The Department of Science And Innovation (DSI) is piloting the use of 3D-printed homes to help address South Africa’s housing shortfall.
In a presentation to parliament this week, the department said 25 housing units have been earmarked for the demonstration through 3D printing technology. The project is being conducted in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements.
“In search of an innovation-based system to improve the delivery of human settlements, the DSI supported the demonstration of 3D printing of houses through the use of additive materials technologies.
“The initiative aligns to the countries effort to transition sustainable human settlements to smart, green and sustainable settlements in the context of 4IR and climate change,” it said.
It added that the plan to offer 3D-printed homes forms part of a broader 10-year plan to establish sustainable human settlements across the country. President Cyril Ramaphosa has previously indicated that 3D-printed homes will form part of the government’s science and technology plans to aid economic recovery.
While 3D-printed homes are still a relatively nascent technology, developing countries such as Mexico are currently experimenting with 3D-printed homes to offer to indigent members of the population.
Giant 3D printers, such as the Vulcan II, are capable of building a home in just 24 hours using a specially-mixed concrete that hardens quickly, which the machine prints in a series of layers, creating a ridge-effect in the walls.
In October 2021, US-based construction companies Lennar and ICON announced plans to build a 100-home neighbourhood using 3D-printing technologies.
ICON said its proprietary wall system and advanced materials are stronger and longer-lasting than traditional building materials and provide safer, more resilient homes that are designed to withstand extreme weather, greatly reduce the impact of natural disasters, and be printed at high speeds and at scale.