AMS Spring 2023

Leading US Homebuilder Century Communities Starts Selling 3D Printed Homes in Arizona

Inkbit

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Century Communities, one of the top 10 homebuilders in the US, announced that it is now selling homes with walls built using additive construction (AC) methods. The company has made the homes, which comprise a community in Casa Grande, AZ called ‘Mountain View Estates’, available for purchase through its website.

Century Communities is selling the homes through its Century Complete brand, which is marketed for its affordability and ease of purchase. The company worked with Diamond Age 3D, a Phoenix-based startup that combines robotic arms with a gantry-based AC platform, to build the homes. Around the same time that the partnership was originally announced, in March, 2022, Diamond Age also received $50 million in a Series A financing round.

Image courtesy of Century Communities

In a press release announcing the homes with 3D printed walls at Mountain View Estates, the president of Century Complete, Greg Huff, commented, “…[This new technology showcases] the traditional aesthetic that our buyers love but with industry-leading concrete printed walls designed for durability, energy-efficiency, and noise reduction. …[This project] further expands on our mission to provide affordable new homes that keep the dream of homeownership within reach.” Genji Nakata, the executive VP of National Operations at Century Communities, added, “This is a significant breakthrough not just for Century Complete but also for the housing industry and homebuyers looking for cutting-edge construction at an affordable price.”

Image courtesy of Diamond Age 3D

The homes at Mountain View Estates were built according three different single-story floor plans, and start in the upper $200,000 range. According to Diamond Age, the homes can be built in 30 days, and reduce the manual labor required for construction by over 50 percent.

https://youtu.be/t5ky1vfW_vM

Although this isn’t “the first” community of homes built with AC — nor does Century Communities make that claim — it is certainly one of the largest such communities to hit the market so far, especially in terms of projects delivered by companies that build on-site rather than those that rely on a prefab business model. The most obvious competitor to Century Communities/Diamond Age is the collaboration between homebuilding giant Lennar Corporation and Austin-based ICON. The latter is currently working on Wolf Ranch, a community of 100 homes in Texas, unfazed by a Black Friday fire that destroyed ICON’s headquarters.

Just as it did in 2022, the AC market segment continues to send signals that it is the dark horse in the additive manufacturing (AM) space. As the number of finished projects such as this one, or ICON’s, increase, the more that regulatory regimes are likely to respond favorably to AC processes: as Montana did last year, when its state government gave broad regulatory approval to concrete printed walls.

The notable detail here, as with multiple other developments last year, is that construction giants seem to be embracing AC, not fleeing from it. The volatility of the construction and real estate markets suggest that the adoption of AC methods should only accelerate from here, if only as a means to stabilize building costs.

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