Guyana’s first 3D printed house to debut at Building Expo
By Vishani Ragobeer
You might have seen concrete houses made from hollow blocks and cement plastered on the walls, but have you ever seen a concrete house made from a printer?
At the upcoming International Building Expo, Guyanese will be able to witness the construction of the country’s first 3D printed concrete house, a feat that is just a glimpse of the technology being infused into the countrywide housing development.
“We are really raising the bar with building expo and technology,” Minister within the Ministry of Housing Susan Rodrigues said on Saturday.
She was joined by Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Black Buffalo 3D printing, Todd Grimm and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Maraiko Bay Resort, Leo Powell at the National Stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara, where preparations for this week’s building expo are ongoing.
The expo will be held from July 22 to 24.
Rodrigues explained that the aim of the expo is not only to illustrate current developments in Guyana’s housing and infrastructure sectors but also to show how the country intends to herald future development.
And three-dimensional (3D) printing, on an industrial scale, is one future development prospect to aid the country’s ambitious transformational agenda.
In fact, Minister Rodrigues said, “… we’ll need to employ the use of modern technology pin order to ensure that we deliver on our targets not only in housing but in terms of infrastructure in general for our country.”
Already, the printer has been programmed to print one of the Housing Ministry’s 600 square feet low-income houses. If done all at once, printing that house should take about 15 hours. But the printing will be done over the three days of the expo.
Black Buffalo’s COO explained that a concrete frame is printed on top of a pre-existing foundation. Doors and windows are not printed and so, it still requires human assembly.
And he believes that it is about 20 to 30 per cent cheaper, in the long run, to print the house instead of traditionally building it. He also emphasised that the strength of the printed concrete is much greater.
Meanwhile, Minister Rodrigues noted that these printed concrete houses are built in keeping with high international standards, making the actual construction (printing) more expensive.
She, however, said, “… when you think about the overall factors, the time saving, the cost for human resources labour and so on, it balances out.”
Beyond houses, investors are eyeing the integration of this technology in the local infrastructural sector. The Maraiko Bay CEO said that the company first mulled the use of 3D printing to develop the Maraiko Bay oceanfront resort at Mahaica, East Coast Demerara but now he believes that that technology can be used at the government’s massive Silica City development and in other countrywide infrastructural works.