The technology is still in its infancy, and even if it’s at the point of being a reality like proven recently by ICON with its vulcan 2 3D Printer will take a while for your average consumer to fully trust and use, Many I talked to feared the negative impact 3D printers will have on many industries across the board, we tend to only look at the technology and never at the people working in the industry like bricklayers, we eventually will have to start answering questions like what this means for the average worker in the construction industry, I personally think that the impact will not be as widespread as many guys I talk to believe.
A good example is the introduction of robotics in the automotive industry, many thought jobs would be obsolete as soon as robots where introduced in the factories but what happened was the opposite, every robot that was introduced, created a new profession in turn, those machines need to be maintained and there are still a large number of things in the car industry that can only be done by people, same goes with 3d printing a house, many jobs will be lost because we are going from a construction crew to 3 people building a house in record time, but there will still be a lot that only we will be able to do.
How Disruptive Will 3D Printing Be
3D printing homes will very disruptive, building an affordable house in the span of 12 to 48 hours will drive prices of both existing and new houses down, it might be the reason cities do not approve 3D printed houses at the moment because they make their money through property taxes, lower the value of houses, lower the amount of money they can make, but even this can be resolved by the number of people that will be able to afford new houses.
Are 3D Printed Houses Safe
This is the biggest question, can these houses withstand the elements, are they fireproof, are they safe for people to live in, the answer is yes they are, the way 3D Printed Houses are constructed makes them safe, layers upon layers of concrete is printed on each other mostly in a truss pattern making the building itself safe, the only thing is that most of the MEP will have to be wall-mounted.
The Social Advantage
There are millions of people living in abject poverty all around the world and many are also in developed countries, 3D printing can easily solve the housing crisis faced in many countries, imagine having a house build for U$5000 or less, this will totally be a game-changer.
5 Advantages of 3D Printing in Construction
1. Reduces Construction Time
3d printing companies can reduce building time by 10, a good example is Apis Cor that built a house in 24 hours.
2. Reduces Material Cost
Material cost is considerably reduced, there is no wastage and mistakes simply mean that the same material can be reused again
3. Reduces Human Error
3d construction printers are precision machines, they take the input from CAD software and build walls from that data
4. Reduces The Cost of Transport
Everything is done on-site, ones the printer is installed
5. Reduce Construction Waste
3D construction printing reduces material wastage since there is no usage of traditional materials, no off-cuts. It’s one simple smooth line and waste can be reused again
All the companies mentioned above proved they can certainly improve upon the technology and all of them use sustainability as the reason for it, there are a few setbacks when it comes to 3D technology and it’s mostly the skeptics and the lack of regulation in the industry, one of the setbacks are that 3D printing in the construction industry at the moment can mostly handle walls only, there are some companies that seem to do foundations too, this means that a majority of work is still done by people, electrical, plumbing, concrete slabs, window fitting and allot more.
The initial cost of the technology will gradually get less over time, and that itself will help ordinary people get into printing their own houses, and for those naysayers, look at tesla, electric vehicles were not viable, you’re probably driving one today.