Emaar Properties is in talks with contractors about providing pre-construction services for the world’s tallest building in Dubai, known as The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour.

The two contracting groups that are understood to be in talks with the local developer are the joint venture of South Korea’s Samsung C+T and the local/Belgian Belhasa Six Construct, and a team of the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty and Tishman of the US.

The change in the procurement strategy will give the project team more time to develop the design of the tower with the assistance of a contractor.

Two groups submitted bids for a construction contract in November. They were a joint venture of Lebanon’s Arabian Construction Company (ACC) and Lebanon’s Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), and the Samsung/Six Construct joint venture.

At the time, a construction contract was expected to be awarded early this year. It is now understood that an award will be delayed, and the tower will not be completed in time for the start of the 2020 Expo event which starts in October 2020. It may be ready in time for the end of the event in April 2021.

When launching the tower in April last year Emaar chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar said: “It is a small thing between us and our partners as a gift to 2020.”

The superstructure comprises three key elements. They are: a concrete core, a steel frame structure on top of the concrete core, and cables descending down from the tower to the ground.

For the raft foundations package Dutco Balfour Beatty was issued with a letter of intent in January. This was then promptly cancelled as Emaar decided to reconsider its procurement options.

France’s Soletanche Bachy is understood to be in the final stages of the piling works. The tower is designed by Spanish/Swiss architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava Valls. Calatrava is working with the local office of Aurecon as the consultant, supported by the UK’s RMJM. The project manager for the tower is US-based Parsons.

On 10 October last year, Dubai officially confirmed the tower will be the world’s tallest tower when it is completed. The final height has not been disclosed. To become the world’s tallest tower, it will have to be more than 1,008 metres in height, which is the expected height of the under-construction Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia.