September 04, 2008
U-Print Buildings

Inkjet printer, meet the concrete jet printer. Does this mean that even illegal labor is now too expensive to build houses economically? Or, perhaps, construction demand is now so high worldwide there simply aren't enough skilled mason to go around?

Posted by scott at September 04, 2008 09:45 AM

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Concrete, as a structural member has huge advantages over the old school wood methodology:

-It's a wonderful heat sink. Helps keep the building at the same temperature.
-Structurally, it withstands all sorts of environmental impacts (hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes) well when designed and built properly.

Downsides include:
-cost - building a concrete house requires much labor to set up the forms (and have the forms built by hand if it's a custom job) and properly lay the concrete.
-Isn't particularly well-suited for later DIY mods. Kind of hard to put a new window or doorway in a concrete wall

General changes include
-Timber/aggregate: If we start going to this, we'll likely need less timber resources, which is good. Unfortunately, we'll also need to get more aggregate and cement, which requires pit mines. So, jobs drop in one area and increase in the other, as does the environmental impact.
-Construction - a huge drop in labor charges in the actual structural member formation as well as roughing in the services would definitely reduce costs meaning that we don't get as much call for cheap labor.

Posted by: ronaprhys on September 4, 2008 10:46 AM
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