Time to consider 3D-printed flats

THERE have been countless applications for 3D-printing technology in recent years. So, it was no surprise to learn that even buildings can be "printed" ("Fancy living in a 3D-printed apartment block?"; Feb 3).

This new technology seems to have advantages over prefabricated concrete and other conventional means of construction.

A 3D-printed building is more environmentally friendly as it makes use of recycled construction materials as the "ink". No additional cement has to be produced, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions quite significantly.

It is also much more efficient and precise as construction can be completed with unprecedented speed. It would also cost less.

However, the construction sector in Singapore seems slow on the uptake of 3D-printing technology, compared with other places such as the US and China.

Perhaps it is time for the Housing Board to use 3D-printing technology as a way of building flats and other buildings in Singapore.

Studies could be conducted to determine the pros and cons of this method. Laboratory tests can also be conducted to measure the compressive and tensile strength of this new material as well as to verify claims that it will not crack and is waterproof.

Should 3D-printing of flats prove viable here, it would make housing more affordable to more Singaporeans. Successful flat applicants could also be able to collect their keys earlier.

This article was first published on Mar 16, 2015.
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