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Is 3D printing good or bad for construction jobs?

3d printed house sxsw austin
(Quartz/Mike Murphy)

Now You can now 3D-print a house in under a day  

I love this discussion thread about the recent article by Mike Murphy at QUARTZ on 3D printed houses/structures and the impact of these emerging and potentially disruptive technologies.  There is a lot of concern for the future of the construction industry and jobs, which is understandable.

I live in California, where it costs more in materials and construction to frame a house vs. whole finished properties 5x in size in some other states. That means most of the budget goes into permitting, special materials and expensive and inefficient construction techniques - things that eat money otherwise spent on quality finish and detail by skilled professionals.

In a market like ours, what I believe this technology will allow for, assuming it nets out more cost-efficient, is more spending on finish work, professional carpentry and finish skills, vs. costs dictated by construction standards and code requirements. It will also demand a whole new class of labor skills to operate the equipment.

I predict the savings will be to the benefit of the home owner - and the quality of the result both structurally, and aesthetically - and not necessarily at the expense of skilled labor. Traditionally speaking, new technologies in construction techniques have fed the job market, not squashed it.

What do you think?

 

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