The concept of 3D printing has taken the technology world by storm as of late, but what about bringing this technology to the process of homebuilding?
For Bruce Bell, co-founder of UK-based Facit Homes, this idea has been embraced openly by his company, which utilizes an innovative, trademarked construction method known as “D-Process.”
How Does it Work?
- Homes are designed on a computer exactly to the client’s specifications using precision 3D technology.
- A computer-controlled cutter is delivered to the site and programmed to cut out all the component parts using sheets of structurally graded engineered plywood.
- Those sheets are then assembled by hand and are ready to be fitted within the house.
What this Means for TecHome Builders
Something like D-Process makes assembly easier, saving time and costs while still delivering a high-end finished product.
Saving time and money with precision building such as this, opens doors for builders to pursue other options for their home—such as implementing smart home technology and connected appliances.
Cutting initial construction costs will allow wiggle room for a builder’s technology budget. Additionally, putting all the pieces together beforehand allows builders to pinpoint the exact places in the home where they will implement tech into the walls, ceilings or floors. Spaces will be carved out during the construction process to make room for the tech in advance.
This type of look-ahead planning could eliminate many headaches for builders.
The Inception of an Innovative Idea
Speaking of headaches, the idea for D-Process was born out of frustration by Bell. He saw time and energy being wasted during on-site construction, which leaves measurements, specifications and everything in between open to interpretation, therefore slowing down construction.
With D-Process, everything is designed beforehand and cut precisely to meet the desired specifications. All that’s needed is to put the pieces together.
“People often refer to what we do as 3D printing, but we use the term ‘digital manufacturing,’ which reflects the permanence of our homes. 3D printing is used to prototype or produce a one-off item,” says Bell.
Bell compares the home to other products we consume, such as an iPhone, which he says are digitally manufactured.
Better Than a Typical Construction Process
Bell calls the typical construction method “messy and chaotic and horrible.” He describes the precision of his company’s D-Process to be immune to the errors of human translation.
“We build a highly detailed 3D computer model, which is utilized for every part of the design, manufacturing and construction process,” says Bell.
The 3D model allows the client to virtually walk through the design, experience every room layout and see the position and type of technology, fixtures and fittings. Bell says this ensures that they understand the design in every dimension.
Because of the efficiencies of these home builds, Bell states that costs usually come in at about 15 percent less than they typically would with standard construction methods.
That makes for a new source of funding for builders to add connected devices consumers are now demanding.
The Future of Building?
This unique process certainly sets a precedent that could lead to the future of home construction.
As of now, Facit Homes is the only company fully embracing this unique technology to build its homes. Its efficiency and ease-of-use could likely expand as the process is certainly still quite young in the scheme of things (Facit is currently on its 11th and 12th homes using D-Process).
However, utilizing this technology will not be instant for builders looking to replicate, as this highly unique and sophisticated process took a total of eight years to develop.