Home Applications & Case Studies HTL builds first 3D-printed house in Ireland

HTL builds first 3D-printed house in Ireland

The company Harcourt Technologies (HTL) has built three social housing units in Dundalk using 3D printing technology, with a 3D concrete printing machine building new homes layer by layer over the last two weeks. These three council homes in Grange Close will be the first 3D printed homes in Ireland.

Instead of traditional concrete blocks, the machine uses a gantry-mounted 3D concrete printer that follows a digital blueprint and extrudes concrete to create cavity walls. HTL, the construction company bringing this innovation to Ireland, says the homes in Dundalk will be built three times faster than traditional methods and are expected to be completed by October.

Justin Kinsella, managing director of Harcourt Technologies (HTL), explained that this method requires a third of the manpower normally needed and cuts construction time by 25-30%. Currently, the 3D printer takes around 18 minutes to lay a 50mm layer of concrete around the three-family block in Dundalk, with the aim of reducing this to 12 minutes next week. In terms of cost, this method is comparable to traditional concrete block construction.

“It’s like building a concrete block wall, but the machine lays 50mm layers instead of manual placement,” explained Justin Kinsella, Managing Director of Harcourt Technologies (HTL). “As architects and engineers, we design the building digitally, and the model guides the printer to extrude the material layer by layer.”

Prior to the project in Dundalk, HTL built two test houses at its R&D facility in Drogheda. Kinsella emphasized that housing remains the company’s main focus.

For contractors, 3D printed homes are a new concept. Michael McBride noted that they have been building homes for 50 years using various methods and welcome 3D printing technology.

“It’s great to incorporate this into housing developments,” Michael McBride, Project Manager at B&C Contractors, said, noting that B&C Contractors build about 500 houses annually in the northeast and Dublin. “It’s an automated process rather than a labor-intensive or off-site manufacturing process. The finished product is superior in strength to other methods we’re using, so it’s likely to become more prevalent.”

Training for the wider application of this technology is already being offered. The Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) has purchased its own 3D concrete printer as part of its Advanced Manufacturing Training Center of Excellence. LMETB is working with HTL to deliver this training at its R&D facility in Drogheda and over 100 people have already completed the program.

“In Ireland’s strong economy, labor market challenges exist. This technology allows companies to expand despite these challenges,” Sadie Ward McDermott, Director of Further Education and Training at LMETB, said. “Building a house with a 3D printer doesn’t eliminate the need for craftsmen like electricians and plumbers. But it significantly increases the speed and scale of construction, crucial for meeting housing needs.”

Once completed, the three-bedroom apartments will provide homes for three families on Louth County Council’s social housing list, with the land for the pilot project provided by the local authority.

“Louth always aims to be at the forefront, and here we are again with Ireland’s first 3D concrete printed houses,” Joan Martin, CEO, said. While confident in the technology, Martin acknowledged that efficiency and speed improvements are expected in future projects.

While confident in the technology, Martin acknowledged that efficiency and speed improvements are expected in future projects. Other local councils have shown interest in the project and have sent representatives to observe the process on site.

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