Dubai: Dubai opened the second and the largest 3D-printed building on Wednesday, three years after building the first 3D-printed fully functional building in the world.

The two-storey building of Dubai Municipality has already bagged a Guinness World Record as the largest 3D printed structure in the world in volume, Director General of Dubai Municipality Dawoud Al Hajiri said during the opening ceremony.

The building with 640sqm area and 9.5m height was built with 50per cent less manpower and 60 per cent less construction waste. It meets the sustainability requirements and the green building standards.

Largest 3D printed two storey structure in the world unveiled Logan Fish, Videographer

The building in Al Warsan will be used as an Innovation Centre of Dubai Municipality, Al Hajiri said.

The building had been constructed entirely under normal natural climatic conditions, which was the most difficult challenge and the speciality of the project, he said.

“It wasn’t an easy project. It was a difficult project to achieve,” said Al Hajiri.

“We have succeeded. It is a global achievement and a turning point at the local and regional levels.”

He said the technology will increase the pace and speed of execution and completion of buildings in record time, and reduce construction costs and labour.

The experimental project had started almost a year ago. However, with the experience gained from the project, a building of this size would now require only up to three months for building using the 3D printing technology while the conventional construction method would take almost a year, he explained.

Cost-effective

3D printed buildings are cost effective compared to the conventional buildings, Al Hajiri pointed out.

While the conventional construction could cost up to Dh2.5million for a similar building, the 3D printed project of the same size would cost from Dh80,000 to Dh1million, he said, without revealing the exact amount spent on the project.

The building has passed all the safety checks and will have normal durability as the conventional ones, said Al Hajiri.

He said the success of the project shows that there is an opportunity for the 3D printing companies. “Dubai is becoming a hub for this kind of technology.”

The project used a locally manufactured 3D printer and special materials including certain adhesives and regular construction materials such as cement, gypsum, sand etc.

The printing mix was created from local materials and will be the intellectual property of Dubai Municipality.

The foundation used both conventional and 3D printing methods, while the roof slabs were made of conventional construction materials.

A Dubai Municipality team comprising Emiratis was behind the project.

How is it built?

A time-lapse video that was screened during the opening ceremony showed how the 3D printer constructed the building layer by layer.

A pump kept inside the printing machine pumps out the raw materials for construction and forms the layers, explained Waleed Mosaad, project manager with the Building Permits Department.

Al Hajiri said the walls are printed directly from the printer, unlike the traditional method of construction, which depends on the work of tightening wooden pieces with nuts and bolts, reinforcement and pouring of concrete and making bricks.

Municipality officials said they implemented MEP engineering principles in the building and it has all the amenities that are available in conventional buildings.

“We printed under 40 to 50 degrees of heat. Humidity was sometimes 80 percent and there was rain,” said Wala’a Majid Abdo Al Mubaideen who was part of the project.

She said the area is likely to become a future hub for 3D printed buildings.

Rules and regulations

Al Hajiri said Dubai Municipality had already formulated rules and regulations for the implementation of 3D printing technology in the construction sector.

In May 2016, Dubai opened the first 3D-printed office in the world, the Office of the Future. His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai inaugurated the unique building in the premises of the Emirates Towers. It houses the temporary office of the Dubai Future Foundation.

It was opened after less than a month of launching the Dubai 3D printing strategy which showcases a modern model of construction. Dubai aims to construct 25 percent of the future buildings using 3D printing and become a leading global centre of 3D printing by 2030.