Building sites are going to look a bit different, in the future for many reasons such as those proposed by ScienceDirect a year ago in their introduction to “3D Printing of Buildings: Construction of the Sustainable Houses of the Future by BIM Mehmet Sakin*, Yusuf Caner Kiroglu”. This explains that 3D printing is a process by which physical objects are created by depositing materials in layers based on a digital model. All 3D printing processes require software, hardware, and materials to work together. The first 3D printer was invented in 1983 by Charles W. and over the last decades, 3D printing has become one of the fastest growing technologies nowadays. In its early days, it was very complicated and expensive technology.
It’s often claimed that 3D printing – known in the trade as “additive manufacturing” – will change the way we live. Most recently, a team from Eindhoven University of Technology announced plans to build the “world’s first” habitable 3D printed houses. But it’s one thing to build small, prototype homes in a park – it’s quite another to successfully use additive manufacturing for large scale projects in the construction sector.
Additive manufacturing uses a combination of materials science, architecture and design, computation and robotics. Yet in some ways, it’s not as futuristic as it sounds. The simple approach of layer-wise construction – where building materials are layered on top of each other to create a facade – has already been practised for a long time in the construction sector, for example in conventional brick layering techniques.
The true novelty of additive manufacturing lies in its ability to combine new, highly efficient and sustainable materials with architectural design software and robotic technology, to automate and improve processes that have already been proven manually. In this sense, additive manufacturing holds many potentially groundbreaking benefits for the construction sector.
3D printing can produce up to 30% less material waste, use less energy and fewer resources, enable in-situ production (which in turn cuts transport costs), grant greater architectural freedom and generate fewer CO₂ emissions over the entire lifecycle of the product.
But there is still some way to go before additive manufacturing technology can deliver on its potential. There are several different components of additive manufacturing, each of which must be developed and refined before the process can be successfully used in large-scale construction.
One component is printable feedstocks – the materials which are actually “printed” to create the final product. There are many types of printable feedstock, but the most relevant one for large scale construction is concrete. Printable feedstocks are typically made from a combination of bulk materials – such as soil, sand, crushed stone, clay and recycled materials – mixed with a binder such as Portland cement, fly ash or polymers, as well as other additives and chemical agents to allow the concrete to set faster and maintain its shape, so that the layers can be deposited rapidly.
In a project I am currently working on at Brunel University, we are focusing on producing a printable cement feedstock. To create materials for 3D printed constructions, scientists must carefully control the setting time of the paste, the stability of first few layers and the bonding between the layers. The behaviour of the materials must be thoroughly investigated under a range of conditions, to achieve a robust structure which can take load.
The combination of cement, sand and other additives must be just right, so that the feedstocks don’t set while still in the printer, and don’t stay wet for too long once they have been deposited to form a structure. Different grades of feedstock need to be formulated and developed, so that this technology can be used to build a range of different structural elements, such as load-bearing and large-scale building blocks.
Another component is the printer, which must have a powerful pump to suit the scale of manufacturing in the construction industry. The pressure and flow rate of the printer must be trialled with different types of feedstocks. The speed and the size of the printer is key to achieving a good print quality: smooth surface, square edges and a consistent width and height for each layer.
How quickly the feedstock materials are deposited – typically measured in centimetres per hour – can speed up or slow down construction. Decreasing the setting time of the feedstock means that the printer can work faster – but it also puts the feedstock at risk of hardening inside the printer system. The printing system should be optimised to continuously deliver the feedstock materials at a constant rate, so that the layers can fuse together evenly.
The geometry of the structures produced is the final piece of the puzzle, when it comes to using 3D printing in construction. When the printer and the feedstock have been properly set up, they will be able to produce full-size building blocks with a smart geometry which can take load without reinforcements. The shape stability of the truss-like filaments in these blocks is an essential part of printing, which provides strength and stiffness to the printed objects.
This three-pronged approach to adapting additive manufacturing for construction could revolutionise the industry within the next ten to 15 years. But before that can happen, scientists need to fine tune the mix ratios for the feedstocks, and refine a printing system which can cope with the rapid manufacturing of building blocks. Only then can the potential of 3D printing be harnessed to build faster, and more sustainably, than ever before.
World Habitat Day is observed on the first Monday of October of each year since 1986. The purpose of the day is to reflect on the condition of the world wide human dwelling basic systems and their adequate provision and timely maintenance. 2016 Theme: Housing at the Centre comes at a time where apparently more than a billion people worldwide live in very sub-standard living conditions. The MENA region has as bespoke a portfolio of housing stock as it has diverse geo political systems. Some are very advanced in their specification whilst others are either as backward as one can imagine and / or are presently in traumatic war conditions. In any case, there was nothing special about yesterday’s celebrations, or at least worth reporting in this article; that is before being reminded of this vital anniversary by EcoMENA .
