Right after the fascination with 3D printed houses fully sets in, one of the first questions we’re asked is, “ok, but are 3D printed homes safe?”

3D printed homes are similar to traditionally built concrete houses in a variety of ways. Concrete is completely sound and has been used in architecture for centuries. It is still an excellent building material today for many modern structures. In fact, concrete walls are safer than many other common building materials!

It’s important to remember that 3D printed houses need to meet local state laws and regulations. In other words, these homes are required to be up to code in order to live in, like any other home. Safety is always the top priority.

Let’s familiarize you with how these houses are built. You’ll feel a lot more confident once you understand how it’s structurally sound.

How Is a Home 3D Printed?

ARCS by SQ4D building a 3D printed concrete house.

First, our engineering and architectural team work together to create a floor plan for the home. The 3D printer is moved to the location site, concrete is mixed on site, and the 3D printer is set to print.

Our builds consist of high compression concrete with the appropriate rebar reinforcements. A small crew oversees production of the house and ensures the proper concrete mix is fed to the 3D printer.

Not only do we offer a radically faster way to build, ARCS is extremely safe, efficient, and significantly less expensive than hiring a full crew of laborers.

How Does the 3D Printer Print Concrete?

We have developed 3D printers to extrude concrete mixture with ideal consistency and a controllable drying factor. These are two important factors that allow SQ4D to continually stack layers of cementitious mix and retain dimensional accuracy, while allowing the concrete to flow smoothly.

Many outside factors can influence drying time, stacking, and flowability. Being in full control of your mix is extremely important for consistent concrete mixes – this is why we mix our concrete on site, on demand.

Once the workers set the machine to print, our system extrudes the concrete according to the floorplan.

SQ4D’s 3D Printer laying concrete.

It’s safer because there’s less to go wrong and less direct exposure to the silica in the wet concrete.

Did you know?
Concrete produces little waste. Building a 3D printed concrete house is not only SIGNIFICANTLY
more
environmentally friendly than other modern houses, but also that much cooler to live in.

3D Printed Concrete Walls vs. Wood: Which is Safer?

Wood has been standard in residential construction for years now, but it is weaker than most concrete mixes and easily damaged. Concrete constructed houses might sound unusual to some, but it’s been used all throughout history, for thousands of years.

It’s very prevalent in Florida, Europe, and high wind areas. In fact, the Pantheon is over 1,800 years old and was built with concrete! Both wood and concrete are safe and completely legal, but did you know that concrete is the safer of the 2?

Here’s why concrete is thought to be safer:

  • Concrete is not vulnerable to the elements the way wood is. For example, concrete is far more resistant to fire and pests.
  • Our concrete is handled by a machine. Less handling means less work related injuries and direct exposure to the material when it’s wet.
  • Our concrete has been compression tested to 6000+ psi, making it far more durable than wood.
  • Wood is susceptible over time, whereas concrete is a lot more resistant to aging issues like mold.
SQ4D 3D Printed Concrete Wall

SQ4D 3D Printed Concrete Wall

Does That Mean My House Will Survive the Nuclear Apocalypse?

Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down there! A 3D house is definitely strong and durable, but it’s not the modern day answer to a bunker. Between the concrete and special pre engineered truss system, a 3D house is safe enough to withstand a lot of additional force.

In other words, you can trust your 3D printed concrete to withstand:

  • Fires
  • High speed winds
  • Extreme temperatures (blizzards and extreme summer heat)
  • Earthquakes
  • Floods or droughts

But — a cement house is still a house. It’s still mostly aboveground, has windows, and influenced by a majority of factors. We can’t predict all that can go wrong, and we are a firm believer in respecting Murphy’s law when it comes to forces beyond our control (e.g. mother nature). So in the event of a serious natural disaster, we recommend you follow protocol and evacuate for your safety.

How are 3D Printed Houses Legal?!

Sounds too good to be true, huh? 3D printed houses are the result of years of technological experimentation and engineering innovation. While our industry is growing tremendously, we’re proud to say that we’re at a point where we can print 3D houses safely, and even exceed local code and housing regulations.

That’s right, these structures must meet the same safety standards and expectations as any other house. The fact that we are able to build houses at a lower cost with what used to be “the more expensive choice” is incredible! We hope you decide to come live the dream with us by living in ours!

SQ4D is working on printing houses all over the nation. Are you signed up for our mailing list? Make sure you don’t miss out on the next build near you.


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