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Science
08 Jul 2018

World's first family that lives in a 3D-printed house

How 3D printing is slowly reshaping construction

A family in Nantes, France has become the world's first family to move in to a 3D-printed home.

Their four-bedroom property is a prototype for bigger 3D-printed housing projects aimed at making housebuilding cheaper and faster.

By ushering in a shift from reductive to additive manufacturing, 3D printing has already brought about a paradigm shift.

Here's how it is increasingly being embraced in construction.

In context

How 3D printing is slowly reshaping construction

The family expresses their gratitude

"It's a big honor to be a part of this project. We lived in a block of council flats from the 60s, so it's a big change for us," said Nordine Ramdani. Nordine, Nouria, and their three children were the lucky ones chosen.

The 3D printed house was 20% cheaper

3D-printed house

The 3D printed house was 20% cheaper

The house in question took a mere 54 hours to print, but required an additional four months for the fitting of windows, doors, and the roof.

At a cost of £176,000, the house was 20% cheaper than what it would have cost had it been built traditionally.

While this is just one example, it has far reaching implications.

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3D printing v/s traditional construction

For those unaware, compared to traditional modes of construction, 3D printing produces up to 30% less material waste, uses less energy and fewer resources, enables in-situ production (which saves transport time and costs), grants greater freedom in design, and generates fewer CO2 emissions.

Testing waters

The project was to test waters before larger deployment

The four-bedroom house built for the family of five was made collaboratively by the city council, a housing association, and the University of Nantes.

Frank Trichet, the council's tech and innovation lead, said that the purpose of the project was to test the waters before trying to employ such technology for mainstream commercial housing projects and larger buildings such as community halls.

Over one billion people are homeless today

According to the latest report by the World Resources Institute's Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities, over one billion people in the world live without adequate housing - that's over one-seventh of the world's population living without one of the most basic means of survival.

3D printing projects

The world's first 3D-printed commercial housing project is underway

Trichet is of the opinion that 3D printing is poised to disrupt the construction industry fairly soon.

Considering recent developments, it might be difficult to argue otherwise.

In The Netherlands, efforts are already underway in Eindhoven to complete the world's first concrete 3D-printed commercial housing project, dubbed Project Milestone.

Notably, projects like these might hold the key to solving the world's housing crisis.

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