THE HONEST BROKER: WHAT ARE 3-D HOMES & CAN THEY REVOLUTIONIZE HOUSING?
BY: DIANE LOTT, BROKER PARADISE FOUND REALTY, INC.
The homebuilding industry is on the edge of a revolution. Put simply, a 3D printed house is a structure that is built, layer-by-layer, using 3D technology. One of the primary tools that are used for 3D printing homes is the construction 3D printer. Essentially, it’s a big robotic arm with a nozzle that extrudes specially formulated cement (sometimes a regular cement).
To get an idea, just imagine a huge FDM 3D printer extruding a layer of material that solidifies, then another layer is laid over it, and the process is repeated until completion. Although it may be obvious, we should point out that construction 3D printers are only capable of making the frame of the house which consists of the walls, overlaps and very rarely the roof. All other elements, including doors, windows, stairs, plumbing and many other elements must be installed in the “old fashioned” manner.
From this point, 3D printed homes are no different from any other standard dwelling. The advantages of 3D printing a home is the low cost and speed in which the frame can be built. It is important to note that such technology is very often combined with traditional methods of construction. In general, there are two main approaches which determine the types of 3D printed buildings, either printed on the construction site, or assembled from prefabricated 3D printed parts (like prefab buildings). The latter method is more widespread, but in our opinion, the first process has much more potential in long-term development.
American inventors and entrepreneurs also joined in on the technology race. The first 3D printed, fully permitted house appeared in Austin, Texas and was made by American company ICON. Texas is now set to develop the largest 3D neighborhood in the world. Scheduled to break ground next year, the project, created by Lennar and ICON, will feature 100 single-story houses “printed” on-site using advanced robotic construction and a concrete-based building material.
The representative of the company claims that their technology is capable of 3D printing a one-story house of up to 800 square feet (about 74.3 m2) in just 24 hours, generate almost no waste and cost only $4,000 to make. Such homes could be particularly useful for developing countries. The 3D printing technology that was developed recently for construction is not perfect, but it has the potential to compete with both traditional and prefabricated homes. What is even more important is that they are built in next to no time, with less material and waste, which as a result, becomes much cheaper than other construction methods.
More advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing buildings include:
*Incredibly high speed *Affordability *Sustainability
*Rough surface *Possible problems with adhering to regulations *Only the framework can be 3D printed
As technology advancements occur, the use of 3D house printers will most certainly make a significant difference in our industry and in the lives of not only Americans, but people all around the world.
Diane Lott, Broker
Owner: Paradise Found Realty
Paradise Found Realty, Inc. of Palm City
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