We propose to republish the UN’s Habitat article here for its wide spread and reach, starting with a word of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“On this World Habitat Day, I urge national and local governments, city planners and communities everywhere to keep “Housing at the Centre”. Guaranteeing dignity and opportunity for all depends on people having access to affordable and adequate housing. I look forward to a successful Habitat III Conference that will help us advance our sustainable development agenda for the benefit of all humankind.”
In Resolution 40/202 of 17 December 1985, the UN General Assembly designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day.
The 2016 World Habitat Day campaign aims to raise awareness about the need for affordable housing for all in urban areas, towns and cities.
Access to adequate housing is a global challenge growing fast with urbanization. Around one quarter of the world’s urban population continues to live in slums and informal settlements.
An increasing number of urban dwellers, especially the poor and vulnerable groups (women, migrants, persons with disabilities and HIV, elder, youth and LGBT) are living in precarious conditions, addressing their housing needs informally, lacking access to basic services and living space, isolated from livelihood opportunities and vulnerable to forced evictions or homelessness.
Every day, as people are born in or move to urban centres in search of opportunities, the demand for housing grows. Globally, a billion new houses are needed by 2025 to accommodate 50 million new urban dwellers per year.
Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development will take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17 – 20 October 2016.
We are also proposing the reading of this article of Habitat.org for its obvious interest and good intent.
More than 30 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly took an important step in promoting the idea that everyone deserves a decent place to live by declaring that the first Monday in October would be World Habitat Day.
On Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, Habitat for Humanity joins with our partners around the world to rededicate ourselves to recognizing the basic right of everyone to adequate shelter. Habitat for Humanity asks everyone to join together as one global network in communicating the message that every one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future, and that a decent place to live can remove barriers to opportunity, health and success that might have been part of a family’s life for years, and in many cases for generations. See how you can support our efforts below.
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity has grown from a grassroots effort that began on a community farm in southern Georgia in 1976 to a global nonprofit housing organization in nearly 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in over 70 countries. People partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering, or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower.
Bahrain’s Housing in May 2016 has currently a backlog of more than 50,000 applications, and long-term demand is expected to outpace supply, particularly as the sector works to overcome infrastructure and land allocation constraints at the same time.
Bahrain’s housing development has expanded in recent years. The government has signed its first-ever real estate public-private partnership (PPP) in 2012, and established new finance schemes in 2013, offering subsidised mortgages.
In the meantime, the government is going ahead with an infrastructure programme at the cost of $22bn over the next four years, according to comments made by Kamal bin Ahmed, the minister of transport and acting CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), in October 2014, and these projects are expected to have a considerable long-term impact on both the construction industry and its private sector players.
Here is a view of local media on Bahrain affordable housing plans as reported by My Bahrain.
Bahrain Government plans six new housing projects . . .
Bahrain Northern Governorate will house six new multi-million dinar government housing projects, as announced by the Works and Housing Ministry. The works on the projects are expected to begin shortly.
The members of the Northern Municipal Council were briefed about the projects during an extra-ordinary meeting at the council in Hamala by a ministry delegation, headed by Dr. Nabeel Abu Al Fateh, the Under-Secretary for Housing.
The projects will be implemented in the Shakoora, Hamad Town, Jid Al Haj, Budaiya, Jidhafs and Dar Kulaib areas.
The BD 15million worth Al Shakoora project, which began during January 2005, was completed during this March, but, is yet to be handed over to residents, said the officials. The project was delayed, as it is still awaiting electricity connection.
Dr. Abu Al Fateh revealed that the houses have already been allocated on paper, and will be given to families once the legal formalities are completed, regardless of power connection. The Al Qadam, Al Hajar, Abu Saiba and Shakoora residents will be given the houses, due to their closeness to the project.
The second project, Al Louzy Housing Project, in Hamad Town, is divided into three phases comprising 2500 housing units. The first phase, worth BD23.56mn will be complete by the end of this month, and will comprise 377 houses, 544 apartments in 9 storey and 5 storey buildings. The second phase would include 1700 houses, while the third phase will have 460 apartments. The development will have all necessary services including, public parks, five schools and shops.
The third project, Budaiya housing project, worth BD5.14m, will be completed by next February. The project, which began in June, last year, will comprise 74 houses, 96 apartments, in four storey buildings.
The fourth project, Jid Al Haj housing project, is expected to be complete by next July. The project will include 39 houses, and has been prolonged due to delay in acquiring land from private landlords.
The fifth project, Jidhaf project, worth BD16.5mn, will comprise 162 houses, and 123 plots to be sold. The project is expected to be complete by April.
Finally, the Dar Kulaib project, worth BD6.086mn, comprising 93 houses and 86 land plots, is expected to be complete in April.