Education chiefs in the northeast are hoping a new training course in 3D concrete printing will help contribute to addressing the need to build more affordable homes, at a quicker pace in Ireland.
The course, being run by Louth and Meath Education Training board, is the first of its kind in the country.
The use of 3D concrete printing in Ireland is currently limited.
LMETB said it identified the need for training in this area, in the hope it could contribute positively to Ireland’s current need for new housing.
“The technology is here but the training has not been provided by anyone” explains Martin O’Brien, who is Chief Executive Louth Meath Education Training Board.
“We saw an opportunity and potential in this technology to provide houses cheaper, quicker and more efficiently,” he said.
“We’re provide training for architects, technicians, designers and builders so they can become familiar with the technology” he added.
Other countries including the United States and the Netherlands are already building properties with 3D printers.
“Labour and productivity are the main drivers for this technology. We really do see it making a difference in social housing but also delivering at a rapid rate” explains Marchant van den Heever who is a trainer with LMETB.
“We’re seeing a global uptake on this technology. German regulations have been passed on it. The UAE showing a lot of interest as well as the US” he said.
“Obviously it depends on the size of the house but we’re moving a 1,500sqm an hour so you can do a three-bedroom house in less than a week” he said.
The course is aimed at architects, designers, builders and other people working in the construction sector.
Mark McGowan, a former joiner and now trainer, said 3D concrete printing is the way of the future.
“In certain areas of the construction industry, it’s going to be a no-brainer” he said.
“What we see if practical and more cost-effective and every month, with more research and development, it’s only going to get faster” he added.
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said he welcomed new approaches and innovation in the construction sector “that reduces costs and speeds up delivery while maintaining high standards”.
He pointed to the Housing for All housing plan which commits that the Government will drive innovation and productivity in order to reduce residential construction costs.
He added that a new national Construction Technology Centre will support these new advancements in technology.