One of the most important contributions to GNP and countries wealth in current economic systems is given by the construction industry. The technological systems developed in the 20th century tried to reach higher levels of industrialization and standardization but faced a strong cultural resistance despite their reduced cost compared to the more conventional ones. Most non conventional systems have been proposed especially for the so called social housing sector during the past century , trying to solve pressing problems but also generating non qualified spaces without identity highly contributing to the urban blight. Despite our advanced technologies construction still represent an uncertain activity where site conditions are not totally under control while we are lacking a precise cost, schedule and quality control. Furthermore construction activities generate high pollution , both from manufacturing , building wastes with opened sites contributing to urban blight. The proposed PRINTBUILD concept face this challenges by being revolutionary and with the possibility to change the rules of the game of the construction industry as well as to minimize the ecological footprints generated. To obtain a holistic revolution that could be culturally accepted and at the same time could minimize environmental damages we must find new rules and concepts of industrial manufacturing that will require a minimum number of areas, personnel and time with better results as the conventional system at much reduced costs. We propose new methods, models, and applied technology geared to the application in architecture of additive manufacturing, also commonly known as 3D printing technology. The primary purpose is to develop 3D printed building components to accomplish the goal of getting a viable commercial rapid habitat fabrication system at very low cost, fully sustainable, and ready to use for a broad range of needs. Such components must not remain as merely substitutes of conventional ones but include most needed functions and equipment and furnishing for the habitat with new shapes and designs that can maximize the advantages of the 3d printing technology/
Our proposal wants to improve the existing technology not only by developing an entirely new industrialized system that can be assembled seamlessly on the site in minimum time but also by utilizing recycled waste materials for the building components. Such system is extremely flexible and allow assembly of construction components, through a totally dry process that allow any shape and dimension. The system consist in specialized functional panel-type ultralight plastic containers , filled with cellulose paste or construction waste as insulation material, that can be assembled in accordance with the project requirements. As an additional innovation the panels can be manufactured by utilizing 3d printing technology, on or off site as required. The materials will be provided from the recycling of waste PET plastic bottles for the container blocks of the system as well as newspaper wastes recycling for the insulating materials while plastic waste will be utilized for the finishing tiles. The proposed system will be formed by several components, the main ones being the wall, slab , roof systems nd finishing tiles. In this way we are solving several problems: -the need to innovate construction saving time and costs -transform construction in an industrialized activity of easy component assembly -elimination of uncertainty due to construction site activities – recycling waste contributing to the new green economy -utilize waste as raw material reducing resource depletion -reutilization of demolished construction waste -elimination of waste materials from construction , usually a major problem to find landfill disposal areas. -reducing urban blight caused by construction sites and public waste disposal areas -reducing power requirements and resources needed by the construction industry -Creating new jobs through an entirely new industry distributed everywhere Furthermore the 3d printing concept by being additive will resulting in major savings of resources compared to the traditional eliminating wastes , that represent, a major factor of contamination in the entire ecosystem and optimizing the material utilization. Even the building sites will be transformed from existing collection of construction materials of every type to spotless assembly lines of manufactured components in a Lego type of environment contributing to reduce pollution and urban blight. The high number of products and building types permitted by the system flexibility will contribute to build housing of high and independent energy conservation level and will provide all the urban equipment which will be needed including the possibility of easy substitution of damaged ones.
At the moment the construction industry, while supported by highly standardized building components , in its essence is still following traditional practices , including legal procedures to obtain building permits. Considering construction itself there are several issues to evaluate such as -.poor control of final costs -delays due to poorly controlled site activities and labor related issues -lack of quality due to uneven personnel skills and different trades capability -utilization of centuries old multitrade techniques and materials neglecting existing technologies capabilities while not optimizing all construction processes -Adoption of high polluting technologies for component manufacturing as well as during construction generating high volumes of wastes including the need for major landfill disposal facilities .-Heavy requirements of utilities , power and water on site –Need of heavy and large material handling equipment on site
By analyzing past experiences and recent trends we can foresee the utilization of new technologies that may change entirely the rules of the game. One of the most important is 3d printing a technology in fast development since it allows mobility and access to endless shapes. It also allow the utilization of several waste materials that not always are properly utilized and end up in natural locations causing ecological damages. Due to the durability of such wasted components it have been estimated that they will decay only after hundred ,even thousands of years especially for such . materials as : -PET type plastics -recycled paper waste -construction wastes of several type demolition and building materials -chemical wastes from containers To face the above challenges we are proposing a construction system that can utilize advanced additive (no waste) manufacturing technologies : 3d printing (on site or off site) -utilize recycled waste for its components to reduce dependence from non renewable resources (PET and plastics for the container components and recycled paper or construction waste for the insulation material) The system is composed of external and internal walls, ceiling and roof components made in PET or other plastic ultralight material with adequate shape for load resistance , filled with cellulose or construction recycled waste as insulation.
Such system will allow dry construction by assembling manufactured components as designed. Such components will allow the integration with the piping and utilities where needed and can also incorporate systems , equipment and furniture in accordance with design requirements. The building components have variable dimensions in accordance with their designated function in the construction system . for that reason there are structural components , walls, slabs, roof with the related finishes that complete the building system, including bathroom , kitchen and container units. Being an entirely new , low cost system, our goal being to reduce conventional construction costs by 70% , with fast assembly times , we estimate that a single family house of 100 sq mt can be assembled in three days by a 3 person crew.
These needs may range from basic habitation, for rapid deployment in emergency situations, for sheltering purposes in oil, gas and/or mining industries, or to be used in extreme environments, like desert and polar zones, or even to be utilized for off-earth habitation in space.
The final goal is a construction system that will include not only building components but major equipment and furniture of the housing such as bathrooms, kitchens, closets, containers, HVAC and water heating units. Separate provisions will be considered for water and waste recycling, including rain storage and utilization, vertical hydroponics farming, independent power generating and storage systems, and other technological advances to transform our houses to mini-facilities that will contribute to the green economy.