3D-Printed Homes Hit the Market in Texas

A housing project has put up 3D-printed homes for sale in the Austin region, which is said to be the first such project in the United States. The project, first announced by construction startup Icon last year, is being built at Wolf Ranch, a master planned community in the city of Georgetown, Texas, located 25 miles north of Austin. Icon has partnered with home builder Lennar to construct the 100-home community through an additive construction process where the house is constructed layer by layer using 3D-printing technology. Icon claims the community is the first large-scale 3D-printed housing development project in the United States, according to a June 11 report by Austin American-Statesman. Sales of the homes were scheduled to begin on June 10. The project has put the first six homes of the proposed 100 homes up for sale, with prices ranging from $475,000 to $570,000. The homes will feature five of the eight floor plans that will be used in the community. The houses range from 1,574 to 2,112 square feet and will feature three to four bedrooms and two to three bathrooms. The lowest-priced home, the Dyce floor plan, will have 1,574 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen island. According to Charlie Coleman from the Lennar Corporation, the homes are attracting a wide range of prospective buyers. “We’ve seen first-time homebuyers, we’ve seen move-up families, we’ve seen empty nesters and retirees,” he said, per CBS. “We’ve priced these homes to be on par with the current market for traditionally built homes.” The Technology To build the community, eight 3D printers would be run at a time that will print the homes directly atop concrete slabs. The technology allows for more flexibility in designs compared to traditional construction methods, including the ability to build curved walls. Printing each wall system of a home takes approximately two weeks, following which the house is fitted with other components like metal roofs. Each home will have rooftop solar panels. Smart home features will be embedded into the houses, including Wi-Fi-enabled deadbolts and smart thermostats. Icon is using its Vulcan printer technology for the project that constructs buildings layer by layer using a proprietary material called “Lavacrete.” According to ICON, the use of Lavacrete and solar panels will ensure that cooling and heating costs are lower. “ICON’s Lavacrete can be printed at high speeds while retaining form, enabling homes to be built faster while keeping construction projects on schedule and on budget,” the company website claims. “Lavacrete, a high-strength concrete, boasts a compressive strength of 2,000 – 3,500 psi. In structural tests, ICON’s wall system exceeded building code design requirements by more than 350 percent.” Pros and Cons 3D-printed homes offer several advantages compared to traditional construction methods. For one, it can save a lot of time. Normally, a home can take anywhere from six months to nine months to construct. However, using a 3D printer can reduce the construction time to a month or even half a month. Such construction methods can also be cheaper by around 20 to 40 percent as there are fewer laborers involved in the task. Instead of a large team, only a few operators are required to oversee the 3D printer. On the flip side, as the technology is pretty new, the long-term nature of 3D-printed homes is unknown. For instance, some question whether 3D-printed homes are as durable as traditionally constructed homes. And since it is a new technology, 3D-home printing can have many unknown bugs and deficiencies, just like with other nascent technologies. Plus, not many plumbers and electricians have experience dealing with 3D-printed homes, which may present a challenge during repairs and maintenance.

3D-Printed Homes Hit the Market in Texas

A housing project has put up 3D-printed homes for sale in the Austin region, which is said to be the first such project in the United States.

The project, first announced by construction startup Icon last year, is being built at Wolf Ranch, a master planned community in the city of Georgetown, Texas, located 25 miles north of Austin. Icon has partnered with home builder Lennar to construct the 100-home community through an additive construction process where the house is constructed layer by layer using 3D-printing technology.

Icon claims the community is the first large-scale 3D-printed housing development project in the United States, according to a June 11 report by Austin American-Statesman. Sales of the homes were scheduled to begin on June 10.

The project has put the first six homes of the proposed 100 homes up for sale, with prices ranging from $475,000 to $570,000. The homes will feature five of the eight floor plans that will be used in the community.

The houses range from 1,574 to 2,112 square feet and will feature three to four bedrooms and two to three bathrooms. The lowest-priced home, the Dyce floor plan, will have 1,574 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen island.

According to Charlie Coleman from the Lennar Corporation, the homes are attracting a wide range of prospective buyers.

“We’ve seen first-time homebuyers, we’ve seen move-up families, we’ve seen empty nesters and retirees,” he said, per CBS. “We’ve priced these homes to be on par with the current market for traditionally built homes.”

The Technology

To build the community, eight 3D printers would be run at a time that will print the homes directly atop concrete slabs. The technology allows for more flexibility in designs compared to traditional construction methods, including the ability to build curved walls.

Printing each wall system of a home takes approximately two weeks, following which the house is fitted with other components like metal roofs. Each home will have rooftop solar panels. Smart home features will be embedded into the houses, including Wi-Fi-enabled deadbolts and smart thermostats.

Icon is using its Vulcan printer technology for the project that constructs buildings layer by layer using a proprietary material called “Lavacrete.” According to ICON, the use of Lavacrete and solar panels will ensure that cooling and heating costs are lower.

“ICON’s Lavacrete can be printed at high speeds while retaining form, enabling homes to be built faster while keeping construction projects on schedule and on budget,” the company website claims.

“Lavacrete, a high-strength concrete, boasts a compressive strength of 2,000 – 3,500 psi. In structural tests, ICON’s wall system exceeded building code design requirements by more than 350 percent.”

Pros and Cons

3D-printed homes offer several advantages compared to traditional construction methods. For one, it can save a lot of time. Normally, a home can take anywhere from six months to nine months to construct. However, using a 3D printer can reduce the construction time to a month or even half a month.

Such construction methods can also be cheaper by around 20 to 40 percent as there are fewer laborers involved in the task. Instead of a large team, only a few operators are required to oversee the 3D printer.

On the flip side, as the technology is pretty new, the long-term nature of 3D-printed homes is unknown. For instance, some question whether 3D-printed homes are as durable as traditionally constructed homes.

And since it is a new technology, 3D-home printing can have many unknown bugs and deficiencies, just like with other nascent technologies.

Plus, not many plumbers and electricians have experience dealing with 3D-printed homes, which may present a challenge during repairs and maintenance.