What impact will 3D printing have on the real estate industry?
3D printing technology, whilst no longer considered a new technology, is grabbing everyone’s attention, ever since 2 companies have used it to build new houses. 3D printing itself is being considered the best way to develop, due to the low labour needed, fast time frame and lack of waste. Lets take a closer look at how 3D printing might impact the real estate sector.
For now 3D house printers use cement with a special ingredient to stabilise and dry it faster, but in the future once 3D printing becomes more common place we will be able to use a whole range of materials – in fact in contour crafting (the original concept for 3D printing of houses) the machine is able to print the walls, glass, lay pipes and electrical cables and in essence do every part of the new build.
More over, 3D printing is a waste free construction process. Given it prints exactly what is needed and nothing more. No wood panels needing to be cut, no saw dust, no excess wood. Simply only what is needed. Even better, in China, engineers are using recycled concrete as material, therefore further reducing waste.
More Affordable Real Estate
Due to the above reasons this will significantly bring down the cost of construction. Due to low material costs, less money wasted on wastage and less labour costs due to less staff needed. Not to mention the speed of construction increases significantly – the average 1 bedroom house can be printed in 24 hours – meaning less holding costs, less wasted time and again due to the short time period this cuts labour costs down significantly
The other big benefit of 3D printing houses is it makes no difference for the 3d printer if it is printing a straight line, a sharp angle or a curve. Therefore we can design amazing shapes for our homes which once upon a time would have cost the home owner a fortune in architects fees and construction. We are entering an age where individuality and personal home styles will be just as cheap (if not cheaper) than the current housing clones todays developers are building.
Due to the automated nature of the 3D printer, the construction method requires a lot less manual input which will reduce not only the number of accidents that occur on the building site, but also the severity of those accidents. 3D printing also requires a lot less staff to be on site and they are on site for a lot shorter periods of time, this will ultimately reduce the number of on site incidents and fatalities.
Drawbacks of 3D Printing Houses
The obvious drawbacks for 3D printing houses is the inevitable result that it will costmary builders and labourers their jobs. Like many things these days, it will ultimately get taken over by computer engineers with the help of a few labourers rather than builders. Also given the sheer capacity of houses a printer can build in a year, this could result in an over supply of houses which could possibly have an affect on the housing market.
Whether you like it or not, 3D printers are entering the construction industry and so far it seems there are more pros than cons. How can you see 3D printing disrupting or complementing your current business model, or should you make some changes to your business to better align with the tech once it becomes more mainstream?