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The tale of construction, in one
way or the other, begins with the
beginning of human beings.
Development of infrastructure
such as roads, water supply,
power supply, sanitation etc have
always been considered vital for
leading a decent standard of life.
The Future of Construction
Construction is one of the largest industries in the world economy – worth A$10
trillion globally (equivalent to 13% of GWP).
But construction has suffered for decades from remarkably poor productivity
compared to other sectors. While agriculture and manufacturing have increased
productivity 10-15 times since the 1950s, construction remains stuck at the same
level as 60 years ago.
That’s because construction remains largely manual, while manufacturing and other
industries have made significant progress in the use of digital, sensing and
automation technologies.
Problems facing construction
Our modern civil infrastructure is almost entirely built with concrete. We use more
than 20 billion tons of concrete per year. The only material we use more than that is
The construction industry is facing a number of serious problems, including low
labour efficiency and high accident rates at construction sites. According to
the Statistics, the construction industry has the highest rate of work-related injuries
(59 per 1000 workers).
There are also difficulties in quality control at construction sites, high levels
of waste and carbon emissions, cost blow-outs, and challenges in managing large
worksites with a vanishing skilled workforce.
We could 3D print buildings using robots
and drones
We and other research groups see 3D-printed concrete as a possible solution to these
problems. The technique will likely also give architects the freedom to inject more
creativity into their designs for new structures.
3D construction uses additive manufacturing techniques, which means objects are
constructed by adding layers of material.
Conventional approaches to construction involve casting concrete into a mould
(known as formwork). But additive construction combines digital technology and
new insights from materials technology to allow free-form construction without the
use of formwork.
Eliminating the cost of formwork is the major economic driver of 3D concrete
printing. Built using materials such as timber, formwork accounts for about 60% of
the total cost of concrete construction. It’s also a significant source of waste, given
that it is discarded sooner or later. According to a 2018 study, the construction
industry generates 80% of total worldwide waste.
Pouring concrete into formwork also limits the creativity of architects to build unique
shapes, unless very high costs are paid for bespoke formwork. Free-form additive
construction could enhance architectural expression. The cost of producing a
structural component would not be tied to the shape, so construction could be freed
from the rectangular designs that are so familiar in current building architecture.
What we could build
3D concrete printing is being explored for use in the construction of houses, bridges,
buildings and even wind turbine towers.
Russian company Apis Cor built this house in just 24 hours using their concrete 3D printer.
It was the first such house to be built in a single location.
An 8-metre 3D-printed concrete bridge for cyclists was unveiled in the Netherlands
last year. The bridge, which was printed by Eindhoven University of Technology, has
more than 800 layers and took three months to print.
Intricate structures
3D concrete printing has an advantage over conventional construction methods
when it comes to building non-rectilinear shapes, such as curved shapes with
intricate details.
It’s still early days
This field of research is still in its infancy.
The biggest hurdle in the development of concrete 3D printing is the concrete itself.
Conventional concrete in its current form is not suitable for 3D printing, so new and
innovative alternatives need to be developed.
Researchers are exploring various types of concrete. The concrete for 3D printing
must not set when it’s inside the printer, but it needs to set and strengthen as soon
after it is extruded as possible. This kind of concrete is called “set-on-demand”.
3D Printing: The Future of
In 2004, Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of South Carolina attempted
the first 3D printed wall. Since then, this innovation has exploded and it’s now possible
to build a house in just 20 hours! The professor developed an FDM 3D printer, mounted
on a robotic arm, that extrudes concrete layers instead of plastic to create a 3D model.
This Contour Crafting technology demonstrated all the qualities needed to use additive
manufacturing on construction sites: reduction in costs and waste, faster
construction speed, reduction of accidents, complex architectural shapes, and
more. His discovery marked the beginning of 3D printing in construction. However, it
remains much less used than certain sectors such as aeronautics or medical.
Large scale, industrial concrete printers can create whole house structures autonomously.
