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Could Future Offices be 3D Printed by Robots?

Could Future Offices be 3D Printed by Robots?
30 September 2021 | Updated 01 October 2021

3D printing innovations in house building could indicate future trends in commercial real estate.

Xcavate, a London-based robotics company, combines a team of engineers, property developers and architects.

Backed by the British Robotics Seed Fund, the business aims to solve the housing crisis by creating houses in just days. Their structures can be installed under gardens using robotic diggers, creating new subterranean living spaces before restoring the lawn on top.

CEO Senake Atureliya, an electromechanical engineer, told The Metro that his robot can build “fast and safely.”

Describing the process, he said: ‘Where our method of construction differs is that we create reinforced concrete shells for the apartment and its optional sunken courtyard garden above ground, and then use robotic diggers to sink them faster than would be possible with conventional mini-excavators.’

Dominic Keen of Britbots, who has invested £175,000 in Xcavate prototype also told The Metro that “there will be an ever-greater degree of automation in construction as interest grows in prefabrication.”



Picture: a graphic showing one of Xcavate's subterranean homes in a residential garden


Growth of Prefabricated Buildings Due to COVID


The prefabricated building market in Europe is expected to grow at a rate of over 4 per cent during the period 2020−2026.

Research firm Arizton cites the COVID-19 pandemic as leading to severe uncertainty in the construction industry. As of mid-April 2020, around only 30 per cent of general construction sites were open and productivity in those sites were as low as 20 per cent of planned total work output level per day.

It is thought that prefabricated buildings may become a popular way of avoiding the spread of infection.

The one-stop solution also overcomes the hassle of limited time constraints, and the issue of dealing with multiple contractors and vendors.


The World’s Largest 3D Printed Building


In 2020, Boston-based Apis Cor worked on the most extensive example of a 3D printed building.



Picture: a photograph of the Dubai Municipality build. Image Credit: Apis Cor


Apis Cor 3D printed the wall structures of a two-story administrative building for the Dubai Municipality. Standing at 9.5 meters tall with an area of 640 square meters, it’s the world’s largest 3D printed building to date. 

The structure of the building was built directly on-site without any extra assembly works. The Apis Cor 3D printer is mobile and was moved around the construction site during implementation.


Picture: a photograph of the Dubai Municipality build, showing the printer. Image Credit: Apis Cor

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 30 September 2021


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