Three-dimensional printing in the construction industry: A review

Perkins, Isaac & Skitmore, Martin (2015) Three-dimensional printing in the construction industry: A review. International Journal of Construction Management, 15(1), pp. 1-9.

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3D printing (3Dp) has long been used in the manufacturing sector as a way to automate, accelerate production and reduce waste materials. It is able to build a wide variety of objects if the necessary specifications are provided to the printer and no problems are presented by the limited range of materials available. With 3Dp becoming cheaper, more reliable and, as a result, more prevalent in the world at large, it may soon make inroads into the construction industry. Little is known however, of 3Dp in current use the construction industry and its potential for the future and this paper seeks to rectify this situation by providing a review of the relevant literature. In doing this, the three main 3Dp methods of contour crafting, concrete printing and D-shape 3Dp are described which, as opposed to the traditional construction method of cutting materials down to size, deliver only what is needed for completion, vastly reducing waste. Also identified is 3Dp’s potential to enable buildings to be constructed many times faster and with significantly reduced labour costs. In addition, it is clear that construction 3Dp can allow the further inclusion of Building Information Modelling into the construction process - streamlining and improving the scheduling requirements of a project. However, current 3Dp processes are known to be costly, unsuited to large-scale products and conventional design approaches, and have a very limited range of materials that can be used. Moreover, the only successful examples of construction in action to date have occurred in controlled laboratory environments and, as real world trials have yet to be completed, it is yet to be seen whether it can be it equally proficient in practical situations. Key Words: 3D Printing; Contour Crafting; Concrete Printing; D-shape; Building Automation.

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ID Code: 83577
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: 3D Printing, Contour Crafting, Concrete Printing, D-shape, Building Automation
DOI: 10.1080/15623599.2015.1012136
ISSN: 2331-2327
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Construction Management and Project Planning (120201)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Science and Techniques (120202)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Construction Management on 2015, available online:
Deposited On: 15 Apr 2015 01:06
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2016 22:36

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