Singapore’s public housing authority, the Housing Development Board (HDB) is exploring the usage of 3D-printing technology for certain small components in two upcoming developments, the Tengah and Bidadari estates.
The technology will be used for landscape furniture and architectural features in common areas at the selected projects. These include void deck designs and texture, such as customized sun and rain screens, and 3D-artwork panels. The Bidadari estate is scheduled to be completed by 2022, while the first of five housing districts to be developed in Tengah is slated for completion by 2023.
HDB which provides housing for more than 80% of Singapore’s citizens has been testing 3D concrete printing at the HDB Centre of Building Research in Woodlands. A printer at the facility can produce components up to 9 meter in length, 3.5 meter wide and 3.8 meter in height. A room measuring 3.6 meter by 3 meter by 2.75 meter was printed out recently by the machine in 13 hours. Factoring in the time taken for manual insertion of steel reinforcement bars into the structure and fitting in windows and a door, the process of building the room was completed in around six days, compared to over two months required to build a similar room using the conventional precast production method.
HDB is studying whether the structural integrity of 3D-printed components will remain intact over a long period and in Singapore’s climate before deploying the technology widely. At the moment, using 3D-printing is also more expensive than conventional construction methods. If the cost of 3D printing decreases, it could significantly improve construction productivity in the future. HDB set a target of improving productivity by 25% by 2020 compared to 2010 levels and it had already achieved 17.8% improvement by 2018. The use of 3D-printing could also potentially allow for more unconventional designs than traditional precast methods.
(Sources: Straits Times; Channel NewsAsia)