Dubai plans 3D printed office building

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Dubai said it would, for the first time, construct a small office building using a 3D printer, in a drive to develop technology that would cut costs and save time as the city grows.

3D printing, which uses a printer to make three-dimensional objects from a digital design, is taking off in manufacturing industries around the world but has so far been used little in construction.

Dubai's one-storey prototype building, with about 185 square meters of floor space, will be printed layer-by-layer using a 6m tall printer, Mohamed Al Gergawi, United Arab Emirates minister of Cabinet Affairs, said yesterday.

It would then be assembled on site within a few weeks. Interior furniture and structural components would also be built through 3D printing with reinforced concrete, gypsum reinforced with glass fibre, and plastic.

The project is a tie-up between Dubai and Winsun, a Chinese company that has been pioneering the use of 3D printers to build houses. Gergawi cited studies estimating the technique could cut building time by 50% to 70% and labour costs by 50% to 80%.

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