3-D Printing Of Homes Rapidly Expanding

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This is a subject we touch upon periodically. One of the reasons it is so interesting is that, for those who are unaccustomed to technological transformation, here is something that is happening right before our eyes.

Hopefully, through this process people will be able to alter how they look at things so as to understand the technological angle and the disruption is brings.

One of the biggest problems with construction is the fact that it has not advancement much in the last 100 years. When you think about it, the building of a home still mirrors what took place a century ago. In other words, this is a market that is prime for disruption.

HINT: Anytime an industry was bypassed by technological advancement, that is one which is primed to be obliterated in this era.

Hence, we are in the early stages of what I believe will big a major transformation in the construction industry. This is going to completely change the real estate market. When we couple this with remote work (another change soundly based in technological trends), we see how what we know now will not be the case in a decade or so.

From Trickle To Flooding

Technology rarely bursts onto the scene. Instead, it starts out as a slow drip, often lasting a very long time. Before getting into the topic of this article, let us look at one of the recent disruptions, retail sales. Most of us are aware of the transformation from physical stores to online.

Here is a chart that shows the growth of online:

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Did you notice how your eyes were drawn to the upper, right-hand side of the chart. The reason for this is the rest of it is rather boring. There is very little of interest taking place.

The pace was slow but steady. In real dollar terms, it was a lot of money added in each interval. Yet, the pace was slow enough for it to go unnoticed for a long time. It was not until the middle of the decade when most people were aware of the term retail apocalypse. Unfortunately, this was not only the general public who missed what was taking place. Leadership at many of the largest retailers were asleep at the wheel also.

I bring this up to show how what starts out as non-threatening can suddenly become so.

When it comes to home building, one of the most promising areas is 3-D printing. So far, a few models were created along with some proof-of-concept units. This is a phase that is quickly coming to an end.

We are about to see exponential expansion in 2022. Before getting into the numbers, this does not mean millions of homes 3-D printed, yet. For now, the numbers are very small and will be that way for a while. However, keep in mind the online sales chart.

Austin, TX appeared on our radar before with this technology. Now, we see a much larger project being kicked off.

A major home builder is teaming with a Texas startup to create a community of 100 3-D printed homes near Austin, gearing up for what would be by far the biggest development of this type of housing in the U.S.

This is home to ICON which produced a 4 unit project in the area. Now they are partnering with Lennar, one of the nations larger home builders, to put up 100 homes.

“We’re sort of graduating from singles and dozens of homes to hundreds of homes,” said Jason Ballard, Icon’s chief executive.

In other words, we are moving from the trickle and heading towards the flooding.

Novelty Growing Into Big Business

To disrupt an industry, there has to be major benefits to what is being implemented. Without that, there is little reason to change. That is why disruption is always revolutionary. A minor change or nominal improvement is not worth the effort. For something to cause major upheaval within an industry, there has to be drastic change, usually resulting in large financial benefit.

We have repeatedly seen 3-D printing do that. To start, no matter what the sector, less materials are used since waste is reduced. This is an automatic cost savings.

In the construction industry, a simple way to break in is to reduce labor. This is one of the biggest expenses in the industry. As stated earlier, the core premise is has not really changed in 100 years. Therefore, anything that attacks the labor issue is going to be of interest to the homebuilders.

Icon requires only three workers on-site when printing a wall system, replacing as many as 6 to 12 framers and drywall installers needed for conventional construction, Lennar said.

Source

This new system does just that. We can see the massive reduction in staff required to get the shell of the house built. This is a major step forward for the industry.

The fact that a national builder like Lennar is starting to partner with the technology is very telling. It is the old adage, if there is one, the others are also sniffing around. A major cost savings is not going to be passed by Lennar's competitors. The industry is to cut-throat for that.

Here is where we see things potentially happen very quickly. What would the industry look like, in a couple years, if most of the home builders adopted this technology in some form? Imagine the concept of tens of thousands of homes having their shells constructed in this manner.

My guess is that this is going to be fairly standard by mid-decade. It is also vital to understand that what we are discussing here is referring to 2021 technology. Over the next few years, this is going to see massive improvement (read cost reduction) which will only further the appeal.

For now, we are still in a proof-of-concept phase although quickly moving out of that. If Lennar and ICON complete this 100 unit subdivision, then it is off to the races.

