No segment of construction is immune to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to ReportLinker, the global modular and prefabricated nonresidential building construction market is expected to decline from $54.68 billion in 2019 to $49.96 billion in 2020 at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of -8.63%.

The decline is mainly due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has led to restrictive measures such as social distancing, remote working, and the closure of industries and other commercial activities. The entire supply chain has been disrupted, impacting the market negatively. However, it is expected to recover and reach $73.1 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 13.53%.

The modular and prefabricated non-residential building construction market covered in this report is segmented by type into standard metal, agricultural metal, modular nonmetal, and panelized precast nonmetal, and by application into institutional, industrial, commercial, and agricultural.

One finding is that 3D printing can be used to create construction components or to print entire buildings. 3D printing construction is primarily used for building complex components for private, commercial, and industrial construction. It provides advantages such as low labor costs, faster construction, and higher accuracy. Today, 3D constructed buildings are a reality

The DFAB HOUSE is the world’s first inhabited house that was both digitally planned and built. Launched in February 2019, DFAB HOUSE is distinctive in that it is not only digitally designed and planned but also built using predominantly digital processes, both on-site and off-site. Its design concept is based on exploring the architectural and technical implications of selected novel digital building processes resulting from the interdisciplinary research conducted by eight ETH Zurich professorships as part of the NCCR Digital Fabrication.

Within DFAB HOUSE, for the first time, six novel digital building processes have been transferred from research to architectural application: the In situ Fabricator, a versatile autonomous on-site construction robot; Mesh Mould, a formwork-free, robotic process for steel-reinforced concrete structures; Smart Dynamic Casting, an automated concrete slip-forming process; Smart Slab, integrated ceiling slabs fabricated with 3D-printed formwork; and Spatial Timber Assemblies, a robotically fabricated timber structure. Combining these novel processes in one built object makes it possible to rethink the overall planning and construction process and to exploit the advantages inherent in the digital chain of design, planning and fabrication: design flexibility, material economy, time and cost efficiencies, and improved quality control.

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