Construction firms BAM Nuttall and Weber Beamix have recently developed a 3D printed concrete staircase to a footbridge which will provide an easy access to pedestrians by connecting the Glasgow City Centre to the Sighthill area along this corridor. The staircase is believed to be the largest 3D printed structure in the UK till date. This is also the first time that 3D printing has been used on a construction project in Scotland.
Weber Beamix had developed a dedicated concrete 3D printing facility in collaboration with BAM in 2019 at Nijmegen, Netherlands, which is still used by the companies as an infrastructure-building base. The staircases were printed at this facility and BAM working on behalf of the Glasgow City Council craned the 3D printed staircases to the site.
BAM Contracts Manager for the M8 Footbridge, Ian Steele in a recent press release from the company said, “It’s wonderful to see these 3D Concrete printed aspects installed as this iconic bridge takes shape. The printed element saw us manufacture the stairwells offsite, creating strong, one-of-a-kind structures, all while reducing waste and interaction with weather and other elements which can create hold ups.
“Although this part of the landscaping will ultimately be hidden from site, it marks a huge step forward for BAM in how we modernise our approach to construction – reducing risk, improving efficiency, and driving down our carbon footprint. The use of this technology is in its infancy, but the aspiration is that interest and application grow to such a degree that we can invest in a UK based printing facility which would improve how we construct within the UK”, He added.
3D printing allows developing intricate and error-free shapes, which is quite transformational from the traditional construction practices. The process is much more efficient and reduces waste by about 40%, lowering cost and reducing carbon output. The staircases will have all these advantages and upon installation will be firmly cladded in granite making it much more durable with a slip-free texture.