Construction giants are quickly realising the potential of 3D technologies and their
impact on the future of construction. The concrete 3D printing market is expected to
reach $56.4m in 2021, and with good reason. More and more companies are starting up
in the sector to create new, innovative projects. Some are more futuristic, some are very
real in the present, such as Apis Cor’s 3D printed house in 24 hours. 3D concrete
printing is developing rapidly and relies on different technologies and materials,
offering many benefits to its users. The tech is still in its infancy however and is bound
by current limitations.
What 3D printing processes in the construction sector?
1 – Robotic Arm Extruders
The Contour Crafting method involves the building material being deposited to create
a large-scale 3D model with a smooth surface finish. Rails are installed around the
building ground that will act as a structure to direct the robotic arm. It moves back and
forth to extrude the concrete, layer-by-layer. Trowels placed on the side and above the
nozzle to flatten the extruded layers and ensure the model’s strength.
In this process, conventional concrete cannot be used as it would need to harden before
you could continue the process. If it was 3D printed it therefore wouldn’t be able to
support its own weight. Therefore, concrete is used with quick setting properties.
Contour Crafting (company with the same name as the method) are very discreet about
their progress. Chinese construction company WinSun Decoration Engineering Co
describes it as able to “steal the show” however. These machines are huge (32m long,
10m wide and 6.6m tall). This enables them to 3D print full structures and assemble
them on the spot. This is done through mixing concrete and glass fibres on-site and then
printing. This feat made made builders and construction workers aware of additive
Constructions-3D are a competing company who are also trying to 3D print large concrete buildings using this
Competing Companies
The different market players have developed machines using a variety of different
technologies to 3D print concrete. French company Constructions-3D have created a
polar 3D printer which prints whilst inside the construction site, and then leave through
the front door of the building once construction is finished. It consists of a mechanical
base, and robotic arm with a nozzle for extruding the material at the end. This arm offers
a printable area of more than 250 m² and over 8 metres high.
Cazza Construction’s robot is similar to this, involving a mobile crane system allowing
them to 3D print a far wider area and create larger and taller structures. This is shown
in past prints from companies like Apis Cor and XtreeE, quickly creating whole houses.
Other companies have specialised in extruding materials other than concrete with this
technology. BatiPrint 3D’s patented process is a striking example: the University of
Nantes, Bouygues Construction and Lafarge Holcim joined forces to develop an
industrial robot that prints 3 layers of material at once. Two of these layers are a
polymeric foam, with the third layer being concrete. Benoit Furet, professor at the
University of Nantes explains “the foam brings inner and outer insulation; concrete and
reinforcement the antiseismic bearing structure. “
Batiprint 3D are a French company aiming to 3D print large structures.
2 – Sand layers linked together
Italian architect Enrico Dini first made waves as ‘the man who 3D prints houses.’ More
recently, he demonstrated an interesting 3D printing process using his ‘D-Shape’ 3D
printer. This machine relies on the binding of powder which makes it possible to solidify
a layer of material with a binder. Layers of sand are deposited according to the desired
thickness before a print head pours droplets (the binder) to harden the sand. This 4 x 4
metre machine can create large structures of up to 6 cubic metres in size.
The print site where the D-Shape will 3D print a concrete structure.
3 – Metal for solid structures
Dutch company MX3D have developed a unique construction method called WAAM
(Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing), which enables you to 3D print metal structures
with a 6-axis robot that drops 2 kilos of material per hour.
This robot was the result of collaboration with Air Liquide and ArcelorMittal and is
equipped with a welder and a nozzle to weld, layer-by-layer, metal rods. This process
is also compatible with other metal allows such as stainless steel, bronze, aluminium
and Inconel. The machine can be likened to a sort of giant soldering iron. The team
commented that “we combined an industrial robot with a welding machine to turn it
into a 3D printer that works with our own software.”
MX3D are one of a number of innovative startups in the 3D printed house sector.
Though conceptualised by startups, these projects often require support by bigger names
in construction. The Royal BAM Group partnered with Eindhoven University of
Technology to design a 3D printed concrete bridge for cyclists. In addition, Bouygues
Construction turned to 3D printing to build houses in the Lille, France. Moreover, Vinci
Construction partnered with French startup XtreeE to test the construction of complex
structures, and Swedish group Skanska recently collaborated with the University of
Loughborough to develop a 3D concrete printing process.
