measures twenty-three meters long. There are two main components of the cladding tower top namely; ornamental patterning and intricate calligraphy (Al Amoudy, 2014).

These two crucial components are completed and finished with expensive ceramic tiles and glass. The illumination of the clock hands calls for massive supply for power. In essence, this power is to support over two million light emission diodes (LEDs) of the clock hands, media wall, and clock faces.

Location of the project

The Makkah Clock Royal Tower is located directly in front of the modern Grand Mosque. This is the place that is considered as the holiest place by all the Muslims across the globe. As such, all Muslims must face this place every time they are praying. Thus, the tower itself play a vital role in the call for Muslim prayers. It serves as the clock that Muslims within the Mecca city use for timely prayers. One of the other crucial aspects of the project worth noting is the designers and the engineers behind the popular project. The Makkah Clock Royal Tower was engineered by the SL-Rasch Gmbh with the Saudi Binladin Group as the general contractor (Al-Nady, Al-Hawary & Alolayyan, 2016).

Project Details

According to the designers, the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, this was a fifty thousand square feet (50,000 square feet. This equates to four thousand five hundred meters square (4,500 square meters). For the successful completion of this project, it means that more than ten thousand gallons of Thermo-Lag 3000-P were required. As such, this as well needed an approximately two-hour UL 1709 hydrocarbon rating. The primary purpose of this rating is to support the columns and the structural steel beams. The project details as indicated by the engineers Thermo-Lag 3000-P was capable of meeting this requirement at 310 mils (7.9 mm) (Al Amoudy, 2014).

As well, it is profound noting that few crucial features ensured that the project is a success. One of the most crucial of this feature is that Thermo-Lag 3000-P was top coated with carbon guard type 1340 and another type referred to as Carbothane 133 HB. This additional feature in the engineering of the tower plays a vital role in the provision of resistance to superior weather. As such, this is the main reason has been strong since its construction. The other vital feature that has made the tower unique and long living is that all the steel was primed with Carbomastic 15. This is an another substance that makes the building strong and resistance to wear and tear and hence making it stand strong for ages to come (Winerman, 2011).

The success of the project

SL-Rasch (Stuttgart, Germany), are the top designers of the tower. These are the group of engineers who worked together to ensure that the construction of the tower is a success. One of the most crucial roles that the team played is the structural engineering and designing of the composite tower. This includes some of the most important sections of the project namely; a self-supportive FRP composite structure, clock hands, top cladding, and the popular twenty-three diameter crescent. It is imperative to note that the success of the project could not have been a success without the contribution of various construction companies (Al-Nady, Al-Hawary & Alolayyan, 2016).

One of the most recognized companies in this project success is Premier Composites Technologies based in Dubai, UAE. This is the company that was responsible for the fabrication and installation of the clock hands, clock face, crescent, and the cladding. In essence, these are the most crucial parts of the clock tower of Makkah. The other company that played a huge role in the success of the project is the Gurit company. One of the roles that Gurit played is the supply of advance composite materials that was used in construction. In addition to the above, the company installed a fire retardant wet laminating system. The lamination process has been a success since the construction of the tower due to the company’s easy machining, high leveled T-paste, and low cure shrinkage.

The project challenges

There are several challenges that the engineers of the project faced during designing and construction. One of the most crucial and challenging parts of the project during construction is the clock hands. High wind load was the main risk primarily due to the long and slender hands of the clock. Gurit’s WE91-2 carbon fiber prepreg material was resourceful in the manufacture of these clock hands. According to Mark Hobbs, one of the senior engineers of the project “This has been a fascinating project to work on” (Winerman, 2011). He goes on to note some of the top challenges that they encountered in the course of the project. These problems noted include sheer scale and the complexity of the project, lighting of the cladding panels, and successful integration of the finishes (Al-Nady, Al-Hawary & Alolayyan, 2016).


In conclusion, engineering, and designing this project was successful due to various key factors. One of the most crucial success factors during construction is the teamwork between different engineers, designers, and companies. This teamwork played a vital role in attaining highest quality and aesthetic possible. The other success factor is the use of advanced composite materials that are well integrated. For instance, the utilization of Thermo-Lag 3000-P top coated with carbon guard type 1340 and Carbothane 133 HB was an additional feature in the engineering of the tower which played a vital role in the provision of resistance to superior weather.


Al Amoudy, S. (2014). Makkah Al-Mukaaramah: a second tier city for religious tourism. In City imaging: Regeneration, renewal and decay (pp. 201-208). Springer Netherlands.

Al-Nady, B. A. H. A., Al-Hawary, S. I. S., & Alolayyan, M. N. (2016). The role of time, communication, and cost management on project management success: an empirical study on sample of construction projects customers in Makkah City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 23(1), 76-112.

Winerman, A. (2011). Developing Mecca: A Case Study of the Royal Makkah Clock Tower. Available at SSRN 1846593.