Author: Paul Hanaphy
Building regulators in Montana have become the first in the US to approve 3D printed walls as a fully-fledged replacement for those made via concrete masonry units (CMUs) or standard cored concrete blocks.
The approval has been granted to Tim Stark, a contractor seeking to use Apis Cor3D printing to complete a housing project in Montana’s largest city, Billings. By carrying out these builds via 3D printing rather than traditional construction methods, it’s thought that Stark will be able to cut his costs by up to 30%, while erecting homes at a rate that meets local affordable housing demand.
“The need for safe, quality affordable housing is significant across Montana, and this approval puts Montana at the forefront of innovative housing construction technologies nationwide,” said Montana’s Commissioner of Labor & Industry Laurie Esau. “The Department will continue to work to ensure that our standards and regulations are keeping pace with the innovation taking place in the industry to help facilitate new construction for Montana’s workers and families.”
The takeaways from this article are pretty straightforward. As concrete technology technology becomes more mainstream and well-tested, it is getting the green light to be used in actual construction workflow. The regulations for safety in home construction are pretty intense, so this seems to open the door for approval on a lot of other applications, too.
This article was also an interesting firsthand account of private sector businesses really wanting to adopt the technology because it saves them money. A lot of greener tech is costly or inconvenient for companies to implement, but the effectiveness of concrete 3D printing to save materials and time is a huge natural incentive. Obviously this is important when working in a market with such high demand. It makes me wonder if there are other sectors with similarly high demand where this could be implemented.