“we combined an industrial robot with a welding machine to
turn it into a 3D printer that works with our own software,” –
MX3D team.
Why use 3D printing in construction?
Firstly, 3D printing concrete saves a lot of time. In particular, using these technologies
potentially reduces a 2 week job to just 3-4 days. Moreover, this reduces risks of injury
at work. Benoit Furet at the University of Nantes explains “the reduction of the hardship
and the risks is a reality, we realized rays of 3.8m of height without any scaffolding. In
addition, the construction site is very quiet.”
His team managed to print in 3D a 95m² house, and the first 3D printed social housing
in the city. Benoit says their BatiPrint technology has also made it easier to create curved
shapes at a lower cost. Moreover, as 3D printers don’t need to eat or sleep, they don’t
stop working until the project is finished. This greatly reduces waiting times.
Advantages of 3D printing in construction
In terms of materials usage, 3D printing is economical. With additive rather than
subtractive processes, less materials are used than traditional manufacturing processes.
This reduces the environmental impact as less waste is produced. Romain Duballet, one
of the co-founders of XtreeE, explains “with an increased geometric mastery, we can
build optimized shapes to limit the amount of materials used.”
However, there are still caveats to the dream of 3D printing houses, bridges
and skyscrapers. Axel Thèry of Constructions-3D explains that “the main difficulties
come from the fact that the process of 3D printing buildings is not today recognized as
a construction method by many codes and standards bodies. As the printed structures
are not traditional, the calculations of resistance and resistance in time are difficult to
realize, that is why the habitable works will have to be tested on a case by case basis at
the beginning.” These standards bodies are concerned whether these structures are
really solid and if they can withstand their environments.
Constructions-3D’s machine resembles a huge tractor, and 3D prints concrete to make large structures.
3D printed house: a solution to the housing crisis?
Since 3D printing now allows structures to be created more quickly, it is ideal to combat
the housing crisis. Some companies are gravitating towards additive manufacturing as
a result. This includes Italian company WASP, which aims to build a more sustainable
world through 3D printing. They have developed one of the world’s largest 3D printers
which is capable of building homes from locally sourced materials using solar, wind, or
hydro power. This enables regions that don’t yet have access to electricity to 3D print
environmentally friendly structures with local resources.
WASP 3D printers at work to create a future where environmentally friendly materials create 3D printed houses.
Similarly in Brazil, Anielle Guedes founded Urban3D to respond to Brazil’s housing
crisis. Her company 3D prints parts of buildings in a dedicated factory before
assembling them on-site. This enables her to create buildings of a height that is not
possible if 3D printing was done on-site. The company is currently testing several
prototypes and hopes to provide a solution to the development of Brazilian shantytowns.
Russian company Apis Cor is also convinced of the positive impact that 3D printing
can have on housing. Founder and CEO Nikita Chen-iun-tai explains, “we believe that
additive manufacturing is an effective solution against the housing crisis and that is why
we have developed our project. We hope that in a few years this approach will be
thoroughly tested in different parts of the world to demonstrate its feasibility. We
believe that more and more construction companies will adopt this technology, as it is
already the case for some today.”
3D Printing is the
only solution for
future ??
Energy Sustainability
Khalid Al Aasmi
OGBC chairman
HM speech
“In this matter, we emphasize to press ahead the
implementation of development policy according to the
approved plans; and we emphasize the importance to
diversify sources of income and exert more efforts in this
matter. In addition, we emphasize to utilize alternatives for
generating power and to achieve food security. We have
directed the concerned authorities to prepare proper plans
for this matter”.
The annual session of the
Council of Oman 2008

Suitability concept
Renewable energy resources in Oman
New projects in renewable energy
Echo-houses in Oman
Challenges of renewable energy
Sustainability Concept
Ability to maintain rates
of renewable resource
Ability to support a defined
level of economic
Ability of a social system
Renewable Energy Resources
Solar Power
Wave energy
Wind Power
Geothermal energy
Hydro Power
Karthiyayini Sridharan. 2015. Availability
of renewable energy in Oman
Solar Energy
The energy received by the earth from sun.
