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In the time it takes for you to watch the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, a housing company in China can build three, two-story houses.

Zhouda, the firm responsible for setting the new benchmark for 3D-printed homes, accomplished the impossible feat in front of a live audience using pre-made parts from a factory. The construction group also claims that the shelter can last over 150 years and withstand devastating, high-magnitude earthquakes.

Zhouda 3D printed house

Strong, Mysterious Materials Were Used

Installation for the home started with the living room. This area was laid down first as a foundation for the other sections of the model. Next, the bedroom, kitchen and first floor bathroom were added. The second floor components, which were installed last, included a bedroom, utility room and a terrace.

According to the manufacturers, the questionable material used is top secret and pretty amazing:

…sourced from industrial and agricultural wastes and are capable of withstanding earthquakes with a magnitude of 9.0 and are also fireproof and waterproof. This new material contains no formaldehyde, ammonia, radon and other harmful substances.

Each prefabricated part was complete with wiring, plumbing and interior decoration. It’s unclear whether the company partnered with nearby businesses for the pieces. Aesthetically, it looks like a regular house. Based on the design, it’s obvious the model was built in sections and the builders made several notable attempts to make the transitions seamless.

Zhouda modular shelter

Ordering a House Online

The possibilities of 3D-printed shelters are endless. Eventually, you’d be able to order a house online, choose the materials, designs and configurations; and have it built the next day. Entire neighborhoods and educational facilities can be erected over a weekend.

Because construction firms are responsible for the foundational parts (walls, railings and stairs- just to name a few), repairing damage would be as simple as ordering replacement pieces online. If this housing trend catches on, local businesses that normally cater to such services would suffer.

Zhouda home

Solving India and China’s Housing Problem

India and China are currently are facing housing problems due to sudden surges in population. In highly developed countries like the US, the average time it takes to build a house is six months. But for regions lacking in resources, infrastructure and efficient labor the time frame is usually much longer. One should also consider that brick and cement are the materials of choice in such areas, not wood, resulting in an even more tedious building process.

The current housing situation in Central Asia makes Zhouda’s offering very timely. By 2016, the construction firm hopes to have the capacity to build two billion square meters of housing per year, which equals roughly twelve million 1800 square foot houses. There’s no doubt the business is serious about delivering these goals.

“Since 90% of the houses we build are completed in a factory prior to the actual on-site construction, we only need to do on-site follow-up work to complete a build. This not only avoids the pollution caused by traditional construction sites, but also dramatically reduces construction costs by thinking about houses as a traditional manufactured product,“ said Tan BuYong, vice president of Zhuoda (translated).

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