Some Texans will soon be living in 3D-printed homes, as homebuilder Lennar Corp. partners with startup Icon to construct 100 such houses in the Austin metro area, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).
Why it matters: Problems like the dwindling pool of skilled tradespeople and global supply chain snarls have caused a shortage of affordable homes for sale. If the project is successful, it could become part of a viable solution to America’s growing housing crisis. 3D-printed homes are also considerably less expensive to construct than traditional housing, since there are fewer people on-site and less waste, according to Icon.
How it works: “The vast majority of newly built single-family homes in the U.S. are constructed on-site and framed in wood using traditional construction methods. Icon’s 3D-printed houses use concrete framing instead. Its 15.5-foot-tall printers can build the exterior and interior wall system for a 2,000-square-foot, one-story house in a week…. The printer squeezes out concrete in layers, like toothpaste out of a tube.”
What’s next: Right now, building a house using 3D printing takes about as much time as a traditional home build, but Icon hopes to speed up soon. The price is also TBD.
- “Lennar hasn’t determined how the homes in the new community will be priced, but they will be similar to other Lennar homes in the area, [LenX President Eric] Feder said. The median home-sale price in the Austin metro area in September was $450,000, according to the Austin Board of Realtors.”