Would you buy a 3D printed house?

Posted on 15 Oct 2018 by Maddy White

Would you print your house? At present, buying a home is not a reality for many, as the housing crisis grips people across Britain. But, 3D printing a sizeable house for just over £3,000 in 24 hours, is it too good to be true?

ICON's 3D printed house that can be built in 24 hours.
ICON’s 3D printed house that can be built in 24 hours.

Last week, Theresa May announced that she was lifting the borrowing cap that currently limits local authorities’ ability to finance new house building projects.

Alongside this, rising numbers of people are being pushed out of the property market, as house prices accelerate away from household incomes.

According to research company Hometrack, the average salary required by a first-time buyer to purchase a home in some of Britian’s cities has risen by 18% since 2015, despite lower mortgage rates.

It would seem homeownership is a distant prospect for many.

Modular housing, digitally designed and printed houses are alternative options to traditional homeownership, and could merge into the mass market in the near future. The Manufacturer previously reported on the increasingly versatile housebuilding revolution, which you can read here. 

3D print your new pad

3D printing is making its mark everywhere. Particularly in the medical, automotive and aerospace industries as well as prototypes, art pieces and more abstract projects.

The potential of 3D printing – also known as additive manufacturing – can be transformative. But, houses?

3D printed houses are not necessarily cheap to construct. Earlier this year, architectural startup, Branch Technology, developed a prototype of a 1,000 sqft 3D-printed home that would be priced at around £230,000. Given the average UK property is £242,000, it would be no solution.

Claiming to be “the future of human shelter”, ICON believes they may have the answer.

The company has recently partnered with non-profit organisation, New Story, and built one of the first 3D printed homes in America. The house was unveiled in March this year, and was built using a prototype of the mobile printer ICON is producing for New Story.

The prototype features a living room, a single bedroom, bathroom, and a small office space.

The production version of the printer will be able to print a single story, 600-800 sqft home in under 24 hours, and for little more than £3,000.

The printer is designed to weigh around 2,000 pounds, be portable and also be made robust enough to withstand adverse weather conditions.

the printer will be able to print a single story, 600-800 square foot home in under 24 hours.
The printer will be able to print a single story, 600-800 sqft home in under 24 hours.

The companies plan to print their first collection of homes next year in El Salvador, a country whose landscape and frequent floods has made the construction of housing problematic in the past.

Further from this, they endeavor to provide safe homes to the millions of people around the world residing in difficult conditions.

While the preliminary goal for this project is to create houses in El Salvador, there is no reason why this concept: a mobile, 3D printer that constructs houses on site could not be extended across the globe.

There are of course constraints to this, one of those being space. But, it is an ever more appealing option if the housing crisis is to continue, that of course looks inevitable.

Could this change the housing market? Not, yet. But in the future, the concept of 3D printed construction onsite, quickly and cheaply could quite possibly.

How has 3D printing revolutionised multiple industries?

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All images courtesy of ICON.