The construction of the PETRONAS Towers was a model of cooperation and efficiency and in some respects even more spectacular than the final result.
After a year of planning, the construction phase began in March 1993 with the excavation work for the foundation. The originally selected location was moved 60 meters due to the configuration of the bedrock exposed during the excavations. The excavation for the foundation went 30 meters below the soil surface, with work proceeding only after sunset and more than five hundred dump trucks full of soil being removed from the site each night.
For each of the two towers, more than one hundred foundation piles were poured next. Once the forms were in place, the slabs for the foundation of the two towers were poured in two continuous pours lasting about two and a half days each and using over 13,000 cubic feet of concrete for each of the two slabs. On top of these slabs a perimeter wall over a kilometer in total length and 21 meters tall was created to form the shell that would become the five-level underground car park.
The contract to construct the two towers was given to two different contracting companies and their friendly competition resulted in both remarkable speed and valuable cooperation as each team shared with the other information gained during the building process.
Tower One, which houses the PETRONAS headquarters, was built by a group led by the Japanese Hazama Corporation along with J.A Jones Construction of Charlotte North Carolina, and the Mitsubishi Corporation, MMC Engineering, and Ho Hop Construction of Japan.
Tower Two was constructed by the SKJ Consortium, composed of Samsung Engineering & Construction and Kuku Dong Engineering & Construction from Korea, Dragages and Bachy-Soletanche from Singapore and Syarikat Jasatera and First Nationwide Engineering Sdn Bhd from Malaysia.
Work on the tower structures started in April 1994 was completed by June 1996, with the first tenants moving into the buildings in 1998. The Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohammad presided over the opening ceremonies for the towers on Aug. 31, 1999, which coincided with the celebration of Malaysia’s Hari Kebangsaan holiday that marks the unification of the country and the establishment of the Malaya Federation in 1957.
Although many foreign firms participated in the construction process, a great deal of the work was done by local Malaysian companies. It is estimated that sixty percent of the materials used in the construction were obtained locally. All of the concrete and construction timber was Malaysian in origin as were many of the interior finishing materials including marble, ceramic tiles, and drywall materials. Many of the more complex features such as escalators, electrical fixtures and components and furniture were also supplied by Malaysian firms.