Saudi to use 3D-printing to tackle housing crisis

Published August 7th, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
Hi-tech houses will help alleviate Saudi Arabia's housing crisis. (Shuttestock)
Hi-tech houses will help alleviate Saudi Arabia's housing crisis. (Shuttestock)

Saudi officials have begun studying the use of 3D-printed houses as a way to solve the housing crisis in the Kingdom, which is expected to affect some 1.5 million people during the next five years. The homes are printed in prefabricated panels, which are fit together on site.

Saudi officials met with representatives of WinSun Decoration Design Engineering, a Chinese company that specializes in 3D printing, to explore the possibilities of this technology and to discuss how it could be used by the Ministry of Housing and other government bodies, as well as by research and development companies. 

The firm gave a presentation on its skills and showed models for houses that have already been built in a number of countries, in addition to a building that was opened in the UAE last May. They also shared information on the first 3D-printed building in the Gulf — Future Office. 

Following the high-profile meeting, it was not clear whether a deal will be signed to make this technology part of the housing crisis solution in Saudi Arabia. 

The company’s representatives, however, said the use of 3D technology decreases the cost of labor by 70 percent and decreases construction waste by 60 percent. 

The technology mixes waste construction material, glass, steel and cement together to form the houses, which is then sprayed on each surface to form a solid wall. According to the company, a unit can be printed in one day, and a small house can be built in just 30 minutes. 

Dubai is the first city in the Gulf to use this technology. It says by 2030, 25 percent of its homes will be 3D printed.

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