Education chiefs in Ireland, where the use of 3D concrete printing is currently limited, are hoping a new training course in 3D concrete printing will help contribute to addressing the need to build more affordable homes, at a quicker pace. The course is the first of its kind in the country and is being run by Louth and Meath Education Training Board (LMETB).
LMETB said it identified the need for training in this area, and hopes that the new 3D concrete printing course will contribute positively to Ireland’s current need for new housing. “The technology is here but the training has not been provided by anyone,” said Martin O’Brien, Chief Executive of Louth Meath Education Training Board.
“We saw an opportunity and potential in this technology to provide houses cheaper, quicker and more efficiently,” he continued. “We’re providing training for architects, technicians, designers, and builders so they can become familiar with the technology.”
Other countries, including the United States and the Netherlands, are already building properties with 3D printers.
“Labour and productivity are the main drivers for this technology. We really do see it making a difference in social housing but also delivering at a rapid rate,” said Marchant van den Heever, a trainer with LMETB.
“We’re seeing a global uptake on this technology. German regulations have been passed on it. The UAE showing a lot of interest as well as the US,” continued Marchant van den Heever. “Obviously it depends on the size of the house but we’re moving at 1,500sqm an hour so you can do a three-bedroom house in less than a week.”
“In certain areas of the construction industry, it’s going to be a no-brainer,” said Mark McGowan, a former joiner, and now trainer, who believes 3D concrete printing is the way of the future. “What we see is practical and more cost-effective and every month, with more research and development, it’s only going to get faster.”
Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien, said that he welcomed new approaches and innovation in the construction sector “that reduces costs, and speeds up delivery, while maintaining high standards”.
Darragh O’Brien pointed to the Housing for All housing plan which commits the Government to drive innovation and productivity in order to reduce residential construction costs, adding that a new national Construction Technology Centre will support these new advancements in technology.