Virginia’s first 3D-printed home going up in Richmond’s Southside

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 6:40 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - History was made in South Richmond as construction began on a house being built using a 3D printer.

Thursday morning, the massive piece of technology used concrete to help build a 1,550-square-foot home with three bedrooms and two baths.

”It’s a home where your wall are made out of concrete instead of wood that’s it,” said Zachary Manngeimer, CEO of Alquist, a 3D printing construction firm from Iowa City.

“It’s mixed in a mixing bowl and from there it goes through a tube into a printer head and that printer head is programmed to go around and print the wall system,” said Chris Thompson, Director of Virginia Housing.

The process to build the walls takes about 15 hours but requires less labor, and fewer materials than your standard job, but besides that, contractors say this home is no different from any other.

” It’s the same plumbing, same electrical, same HVAC, and same roof structure. All of that is the same,” said Manngeimer.

This new housing project comes from a grant made possible through several organizations:

  • Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech
  • Alquist, a 3D printing construction firm from Iowa City, Iowa, will be working directly with the VCHR to print the home’s exterior walls.
  • The Better Housing Coalition
  • RMT Construction & Development Group

All of these organizations have researched 3-D printing for years, hoping this printer has the potential to reduce the cost of homeownership.

”The housing prices have been out of control for decades and the pandemic has only made it worse,” said Manngeimer. “We think this technology can drop the cost make it more efficient and also help families customize a home to fit their lifestyle in ways they may not have been able to do before.”

“It’s a good time to really start testing and understand how we try new material, and how do we try new ways of building,” said Andrew McCoy, Director of Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech.

Currently, Florida and Arizona are the only other two states that have dabbled into the home printing world, and now, Virginia is next on that list hoping to print opportunities of the American homeownership dream.

“It gives us room to experiment and test which is all that needs to happen,” said McCoy.

“This is the future of construction,” said Manngeimer.

The house is expected to be finished in October and sell for roughly $200,000.

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