How will we build our homes in 10, 20 or even 50 years?

The housing shortage remains at the centre of the political stage, so we’ve taken a look at some of the innovative construction methods being developed that could help us solve the housing crisis.

3D Printing

How about printing your own house?

Sounds a bit far-fetched but it’s already being done by builders across the globe. Who knows it could even become the norm for housebuilding.

We’ve all heard of 3D printing, maybe even seen some of the cool things that can be created using them, but until now it has mainly been adopted in manufacturing to help reduce waste. Over the next few years we should start to see more and more items being printed that will become commonplace in our homes.

Some printers have even been ‘super-sized’ in order to create houses. So how does this work?

The process involves the layering of a material, in this case cement, by an industrial printer to create a three dimensional object i.e a house.

The benefits of this for the housing industry are huge when you consider a Chinese firm recently built 10 houses in 1 day!

Learn more about how the process works in this BBC article or by watching the video below:

Offsite and modular construction

Offsite construction techniques have already been embraced by many. An Inside Housing survey of the largest housing associations found that between 2011-15, 46.3% of homes were built using offsite construction.

Similarly the attraction of modern, energy efficient designs, such as the Huf Haus have converted many would be self-builders.

So whilst some offsite methods such as Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) have become mainstream, the continued drive for energy efficiency and faster building will no doubt lead to ever more adventurous uses of offsite construction.

In China this is already being used to make flatpack skyscrapers! Take a look at this BBC article by Finn Aberdein and time lapse video below showing how a 57 storey building was constructed in as little as 19 days!

Robots, drones and exoskeletons

In a previous blog we discussed the issue of an ageing workforce and skills shortage in construction.

One of the most radical solutions to this problem is to use robots and exoskeletons.

That’s right, in years to come our houses could be built by the likes of the Terminator and Iron Man! Well not quite but a lot of the manual work at least could be replaced by robots. Where robots can’t be used construction workers are likely to be assisted by exoskeletons and monitored by overhead drones.

Find out more about construction exoskeletons in this Wired article by Adam Rogers (follow @jetjocko) and robot bricklayers in this Independent article by Andrew Griffin (follow @_andrew_griffin).

As well as the speed offered by a robot bricklayer (some manufacturers suggest they will be able to build full sized houses in 2 days) there is also no risk of the classic ‘builder’s bum’!

By Craig Ross