Sources claim the tower could be up to 500 metres shorter than originally planned, with contractors deciding it would be impractical to build a structure to such an extreme height.

“The Mile High tower is now more like 1,100-1,150 metres,” says one source. “They have found it too difficult. There is a problem with profitability and the transport of materials to such a height, so there are real technical issues.

“Of course, everything can be built, but maybe this is beyond the cost.”

Tenders for the tower, which will be located in Jeddah, were expected to be issued to contractors in July.

MEED understands that the UK’s Hyder Consulting is working jointly with Arup, also of the UK, as engineers on the project.

Building to such a height presents massive physical and practical challenges, from wind loading to the transporting of materials or elevator passengers.

Saudi company Omrania, in collaboration with US group Pickard Chilton, worked on the design of the tower; the US’ Bechtel is the construction manager.

The tower forms part of a wider real estate project planned by Kingdom Holding.

The development covers 5.3 square kilometres and is located in the north of the city near the creek, and has an investment value of SR50bn ($13.6bn) on completion (MEED 13:2:08).