Are 3D Printed Housing Communities Actually on the Horizon?

With 3D printed technology, firms say they are able to eliminate about 99% of the waste that normally accumulates during a typical home build.

With a housing crisis and rise in building expenses, many companies are searching for innovative housing solutions. Two companies turning to robots and technology to meet that demand, Mighty Buildings and the Palari Group, are on course to make the first-ever 3D housing community in America. 

Mighty Buildings is a construction tech company specializing in 3D printed homes in Oakland, California.

"Mighty Buildings 3D printed technology is revolutionary, and it's such a breakthrough in the world of construction," said Mighty Buildings spokeswoman Cambria Foden. "Compare our homes to similar homes that are just stick-built; our clients see about a 40% cost savings."

The company is partnering with the Palari Group to build the historical neighborhood in Rancho Mirage, California, in Spring 2022. The $15 million project will feature 15 three-bedroom and two-bathroom homes. The homes will also be eco-friendly as part of their net-zero initiative. The Rancho Mirage community will start at $595,000.

"With 3D printed technology, we're able to eliminate about 99% of the waste that normally accumulates during a typical stick-built," Foden said. "We're hoping to get to fully net-zero construction by 2028, which is about 22 years ahead of the construction industry."

David Garcia, policy director at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, UC Berkeley, believes any innovation that can be brought to the construction space should be explored. With the cost of a home in California seven times the average income Garcia says "builders can't build housing that is as affordable to people as they used to. The cost to build housing in California is very high."

One issue Mighty Buildings and other innovative housing companies face, according to Garcia, is the demand, "We need to be building close to 200,000 units per year in the State of California in order to keep up with our existing demand."

The 3D printed community in Coachella Valley may not be the single solution to the housing crisis, but it plays a significant role in getting us to where we need to be. Garcia says it will take several innovative ideas and plans to dig us out of our current housing crisis. "It's going to take a concerted effort amongst all of these different housing areas to address this pretty monumental challenge,"he said.