From living in caves to building skyscrapers; our construction techniques have evolved to provide enormous living accommodation facilities we enjoy today. Different periods of history have aided in this construction evolution. The first hut or shelter was fully constructed by hand or with rudimentary tools in the primitive epoch. Then the Bronze revolution happened and, as cities began to grow bigger, craftsmen or professionals showed up with their brand new innovative construction concepts.
Over time, steam-powered machinery was introduced, and later, diesel and electric-powered vehicles such as cranes, excavators, and bulldozers paved the way for modern construction techniques. Despite the use of these modern machineries and techniques, waste and cost efficiency in building and home construction is yet to be achieved. As a result, in addition to waste and cost efficiency, a lot of complications regarding housing and construction still persists to this day.
However, during the third industrial revolution, an exciting development in the construction industry called ‘3D construction technology’ had been introduced to the world. This technology was to address and solve those construction complications.
In the following sections, we will shed light on the current state of 3D construction technology and how it can solve some of Bangladesh’s housing construction issues.
3D Construction Technology
If you are wondering, about the term ‘3D construction technology’, it is a form of 3D printing technique where a three-dimensional object is built from a computer-aided design model by successively adding material layers by layers.
While ‘3D Construction Technology’ may sound a little fancy and edgy, the idea is not actually new. The concept of robotic bricklaying was first brought to light in the 1950s. Over a span of 20 years starting from 1995, the 3D construction technology has experienced a significant leap.
In 1995, a 3D printing technique called ‘Contour Crafting’ was patented. Although it initially started as an innovative ceramic extrusion and shaping method, its founder, Khoshnevis, quickly realized that his technology’s true potential lies in the construction industry. Later, the technology was funded by NASA and is still being researched at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute (in the Viterbi School of Engineering) today.
After almost ten years later, in 2005, Enrico Dini, Italy, patented the D-shape technology and by then the 3D construction technology has already begun making impact on the sector by 3D printing a bridge, the first of its kind in the world, in collaboration with IaaC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) and Acciona. Eventually, other 3D construction technology-based companies such as FreeFAB Wax, MX3D Metal, BetAbram, SPECAVIA, 3DPrinthuset came to play. Eventually, in 2017, 3D Printhuset completed the Building on Demand (BOD) in the Copenhagen, Nordhavn area which is regarded as Europe’s first 3D printed building
During that same period, a lot of ambitious 3D construction project was also announced including UAE’s first 3D printed skyscraper and so on.
Advantage of 3D Construction Technology
Over the years, 3D construction technology continued to evolve as different companies adopted the idea. The possibilities are boundless and the experts are predicting great things about it because of all the potential advantages of this technology, which include faster construction time, lower labor costs, accurately achieving/completing complex designs, greater integration of function and less waste production.
For example, Discovery’s ‘This Week Program’ in 2005 reported that given 3–7 tons of material waste and the exhaust fumes from construction vehicles during standard home construction, contour crafting could significantly reduce environmental impact.
In recent years, however, this technology has seen a major increase in demand as some of the prominent companies and academicians are showing interest and investing in the research of this technology to extend it further.
Bangladesh Housing Construction Issues and 3D construction technology
Although Bangladesh is a developing country and is struggling with a lot of things, the housing sector of the country, in particular, is experiencing some major issues for a few years now. The country’s centralized economy along with people’s city-centric mentality has led Dhaka to gain a massive stream of people every year. As a result, housing-related issues have also increased rapidly.
Land prices, coupled with construction costs, have led to a rise in property prices in Dhaka. It is very hard for people with a middle-class income to buy a house in the city. Even if someone manages to buy some land and decides to build a house, the time it would take to complete the building is very long. Transportation of raw materials is another issue not just in Dhaka but all over Bangladesh.
Aside from this, according to a report published in May 2019 by the Ministry of Land, almost 2,80,368 families are homeless in the country, and that number is growing every day. There are also many natural disaster-prone areas in the country. So a rapid home construction process is needed as a way to rebuild after any unfortunate disaster.
3D construction technology can tackle all these problems and can make it more efficient. The process is almost entirely automated, so there is no traditional labor cost. Raw material transportation on a massive scale is not necessary either. Material waste and exhaust fumes from construction machineries are also very low. Construction time is very fast, some have even claimed that their 3D printing technology can build an entire house in a day. So building houses in that way is very cost and time-efficient. That means the homelessness problem and rapid rebuild after disasters can be tackled with this technology.
3D construction technology is relatively new and creating a lot of buzzes all over the sector for its revolutionary approach to reducing construction hassle. Although it is not massively accessible yet and needs much to be perfected one before go fully commercial, the future is looking bright.
So what do you think about the future of the construction industry? Will 3D construction technology play a role in reducing the housing issues of Bangladesh? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, we would love to hear them.