3-D Printing in Real Estate

31 Juli, 2018

3-D Printing is booming

This technology is an additive fabrication technique used to create three-dimensional objects. These can be constructed in millimeter precision in digital models by stacking successive material layers. After the hype around the end-user-friendly 3-D printer has steadily declined, the technology is experiencing a real boom in the commercial environment due to ever faster and more practicable printing methods.

In addition to the production of spare parts for property and facility management, concrete and cement printers have now been developed and entire houses and bridges can be created.

The production has already progressed so far that the desired concrete structures reach the quality level of traditional materials. Moreover, millimeter-accurate modeling using 3-D printing can produce components that are much more stable, filigree, and more individual than traditional manufacturing technology would allow. In addition, the use of 3-D printing technology has a significant impact on construction costs, time and resource consumption. A 3-D printer performs the creation of objects widely independent. The human labor that was previously necessary for this is no longer needed on this scale. Due to the ever faster and more efficient technology, production, printing and curing times are continuously decreasing. Components can be produced quickly and demand-dependently directly at the required location and just-in-time. Any transport costs of components are reduced, but also substituted by the transport of the printer itself.

Frau mit 3D-Modell

Future Impact

Although a long-term change in the demand for logistics and retail properties due to the relocation of production facilities is conceivable, it is likely to have only marginal effects. Preferred printing materials would have to be stored and distributed just in time. A realistic influence of 3-D printing technology exists for the real estate industry mainly in property and facility management with regard to the flexible production of spare parts. Despite these positive prospects and the outlined influence of this technology, 3-D printing in the real estate sector is currently just in its infancy. The long-term value added will not have a disruptive impact on the industry.

Start-ups

Apis Cor

The start-up Apis Cor from Russia and San Francisco has specialized in the 3D printing of buildings and developed a suitable and mobile printer. Within 24 hours, you can use your printer to print out components for smaller homes up to 100 m² in size.

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Contour Crafting

Contour Crafting has developed a two-stage software-based construction process for the fully automated construction of buildings. The modeled construction concept is implemented here less by a printer than by a robot. After modeling the planned construction project, the model is transmitted to the "printer" or a computer-controlled crane designed as a fully automatic, large-format robot. This robot is larger than the construction project itself and builds the object layer by layer from bottom to top.

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Branch Technologies

Branch Technologies offers a patent pending 3D printing process called C-FAB™. This unparalleled process allows material to solidify in open space creating a cell-like matrix in virtually any shape or form.

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Contact us

Susanne Eickermann-Riepe

Head of Real Estate, PwC Germany

Tel.: +49 69 9585-5909

Julia Arlt

Global Digital Real Estate Leader, PwC Austria

Tel.: +43 1 50188-2830

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