Aug 23, 2017 | By Benedict

Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company has published a report that identifies 3D printing as a key area of “construction’s digital future.” The report also looks at 5D building information modeling, IoT, and other technologies.

3D printing in the construction industry might not be the most fully formed area of additive manufacturing—most 3D printed houses and buildings can be seen as formative efforts—but construction can undoubtedly become one of the most large-scale applications for additive.

This opinion has now been backed up by management consulting firm McKinsey, which has identified 3D printing as a key part of “construction’s digital future.”

The report looks at five trends that will shape construction and capital projects:

  1. Higher-definition surveying and geolocation
  2. Next-generation 5D building information modeling
  3. Digital collaboration and mobility
  4. The Internet of Things and advanced analytics
  5. Future-proof design and construction

Though the ambiguous-sounding term “5D building” might trigger excitement for makers, it is actually the “future-proof design and construction” category into which 3D printing falls.

WinSun 3D printed villa in China

In this area, McKinsey says that “new building materials, such as self-healing concrete, aerogels, and nanomaterials, as well as innovative construction approaches, such as 3D printing and preassembled modules, can lower costs and speed up construction while improving quality and safety.”

And while the consulting firm admits that 3D printing isn’t totally there yet in terms of major project readiness, it predicts that additive could be a major parts of future building work.

Printing submodules or complete concrete structures before assembly and internal work could transform the industry with respect to design, cost, and time,” the report states, while conceding that “3D printing is still in the early stages of its development and cannot yet be deployed at the scale and speed required for large projects.”

3D printed office in Dubai

Of course, 3D printing only makes up part of what McKinsey describes as “future-proof” design and construction techniques. Other technologies within this bracket include preassembly (for the off-site construction of modular building components) and robot-assembled construction, which is earmarked as being especially useful for “repetitive and predictable activities, such as tiling, bricklaying, welding and spool fabrication, demolition, and concrete recycling.”

But before construction firms lay their first brick (or extrude their first layer), they must first draw up comprehensive blueprints, and the McKinsey report also looks at the ways building design will change in the future.

A big part of construction’s future will purportedly lie with “5D building information modeling,” a more advanced (though we wouldn’t necessarily say more dimensional) form of 3D modeling that also incorporates the factors of schedule and budget into CAD projects.

“Next-generation 5D BIM is a five-dimensional representation of the physical and functional characteristics of any project,” the report states. “It considers a project’s cost and schedule in addition to the standard spatial design parameters in 3D.”

ORNL's sustainable 3D printed AMIE home

What this means is that construction firms could bring together their currently disparate software tools for 3D modeling, budget planning, and schedule planning, integrating them into a single system that treats the entire process as one. a 5D BIM platform would allow companies to instantly assess the impact of certain changes in terms of their 3D structure, cost, and time.

“The visual and intuitive nature of 5D BIM gives contractors a better chance to identify risks earlier and thus to make better decisions,” McKinsey adds.

The purpose of the McKinsey report is not only to look at which technologies will shape the future of construction, but also to advise businesses on how they can get on board. That all starts with a willingness to “adopt a new mindset” and discuss the possibilities of new management, return-on-investment orientation, and the introduction of transparency and risk-sharing in contracts.

With trusted sources like McKinsey flying the flag for additive manufacturing, it’s surely only a matter of time before we see more 3D printed buildings and construction projects on the horizon.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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Campbell wrote at 8/30/2017 5:25:46 AM:

Please can you post a link to the report?

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