3D printing to influence the building material manufacturers

In 2014 more architects expect the 3D printing to have a substantial effect on the manufacturers of building materials. These are some of the results of the Q2 2014 European Architectural Barometer report, focusing on the topic “Architectural Design & Technology Trends”.

In countries like China, USA and the Netherlands, there are architects competing in being the frontrunners in creating the first 3D printed buildings. An idea that only a couple of years ago sounded very bold, seems to be not far away from its actual realisation. A Shanghai-based engineering company announced in April this year that they have successfully constructed 10 full-sized, single-story houses in the impressive 24-hour period, reducing construction costs by repurposing of old construction materials and reducing labour costs, printing each house for under $5,000.

The initiatives undertaken around the globe can also be seen coming back in the opinion of the architects in the European Architectural barometer. Almost in all European countries the number of the architects expecting that the 3D printing will have a significant effect on the manufacturers of building materials has grown within the last year.

The Spanish and the Italian architects have the most believe belief in this. The share of the British and the German architects expecting the building manufacturer to be affected by the 3D printing has increased most significantly. The architects from those two countries were the most skeptic ones in 2013.

The attempts for 3D printing have just started and whether this new building technique will have its real breakthrough in the future is still difficult to say. But it is undisputedly that via the 3D printing many of the current market requirements may be met by ensuring cost effective, sustainable and fast construction of custom made architecture. For the manufacturers of building materials remains the questions in what way they will play a role in the whole process. For them monitoring the developments in this area in the coming years will be essential.

These and many other results and trends of the developments of the European construction market can be found in the European Architectural Barometer, an international market research conducted among 1,600 architects in Europe. This study is conducted in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland by Arch-Vision four times a year. Besides indicators to forecast the European building volumes, a specific topic is highlighted each quarter. The topic in Q2 2014 was “Architectural design & Technology trends”. Architects can be used not only as a reliable source for future building volumes information, but their role is very important as they have great influence on how projects are built and which materials are used.