Big changes lie ahead for construction industries world-wide. The leaps and bounds made in 3D printing technologies have opened up a world of opportunity across diverse business sectors which may eventually change the nature of commerce itself as end users will have the ability to become manufacturers in their own right, not just consumers.
The applications of 3D printing are virtually endless. This tech can prove most beneficial in design, geospatial, healthcare, planetology, archaeology, architecture, education, health, entertainment and of course in construction.
The Centre for International Economics Future Forecast Report estimates that this sort of 3D printed, pre-fabricated housing method will penetrate 10 percent of the future housing market. According to Michael Lucas, Chief Operating Officer of Green Building Solutions, this type of housing is exactly what Australia needs to make home ownership affordable for the average Australian.
“Conventional building simply cannot keep up with the demand and with ever increasing pressure on costs, the need for affordable housing solutions in Australia is getting further out of reach for average Australian income earners. Modular in part is seen as possible solution to this increasing problem. Without a doubt with increasing cost savings modular options will offer everyday Australians [the chance] to live the Australian dream.”
Modern 3D printers are now at a point where they can completely change the nature of the construction industry by cutting costs immensely, simplifying and speeding up building projects, as well as allowing for full, home customisation. There is no doubt 3D printing will transform the construction industry as we know it. The only question left is when will this shift take place?
Well, by the looks of it, the transition phase isn’t too far away.
Winsun, a Chinese company, has already claimed to have constructed 10 houses in 24 hours by 3D printer for a very affordable US $5,000 each. A canal house has also been built in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, by a team of architects using bio-degradable materials.
There are implications for construction workers of course. There is always a lingering cloud of concern over new technologies which encourage automation of industries which is why the building industry will need to exercise forethought when adopting 3D printing. It will make building easier and faster, as buildings can be manufactured off-site and constructed on-site, but it will also mean changes need to take place in employee methodology and attitude.
Labourers will be required to upskill and retrain to use these new machines, business practices and procedures will need to be adjusted and training programs along with their resources will require a total overhaul to facilitate as smooth a transition as possible.