 Heat up water
 Create warm
 Charge certain devices
Types of solar energy:
 Passive solar energy (Drying clothes)
 Active solar energy (solar water heating system)
 Photovoltaic solar energy
 Solar thermal solar energy
 Concentrated solar energy
Oman has a high ratio of sky clearance
1. Manah site is ranked first between 6.47-6.85 kWh/m2/day
2. Adam Site is ranked second of 6.61 kWh/m2/day
3. Ibri Site is ranked third of 6.26 kW/m2/day
GGR. 2019. Oman
Wind Energy
The process by which wind is used to generate power
Alternative Energy News. 2019.
Wind Turbines
The electricity generation starts at a wind speed of
approximately 4 m/s at hub
height and at 12-13 m/s the output is equal to the
rated power
H.-J. Wagner. 2017.
Introduction to wind
energy systems
First large-scale wind farm to start operations in 2020
( capacity ~ 200 MW)
Biofuel Energy
Liquid fuels derived from plant materials
Common used biofuel:
 Ethanol
 Biodiesel
 Biobutanol
Biogas resources material for generation is
primarily available in the
northern part of Oman in the forms of waste
water and agriculture waste and in
the southern part of Oman in the forms of waste
water, animal dung and agriculture
Stephanie Davidson. 2014.
Sustainable Bioenergy: Genomics
and Biofuels Development
Geothermal Energy
Energy derived from the natural heat of the
earth(shallow ground and hot rocks)
World Bank Group. 2004.
Harnessing Geothermal
The highest observed temperatures are located in
the northern part of Oman in
the Omani mountains.
The highest observed borehole temperature is 174
ºC. This temperature is below
the temperature required for directly use of the hot
water for steam power plants.
Vallourec. 2017. Advanced premium
solutions for geothermal energy projects
Wave Energy
Energy developed due to winds interacting with the
surface of the ocean or sea
The wave energy potential in the Arabian Sea is among the
lowest in the world.
The wave energy flux in the open sea is in the order of 17 kW
per m wave
length, corresponding to 150,000 kWh/m/year- Along the coast
to the Arabian
Sea the wave energy flux is lower than at the open sea
Britain and Portugal have made the furthest advances
with Wave Energy technology
envirogroupmohawk. 2016.
Wave energy
Pilot renewable energy projects
A 20 kW system for installation on a building
in an urban environment:
 20 kWp solar PV panels
(approximately 200 m2
conventional panels) mounted in
an urban environment.
 A 20 kW power converter to
convert the DC from the panels to
AC voltage for the grid.
 A connection to the grid including
a power meter.
10 kW solar PV / diesel hybrid system:
 At a first phase it is suggested to make a pilot project
including two different concepts.
Concept 1 – One system with 10 kW solar PV, 10 kW diesel and
battery storage.
Concept 2 – One system with 5 kW solar PV, 10 kW diesel and
without battery.
Wind turbine:
 The project implemented in the Thumrait/Quiroon Hariti
area where the highest wind energy potential in Oman is
HCT Echo-house
HCT GreenNest Main Features:
 House Orientation
Well-executed floor planning to maximize the use of natural light and
wind direction
Water System
Recycled used water system for plants irrigation
Walls and roof
Extreme weather proof materials, used insulated concrete form for a
thinner but tougher wall compared to pillar-walled homes
Nizwa Echo-house
A 300 liter solar water heater is used to supply hot water to the house,
which will save the energy used to heat the water in traditional house
Using solar water heater considerable
savings of 4914 kWh per year and that
may cost 49.14 RO per annum in this
eco- house
through the reuse of treated water 50% of the water demand shall be saved
Aerobic bacteria present on the media removes
pollutants. Innovative draft system provides required
oxygen for aerobic bacteria
SQU Eco-house
The concept of the secondary light shell is to be placed
outside the main building shell to intercept and dissipate
most of the solar heat impact before it reaches the main
shell of the building.
Thermalite Autoclaved Aerated
Concrete (AAC) blocks
Diffuse north light to enter the
spaces on this s …
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