🕑 Reading time: 1 minute
3D printing has revolutionized the construction industry with faster results, less labor costs, and net-zero emissions. A huge milestone was achieved in this area with the completion of the largest 3D printed building made with real concrete in Muscat, Oman.
The project was undertaken by the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) along with Danish 3D printer producer COBOD and Mexican cement company Cemex.
Though Oman is not new to 3D printed buildings, this one is unique as it is made from real concrete instead of the traditional dry mix mortar.
COBOD and CEMEX developed a concrete-like solution called D.fab solution consisting of locally available cement, sand, and gravel to print the building. The solution is easier to deposit and was first tested for the construction of a 3D-printed building in Angola.
The Omani project employed about 99.5% of locally available materials and only 0.5% material from Europe, thereby lowering the construction costs to less than €1,600 which would have otherwise been higher with the usage of dry printable mix mortar.
The 2,100 sq. ft. building was designed as a typical social housing unit with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a guest reception area.
The house was printed in two stages. In the first stage, the building crew was trained while the materials recipe was adjusted, and the second stage saw the construction being completed within five days.
The project was unveiled at an event held in December 2021 that was attended by more than 200 dignitaries, including the finance minister of Oman. It is considered to be a small step towards Oman’s Vision 2040 initiative of achieving a diversified and sustainable economy.
Henrik Lund-Nielsen, the founder and general manager of COBOD, urged various cement and concrete manufacturers to make a solution for making real concrete from local materials for mass application of the technology. He further added that the new technology, owing to its lower costs and minimal crew requirement, could transform the construction industry all over the world.