This month, US-President Biden released two initiatives aimed at utilizing 3D printing for localized manufacturing and closing the gap on affordable housing. Black Buffalo 3D recognized the potential for these initiatives to help businesses adopt 3D construction printing and is offering consultations to contractors, builders, precast companies, and developers. The President’s 2023 Budget includes investments in housing supply that would lead to the production or rehabilitation of another 500,000 homes. There is a great opportunity to print communities, reduce build times, and localize supply chains.
Why is 3D printing homes a good fit for these initiatives?
Biden’s action plan includes legislative and administrative incentives that aim to ease the burden of housing cost over time by creating and preserving hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units. Advances in homebuilding, specifically 3D construction onsite, printed near-site, standup printed walls, and printed facades hold potential for increasing labor productivity, cost savings, and energy efficiency. 3D construction printers and proprietary cement ink address supply chain disruptions associated with traditional building techniques. Black Buffalo 3D has invested in making its 3D construction equipment (NEXCON® printers) and materials (Planitop® 3D) viable for residential and commercial projects of all sizes from a single-story home to multi-story buildings.
Is there regulation around 3D construction?
Until recently, 3D construction projects were largely pilot projects without standardization. Each project was a one-off exception leveraging existing building codes, but that is poised to change this year. The only globally recognized building criteria for 3D printed walls is called the AC-509 and is created by International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES). Black Buffalo 3D is the first in the world to submit its material, machine and 3D printed walls meeting the rigorous criteria while working with its customers to prove the benefits of 3DCP. Black Buffalo 3D offers a complete 3D construction print solution that includes training, machine, and materials. Official results are expected shortly and buyers of NEXCON printers that use Planitop 3D ink will receive lab and ICC-ES verified documentation about proper use, techniques, and expected structural results which will aid in the approval process for 3D printed structures.
The U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD) is also working to assess hurdles to several innovative building techniques affected by inconsistent state and local inspection requirements and standards. Black Buffalo 3D has worked closely with HUD to address these challenges and educate the industry on best practices and techniques for printing affordable homes. The NEXCON printer will be on display at the National Mall, June 10-12, as part of their Innovative Housing Showcase that is open to the public.
What are some benefits of 3DCP?
The benefits of 3DCP include less construction waste and faster construction compared to the traditional wood frame and CMU construction, and the ability to print complex shapes achieve the design freedom through innovative architectural design. 3D constructed homes also offer resiliency to hurricanes and natural disasters. Planitop 3D® offers strength and durability against floods and wind loads. The service life of the 3D printed structures is expected to range from 60 to 100 years, and limited repair, or reconstruction would be required as compared to traditional wood frame construction.
What projects are already planned?
Black Buffalo 3D’s clients already have projects planned that fall in line with these initiatives, including a recent announcement of a 200-home project in Virginia by Alquist 3D. The clients consist of developers, builders and start-up construction companies leveraging their rental programs. Black Buffalo 3D is committed to making 3D construction a mainstream solution to building so more companies can realize advantages including faster build times, localized materials, and reduction of waste materials.
HUD will highlight these and other technologies that can benefit affordable housing construction during the Innovative Housing Showcase on the National Mall in June 2022. HUD is also working to assess hurdles to modular and panellized housing posed by inconsistent state and local inspection requirements and standards, which limit economies of scale and potential cost savings.
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