Homebuilding giant Lennar is building what will be the U.S.’s largest community of 3D-printed homes so far in Austin, Texas through a partnership with the startup ICON.
The builder, one of the biggest in the U.S., said the high-tech construction method will help it to overcome some labor and materials shortages that have hampered the construction industry over the past 18 months.
3D-printed homes are not just faster to build, but also cost less to produce. The planned community in Austin is slated to break ground in 2022 and will include 100 3D-printed homes.
“Labor and material shortages are two of the biggest factors pushing the dream of homeownership out of reach for many American families,” said Eric Feder, president of LEN(x), in a statement. “Lennar has always expanded the boundaries of technological innovation to keep quality homes affordable and 3D printing is an immensely encouraging approach. We are excited to collaborate with ICON to develop solutions to emerging challenges in the coming years.”
Americans have already warmed up to the idea of 3D-printed homes. In a recent survey by realtor.com, 66% of 3,000 consumers, and 75% of millennials, said they’d happily consider living in a 3D-printed home.
Lennar said its 3D-printed homes will be both resilient and energy efficient. It also promised to be able to construct them more quickly than traditional homes. ICON’s Vulcan construction system can create homes of up to 3,000 square meters built to code. The startup said its wall system and materials are stronger and last longer than traditional building materials and are capable of withstanding extreme weather. It adds that its homes can be constructed at high speed and high scales.
ICON co-founder and Chief Executive Jason Ballard said the new 3D homes will be a “watershed moment in the history of community-scale development”.
“ICON exists as a response to the global housing crisis and to put our technology in service to the world,” he said. “Construction-scale 3D printing not only delivers higher-quality homes faster and more affordably, but fleets of printers can change the way that entire communities are built for the better. The United States faces a deficit of approximately five million new homes, so there is a profound need to swiftly increase supply without compromising quality, beauty, or sustainability.”
It certainly would be beneficial if someone would explain how 3D houses are built. Materials and costs.