Exploring the Adoption of 3D Printing for Reducing Capital and Operational Costs of Façades in Office Buildings

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The construction sector is one of the most important sectors worldwide today. Everyday lives of humans revolve around the use of infrastructure and buildings that are created by construction companies hence their importance in society today. For a long time, people have taken for granted the technologies or innovations that they use today and hardly try to dig into the people or companies behind the innovations. For several years, people have described the construction industry as conservative because of its reluctance and delay in adopting new technology. In fact, others largely view the construction industry as regressive in light of other industries such as automobile and manufacturing. What people fail to take into consideration is the complexity of the construction process that has driven away several personnel who initially had the interest of working in the sector. However, the construction industry is warming up to 3D printing technology that could have numerous benefits to the sector. The main purpose of this qualitative research is to explore 3D printing components and understand how they can impact the capital and operational cost of a façade of an office building. This research relies on both primary and secondary data sources. Various literatures serve as the secondary sources of data while primary data is collected through interviews with participants with knowledge of 3D printing and who have previously used or who currently use 3D printing technology in the construction sector. The reviews and the research findings indicate that 3D printing components lead to a reduction in the capital and operational cost. A major limitation of this study is that it mainly focused on participants with knowledge on 3D printing or who have worked with or are currently using 3D printing technology in the construction sector within Dubai. Also, the study focused on a limited number of participants. Thus, future studies should focus on collecting data from more participants to ensure validity and accuracy of results.
3D printing, office buildings, construction sector, United Arab Emirates (UAE)