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3D Building Printing Technology, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in the GCC construction industry, could lead to massive reward for construction companies if they pick the right product at the right time
The technology involves creating solid 3D objects from a digital model by laying down many successive layers of a material on top of one another, has many advantages, including faster construction, lower labour costs and less waste production. 3D printing can either be achieved through a computer aided design (CAD) file or by the use of a 3D scanner that forms a 3D digital copy of a physical object.
A 3D modelling programme then converts the virtual design or digital copy into a digital file that is transferred to a 3D printer, which prints the layers of material and binds them together to create a seamless 3D product.
According to Andrew Elias, Group CEO of Dubai-based Kele Contracting, “This modern and new method of construction will provide a very attractive solution to construction companies who wish to extend their projects to remote areas where traditional construction techniques prove challenging.
“If buildings are suited to the Middle Eastern climate and can withstand the environmental extremes, then this will herald the start of a new wave of innovative 3D printed low-rise buildings and represents a new untapped niche market for creative construction companies. I believe that the Saudi Arabian market, in particular, is among those with the most potential for this method of construction, due to the types and size of its developments, as well as the country’s landscape.”
Such 3D printed buildings have the potential to be used for homes or offices and benefits include cutting building and labour costs dramatically and enabling buildings to be erected and dismantled at speed. Buildings can also be constructed to blend into the landscape of the area and are thus more aesthetically sympathetic to the local environs.
Elias added, “In the short term, the challenge is to see how these buildings perform in the extreme climate and environment of the Middle East and whether building services such as cabling, wiring and sewage work on a practical level for the buildings’ end users.
“In order to reduce costs, a six-metre tall 3D printer is being used to print parts to full size rather than having them shipped.”
Dubai has unveiled plans via 3Dprint.com to develop an entire 185.8 sq m office building, including its fittings, in its city centre in just a few weeks using 3D Printing Techniques.