This is worth keeping an eye on.


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I don't think it will be ready until the end of the decade. It just seems like there will be a lot of fighting by the unions and employees since they will be out of a job.

It will be great once it does take off since we do need more affordable housing.

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Nonsense we have many countries in Europe the shortage of builders is scary. Many countries in the world dont have unions

Well maybe I am a bit bias more towards California since environmentalist have destroyed affordable housing. They team up with the labor unions and etc.

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Shortage of workers means that technology comes in to make up the shortfall and then ends up replacing the rest who are there.

It is how it works.

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Most of the construction industry is not unionized. Plus, there is a shortage of workers across many of these industries.

The pace of technology is spreading quicker than many expect. Those who are not paying attention are bound to get run over by it.

It seems that 2022 will be a pivotal year for the 3-D printing of homes. If this development is build, it could set off a wave within the industry.

The next 15 months will be interesting to watch.

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Fantastic and it will bring in lower housing costs. Unfortunately what's needed is government deregulation as per instance in Australia we have a growing trend of what we refer to as Cookie Cutter homes.

If you want to build a house in an area it needs to look like and be a certain thing. Initiatives like this need to be promoted and supported which would require Decentralised housing markets away from governments.

Over time it will bring down costs. I am not sure the first couple generations will do that. But look for things to deflate in terms of the building costs around mid decade.

As for the regulation, that is a different matter altogether.

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Only relevant in passing, but only days after reading your post about car dealerships becoming extinct soon I drove by the biggest one in town to see they are liquidating their entire inventory.

At first, I thought it was a funny coincidence they were clearing out for new stock just after I read that, but then it dawned on me that the new cars usually come out in summer...

I didn't think I would start seeing it happen so quickly, but I think Imma gonna go try to snag me a Jeep Comanche for a steal. 😁

Again, sort of off topic but sales as an employment opportunity is pretty much dead now. Car dealerships are one of the last places I can think of.

So salespersons and construction workers are about to be extinct.
Fast food is about to automate.
How long do you think before hotel workers are replaced?

I've been trying to get my head around how a robot could clean a room, make the bed, etc..., and I really can't. I can see how the room could be built "smart" and maybe pull it off, but I can't imagine how one could just drop tech into a standard hotel room and cut staff by 50-90%. Can you..., or anyone else?

Again, sort of off topic but sales as an employment opportunity is pretty much dead now.

I spent the better part of 30 years in sales. About 5 years ago I realized it was a dying industry. More is going online and not requiring salespeople.

As for the dealership, I am surprised it happened that quickly. The EV revolution is still in its infancy and Tesla still makes up a small percentage. However, with the rate that car sales are down, perhaps some are already feeling the pinch.

We will see how things progress. One thing I do know, the youth of today is not as excited to get a driver's license as we were when I was a teen. Could this be starting to have an impact? I dont know.

Finally, general purpose robots, like to clean a room, remain elusive. That is probably a safe profession for a while.

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One thing I do know, the youth of today is not as excited to get a driver's license as we were when I was a teen.

Dude, I couldn’t agree more. My niece has s in her 20s now, with a full time job and doesn’t drive. I understand her situation allows for foot travel and public transit, but still, a driver’s license used to mean freedom and now it seems like a chore.

Same with my would be step daughter and most of her friends. They could care less.

I attribute that to tech also, though.

As a teen I needed a license to get out of my country home and into the local pool hall or game room. Nintendo held me over through puberty but by 15, well, you remember 15…

They can go anywhere or do anything they want to do from wherever they are. A car is an expense that compounds expenses.

Regarding the dealership, I’ll reiterate it’s the biggest one in a small town, almost oversized to be honest.

This was likely a case of overextension just before covid hit and people stopped buying.

It’s also owned by one of the biggest names in town that owns everything else, so it’s possible they’re smart enough to see something coming and are reorganizing in prep for the storm.

I think that 3D Printing of Homes will make home constructions faster and cheaper. Besides, due to lowering the cost, there might be more homeowner in the world.

If the path of technology is duplicated, it should make the homes cheaper while putting them up faster. The industry needs more innovation to get there but people are working on it.

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Soon we will be buying tokenized 3d printed buildings in the metaverse :D

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You could be onto something there.

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