Market Insights

Is 3D printing the future of real estate?

The potential of 3D printing is continually pushed to the edges of imagination and possibility in almost every industry to which it is applied. At a glance, 3D printers will eventually become as common as an oven in a kitchen, as standard as a 2D printer in every office building and as important as a forklift at a construction site. According to a recent press release, Global Futurist Jack Uldrich is set to give a keynote speech in Charlotte, NC, in which he will address several revolutionary trends in the real estate and evolutionary industries. Among these trends, additive manufacturing – more commonly referred to as 3D printing – continues to yield some of the most tangible and groundbreaking results. Watch Uldrich below at a conference in 2015, as he speaks about previous technologies’ revolutions in the industry.

Real impact for real estate

“It might interest you to know that General Electric has already printed all of the operational components for a jet aircraft engine – all of these parts are 3D printed. And they have said by 2017 – so just two years – they’re going to be printing aircraft engine parts. Now, what is the implication to [the real estate] industry? Well think about this: what does it mean for the global supply chain when in the near future instead of printing or producing and manufacturing very sophisticated objects over in Asia…putting them on ships, transporting them across oceans…in the not too distant future, we’re going to be printing very sophisticated objects right in your backyards. It’s a trend that you need to be aware of […] Printing homes. This is where we are today and if that trend undergoes a thousand fold increase, where might we be in the near future? And if you don’t think this trend is coming fast, just a couple of weeks ago over in Italy [they’ve built] the world’s largest 3D printer. Two stories tall, they’re hope is to build affordable housing for poor people all across the developing world […] The potential with exponential growth suggests that it is a real possibility.” – Global Futurist Jack Uldrich

Throughout his speech, Uldrich highlights many important developments in the technology including WASP’s exciting progress with BigDelta, their 12-meter-tall 3D printer, built as a potential solution to affordable housing issues in developing countries. With BigDelta, the team at WASP is making significant advances at their “technological village” in Italy, where they are printing adobe homes using raw materials such as clay and mud. Innovative projects like the one at WASP’s technological village are exemplary displays of the real impact 3D printing is having and continues to have on a global scale. In the future, it seems as though housing and poverty crises will potentially be solved at the click of a printer – certainly a major success. For the construction and real estate industries, this means quicker, cheaper and more precise projects that can change landscapes and change how companies within these industries do business. Because the products manufactured on 3D printers are concrete, physical manifestations of the technology’s potential, it isn’t hard to imagine a foreseeable future in which additive manufacturing technology becomes an essential component of development.

3D printed horizons

Furthermore, 3D printing technology does not only apply to small sector building. With Dubai’s latest announcement to 3D print 25% of its buildings by 2030, it would seem as though 3D printing can potentially replace a significant amount of construction across major landscapes. Also located in Dubai is the first 3D printed office building, which involved only 18 people and took only 17 days to construct. Unsurprisingly, the technology has been regarded as something with the potential to cause “a major manufacturing paradigm shift which could redefine a portion of our commercial real estate market” – a just claim when taking into account the unprecedented waves it has already made throughout the industry.

As we continue to create and develop with the latest technologies and gadgets at our fingertips, we are simultaneously reshaping countless sectors and businesses for the better. The real estate and construction sectors are only some of the industries seeing real change from additive manufacturing. Stay tuned on 3D Printing Industry for further insights and developments about the emerging technologies.