History built in Richmond: First 3D printed home

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — These days it seems you can 3D print just about anything, from a hearing device to a gun or guitar. Now, add your next home to the list.

Virginia’s first 3D printed home for sale is taking shape in Richmond. At the construction site on Carnation Street, the printer runs along steel beams piping out cement. It’s forming the exterior walls of the concrete home.

“We can basically create some sort what of a layer cake, that’s the way to think of it. It is layers upon layers that building up and create the home,” said Andrew McCoy, Director of Virginia Center for Housing Research Virginia Tech.

McCoy applied for a $500,00 grant from Virginia Housing to explore building affordable housing units with the goal of making them scalable across Virginia.

Chris Thompson, Director of Strategic Housing for Virginia Housing, said a computer is constantly speaking to the concrete mixer. The printer then traces a pattern for the floor plan.

“It’s going to be about a 1600 square foot home, three-bedroom, two bath,” Thompson said.

He said the 3D printed home is part of a mission to create affordable, quality housing.

“We will be able to get these homes constructed and on the market sooner. You will have a much smaller contracting crew for this,” Thompson said.

He says that can add up to a construction cost savings of about 10% – maybe even more with the rising cost of lumber these days.

“I think right now with the current way the market is working and the supply chain and the current issues around the supply chain, it makes a lot of sense,” McCoy said.

There’s savings for the home buyer too.

“This is going to be highly energy-efficient and so that trickles down to the homeowner,” Thompson said.

The home should be complete by October and is expected to sell for about $200,000. Better Housing Coalition, project: HOMES and Virginia Housing, will work to identify a future Richmond homeowner who will have the option to secure a mortgage through Virginia Housing. They said nonprofits will help coordinate local regulatory compliance, permitting, zoning and insurance.

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