3D printers may still be a novelty but they’re moving beyond a gimmick as growing numbers of projects experiment with the new technology as a faster, more sustainable alternative to traditional methods of construction. JLL Real Views explores if it could become mainstream in the years to come.
As start-ups compete to create new designs and cut printing times from days to hours, 3 D printing is becoming an increasingly viable solution to the global housing shortage.
Texas-based construction tech company Icon recently unveiled a model of a concrete house that can be printed in under 24 hours, at a cost of under $10,000. It has since partnered with housing company New Story to deploy a version of its printer to El Salvador to print about 100 homes for people living in slums.
“3D printing has taken huge steps forward in recent years and companies are really pushing the boundaries of what’s possible,” says Richard Sansom, project manager at JLL. “A key driver for recent developments has been the shortage of housing in numerous cities across the world.”
The technology involves using building-sized printers that inject layers of material such as cement onto a digitally marked framework to form the exterior and interior walls and roof. Additives to the cement help it solidify far faster, and the entire construction process can be completed in days instead of months, reducing waste material by up to 30 percent.
Click here to read more about how 3 D printing is changing the construction industry.