3D printing has been pioneered in the GCC region for some time now especially in the building industry generally but more specifically in a skyscraper as recently reported in Dubai. The local media reported that a ‘quarter of buildings in Dubai will be based on 3D printing technology by 2030 under a new strategy launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’. Indeed, 3D printing of building combines mobile robots with existing construction methods to make the construction processes faster, cost-effective and possibly sustainable.
The GCC media elaborated at length on how 3D printing could decrease construction costs and shorten delivery timelines making it, in the future, easy for developers to propose affordable housing hence decreasing all risks of delayed delivery and above all costs overruns.
The only snag is that of the current legislation having been set for conventional building methods and developed by reference to the traditional approaches to construction and materials procurement would have to be revisited so as to allow a full extent of this technology in the future. This would objectively be an interesting road to go down on especially for the heavily populated regions of the MENA such as those of North Africa.
In any case, and if 3D printing as a construction method were to be widely adopted notably in the affordable housing segment, it would certainly give rise to new business models and contractual relationships between the different regions of the MENA.
Meanwhile, an interesting article of the World Economic Forum written by Alex Gray, Formative Content and published on Thursday 30 March 2017, illustrates well this new model of business and is reproduced here for hopefully our viewers’ appreciation.
House-building can be an irritatingly slow process. In the US it takes six months on average to construct a home. But now a robot can assemble the basic frame of a house — foundations, floor, walls and roof — in a single day.
The San Francisco start-up behind the robot, Apis Cor, says that it is the first company to develop a mobile 3D printer able to print entire buildings.
Here’s their first home going up on a site in Russia.
At 400 sq ft (38m²) the house is cosy but proves the point that fast turnaround home-building is now possible.
The cost of construction is about $10,000. And the buildings can be any shape, a potential boon for architects.
The WEF recommends reading the following: