A first 3D-printed residential building is under construction in Germany. The two-storey detached house with approx. 80 sqm of living space per floor is not being constructed in the conventional manner, it is being printed by a 3D construction printer. This construction technique which is being implemented by PERI GmbH has come through all of the regulatory approval processes over the last few weeks and months.
The engineering office Schießl Gehlen Sodeikat supported the development of the concept for obtaining the approval, the planning and execution of the corresponding approval tests was carried out by the Technical University of Munich. The building was planned by MENSE-KORTE ingenieure+architekten and the client is Hous3Druck GmbH. The materials used to produce the printable concrete are being sourced from HeidelbergCement.
Printing technology and materials
PERI uses 3D printers of type BOD2 for printing. This printing technology comes from the Danish manufacturer COBOD. PERI acquired a stake in COBOD back in 2018. The BOD2 printer used in Beckum is a gantry printer, which means that the print head moves about 3 axes on a securely installed metallic frame. The benefit here is that the printer can move along its frame to any position within the construction and only needs to be calibrated once.
The “i.tech 3D” material used in the printing process was developed by HeidelbergCement specifically for 3D printing. Its properties are tailored to the specific requirements of 3D construction printing and it works perfectly with the BOD2 printer. This ensures that consistent progress is made throughout the construction project.
“We had an efficient and innovative collaboration with HeidelbergCement. They have been instrumental in clarifying all outstanding questions regarding construction methods and printing materials quickly and easily,” said Fabian Meyer-Brötz, Head of 3D Construction Printing at PERI.
The building consists of triple-skin cavity walls, which are filled with an insulating compound. During the printing process, the printer takes into account the pipes and connections for water, electricity, etc. that are to be laid at a later time. The BOD2 has been certified in such a way that it is possible to carry out work within the printing area while printing is in progress. This means that manual work, such as the installation of empty pipes and connections, can be easily integrated into the printing process.
Only two operators are required to run the printer. The print head and the print results are monitored by a camera. With a speed of 1 m/s, the BOD2 is currently the fastest 3D construction printer available on the market. The BOD2 only takes around 5 minutes to complete 1m² of a double-skin wall.
The building was planned by MENSE-KORTE ingenieure+architekten and the client is Hous3Druck GmbH. “The concrete printing process affords us designers a high degree of freedom when we are designing buildings. With conventional construction methods, this would only be possible at great financial cost,” said architect Waldemar Korte, partner of the architectural practice MENSE-KORTE ingenieure+architekten in Beckum. “With our printed residential building in Beckum, we are demonstrating the potential of the construction printing process. It is a huge privilege for our team to realise the first 3D-printed residential construction project in Germany. We believe in the future viability of construction printing technology for the construction sector and already have other 3D printing projects on our radar,” added architect Korte.