Would you live or work in a 3D-printed building? If you're in Dubai after 2025, chances are you might definitely have to. The city has announced measures to ensure that as many as 25% of all its new buildings will be 3D printed within the next six years.
What's the Rationale?: Conventional construction is based on cement, which is expensive and time-intensive. Moreover, cement contributes to about 8% of all global carbon emissions - to say nothing of the flooding, water pollution and soil erosion that it causes.
Exit Sandman: A popular alternative to cement in construction is 3D printing. 3D printing itself has made enormous strides in recent years. Today, we can 3D-print many things from cars to organs. Its use in the construction industry could be a potential game-changer - and a disruptive one at that.
Why is 3D Printing Efficient?: Two words - money and time. The drastic reduction in raw material required cuts down construction costs by up to 80%. And because companies wouldn't have to wait for materials and equipment to be transported and because of the minimal human labour required, the time required for construction is also cut down exponentially. And then there are the numerous environmental benefits.
Dubai is already home to the world's largest 3D-printed two-storey building. 3D-printing large swathes of a city will be a challenging task, no doubt. And 3D printing has its drawbacks too - the main ones being the limited material types that can be used and the lack of fixed building codes to regulate the practice. If such loopholes are fixed and Dubai's 2025 goals met, it could set an inspiring precedent for the rest of the world.
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