The real estate sector is rapidly adopting new technologies to meet the rising demands and challenges of the 21st century. Issues related to affordable housing, sustainability, and productivity have prompted companies to bring innovation in construction technologies, building management systems, and development planning tools. 3D printing is now past the stage where it was considered just a gimmick technology, and many industries in the manufacturing, healthcare, and real estate realm are adopting it for various purposes. Looking at the real estate sector, 3D printing provides massive benefits such as affordability, offsite construction, faster processing, better quality, and significantly lesser time. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is bringing much-needed ingenuity and convenience to a whole new level. Continue reading to understand the concept of 3D printing and its relationship with the real estate sector.
What is 3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing?
3D printing is an interesting technology that will see its application in a wide array of industries in the future. The process involves making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital model file. It is also known as the additive process because an object is created by placing thin layers of materials on top of each other in repetition until it is completed (Cummins, 2010). Considering that machines can print in exact shapes and designs, less material is used as compared to subtractive manufacturing, where a product is obtained by removing material from bigger blocks of raw substance. The process starts by making a 3D model of the final product. Accurate details can be set for each dimension and extreme preciseness can be achieved. The model is then sliced using software into hundreds of thousands of layers so that the printer can print each layer on top of another. Many materials can then be used to 3D print including plastics, resins, metals, carbon fibre, graphite, nitinol, and paper (SDC, 2021).
Considering the flexibility 3D printing allows for manufacturers, the technology is fast becoming a standard in industries requiring precision making and strong structures. Traditional construction methods have design restrictions. But with 3D printing, a large amount of flexibility can be practiced. Similarly, prototyping is another area which becomes faster and easier with 3D printing. Testing out multiple designs in varying sizes can open multiple opportunities for research and planning. Another factor worth consideration is that 3D printing can be done on-demand as not a lot of space is required for storing inventory. 3D Printing also minimizes waste as large chunks of non-recyclable material are not required to be cut off and disposed of. Rather, raw materials are used according to their exact estimations. Therefore, keeping in mind the multiple benefits of 3D printing, continue reading to understand the significance of 3D printing in the real estate sector (TWI, 2021).
How is 3D Printing being Used in The Real Estate Sector
Real estate has seen the highest number of disruptions in face of new and innovative technological inventions. 3D printing has proven its worth in the real estate sector in a number of ways, making the technology a lucrative prospect for the future of real estate development. While 3D printers remain expensive on their own, once purchased, savings in logistics, labour, and material can offset the total overall expense. Many developed and developing countries are trying hard to figure out solutions for their affordable housing problem. Using 3D printing technology, it is now possible to build economical homes for financially challenged people. For instance, the Winsun building in Shanghai, China, is a five-story 3D printed building that was completed at the rate of one story per day at a total cost of only 160,000 US Dollars.
There are also many places where construction has remained impossible only because it is difficult to reach them with cranes and other construction equipment. Using 3D printing technology, building elements can be constructed offsite and placed anywhere. In many parts of the world, buildings are now being constructed offsite and later transported to the actual site location. The World’s Advanced Saving Project (WASP) has recently started testing additive manufacturing (3D printing) in remote areas to create small rural villages (Mobifilia, 2021). The homes are created using entirely local resources. If 3D printing becomes more common, it can also give people the freedom to design their own living spaces. Lastly, 3D printing can also greatly reduce carbon emission in the real estate sector, as it is one of the highest producer of greenhouse gases. Therefore, 3D printing technology will surely revolutionize the real estate sector in the years to come.
It can be seen that 3D printing has a bright future in real estate. Many real estate developers are slowly adopting the technology using different materials and techniques. The benefits of time-saving, cost efficiency and reduced costs far outweigh the costs perceived in setting up 3D printing plants. Also, with the ability to carry out offsite construction, 3D printing can provide the impetus for the growth of modular construction. All in all, the introduction of new technologies is the way forward for the real estate sector.
3DPrinting.com. (2021). What is 3D Printing? Retrieved from https://3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing/
Cummins, K. (2010). The rise of additive manufacturing. Retrieved from The Egineer: https://www.theengineer.co.uk/the-rise-of-additive-manufacturing/
Mobifilia. (2021). 3D Printing in Real Estate. Retrieved from https://www.mobifilia.com/3d-printing-in-real-estate/
SDC. (2021). WHAT MATERIALS ARE USED FOR 3D PRINTING? Retrieved from Surface Treatment Experts: https://www.sharrettsplating.com/blog/materials-used-3d-printing/
TWI. (2021). WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF 3D PRINTING? Retrieved from https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/what-is-3d-printing/pros-and-cons