Will 3D “Printing” of buildings eliminate construction defects?

Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars has an ambitious plan for a new home on the coast of Ireland. Using a so-called 3D printer, the architect will pre-fabricate the Möbius strip concrete shell in 6 by 9 meter segments.

While many are reporting that this will be the first building from a 3D printer, only the forms for the concrete shell will come from the 3D printer. According 3ders.org:

Ruijssenaars plans to print every piece in size of 6 x 9 meters using a massive 3D printer called D-Shape. Designed by Italian inventor Enrico Dini, the D-Shape is potentially capable of printing a two story building using thin layers of sand and an inorganic binder to build up its constructions. Will the result be strong enough?

Ruijssenaars says Dini has suggested to print out the form only. And this “contours” of the house will be then filled with fiber reinforced concrete to get the desired strength.

In my mind, this reignites an ongoing debate within the industry: Will pre-fabrication (through various methods) prevent and/or eliminate construction defects? My answer is no. Many building components are already pre-fabricated, and while manufactured building products typically exhibit low rates of defects, those components still require proper assembly.

Here is a video from Ruijssenaars’ firm Universe Architecture showcasing the house’s design:

Via 3ders.org and Slashdot

Update: Irish insurance firm CRL indicates that a home like this would likely be required to carry structural insurance, as the 3D Printing is no guarantee of defect-free construction.

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