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In 2017, the first ever 3D-printed house was produced, by a French firm! This approach is a full-scale revolution in the building industry !
All it took to create this house was a few days thanks to an industrial 3D printer developed by researchers at Nantes University. A 95 m² council house was erected and constructed in just a few days using this approach.
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What does a 3D-printed house look like ?
Interior of the house under construction
A traditional house, or nearly ! The house was drafted and designed by the TICA Architectes et Urbanistes architectural agency and stands out due to its Y structure, curved lines and large-span windows and doors. The house is equipped with smart sensors, which can be used to monitor and assess the behaviour of materials during the building’s life cycle. After the opening ceremony including the main contributors, the house keys were handed to a family of five eligible for council housing.
How does this 3D printer operate ?
The BatiPrint 3D robot
The BatiPrint 3D robot is guided by a digital mock-up and gradually deposits three layers of materials using a poly-articulated industrial robot. Two layers of expansion foam are used as formwork for a third inner layer of concrete. The foam also acts as thermal and acoustic insulation for the construction. This innovation is revolutionising the construction sector !
What lessons can be learned for construction ?
On a long-term basis, this innovative technology could reduce the construction time for any building. However, this is also a whole new vision of construction, a new way of working, thinking and building: a faster, more controlled (in terms of time, resources and cost) and more digital approach, with greater levels of cooperation, lower energy needs and a reduced carbon impact.
The importance of digital approaches in new construction methods
The construction industry is experiencing a digital revolution, mainly thanks to BIM (link). Digital mock-ups are expected to become a more general feature and can be used to define the smallest details of a given project before even starting the foundations. Public authorities are also moving in this direction, and a plan was launched in November 2018 for the allocation of 10 million euros by 2021. With this plan, digital mock-ups can be used in construction projects via a free public platform.