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3D printed homes a perfect fit for Dubai

Filed on March 13, 2017 | Last updated on March 13, 2017 at 09.08 pm
Cazza is designing the world's first 3D printed skyscraper. A rendering by Aleksandar Grusanovic.

(Supplied photo)

Dubai is pioneering the use of 3D printing in the region and will soon get its own 3D printed skyscraper. The disruptive technique is set to revolutionise Dubai's construction industry.

A Dubai-based start-up, Cazza, will build the world's first 3D printed skyscraper. Cazza's CEO Chris Kelsey said: "When we first thought of implementing 3D printing technologies, we were mostly thinking of houses and low-rise buildings. Developers kept asking us if it was possible to build a 3D printed skyscraper. This led us to begin researching how we could adapt the technologies for taller structures."

Cazza's 3D printing construction system will combine mobile 3D printing robots with existing construction methods to make processes faster, more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Kelsey added: "Many developers were quite open to 3D printing but they just want to make sure that it is safe to do as it is a new concept. A 3D printed building is of the same strength, if not stronger, than a typical building. Keep in mind that we 3D print the parts that make sense to print, the building still includes reinforcements such as rebar, etc. It takes us around the same time or shorter to design a 3D printed building than that of a typical building. It saves time because we can 3D print parts directly from the design."

3D printing will decrease construction costs and shorten delivery timelines. "In the future, 3D printing will allow developers to better cater to the affordable housing segment's demand; additionally, it could decrease the risk of delayed delivery. Considering the high living costs in Dubai, this type of product will make a lot of economic sense," said David Godchaux, CEO of Core Savills.

Cazza will 3D print skyscrapers using a new method called crane printing. The start-up will use cranes with added sections that it designed specifically for building 3D printed structures 80 metres and above.

The cranes will focus on 3D printing the parts of the building that are efficient to print and the rest of the building will be completed through existing methods.

"The application of 3D printing and other additive manufacturing technologies to construction opens up possibilities such as the reduction in the amount of raw materials required, allowing increasingly for 'just-in-time' manufacture and dramatically narrowing the range of trades [and number of workers] involved in construction. As such, its capacity as a disruptive technology in the industry can clearly be seen," said Kwadwo Sarkodie, partner at law firm Mayer Brown.

Despite 3D printing being the future for construction builds, potential issues may arise in a construction project using 3D printing.

"The current body of case law and statute [and standard for contracts] applicable in relation to the construction industry has been developed by reference to the traditional approaches to construction, procurement and risk allocation which 3D printing threatens to disrupt. As such, it is expected that, if widely adopted, 3D printing, would be likely to give rise to new business models and contractual relationships. These can be expected to present new challenges with regard to construction law. However, construction law has shown time and again over the years an ability to adapt in the face of technological developments," added Sarkodie.

- deepthi@khaleejtimes.com

author

Deepthi Nair

I cover all things related to real estate in the UAE. Working as a print journalist in Dubai since 2008, I have reported on all the flashy new projects in town. Dubai's passion for setting new records continues to amaze me. I love to do stories that strike a chord with the average expatriate in the UAE. If you have any news related to your community or rents, you know who to get in touch with at Khaleej Times. When I am not working, I travel, catch up with friends, mall trawl, catch up on movies, explore new places in town or just unwind in a spa. Originally from India, I have been a journalist for more than 11 years. Language has been my forte right from school. That's me in a nutshell


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