Even though 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, in the last few years, it’s officially gone mainstream.
Currently, 3D printing for building development is largely used as a way to efficiently build affordable housing, schools or shelters in disaster relief zones, so the technology is often perceived as a driver of philanthropic or socially conscious ventures.
But as the technology continues to progress, it could potentially become the standard for all new building development. Once this happens, there are many interesting implications for the CRE industry.
In 2017, MIT researchers printed a 3.6 meter-tall dome in 14 hours, demonstrating how 3D printing can be safer, faster and cheaper than other, more conventional, building methods.
And a recent JLL Real Views article highlights companies like Texas-based construction tech company Icon, which recently unveiled a model of a concrete house that can be printed in under 24 hours, at a cost of under $10,000. Other 3D-printed building systems, also known as building information modeling (BIM), are currently active all over the world, like in Nantes, France; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Canada and the UK.
Building an entire new structure from the ground up will be more cost-effective when BIM systems go mainstream. So, land properties may become more popular, and warehouses could likely be the first major CRE buildings to be developed with BIM systems, due to their simplicity.
Once more developers turn toward 3D printing technology, brokers can emphasize to their clients how easy it can be to make an existing building one’s own. That’s because they’ll only be limited by their imagination once BIM systems will allow them to customize a space however they want. Buyers may even start looking at existing buildings in prime locations completely differently. Older, less appealing buildings in hot locations could be completely razed to build new ones quickly and efficiently.
With 3D printing for CRE, the possibilities are almost endless.
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