Montana has become the first state to approve wide regulatory use of 3D printing for walls instead of concrete masonry units or hollow-core concrete blocks, a potentially cheaper way to build homes.
The single-family homes planned by Billings contractor Tim Stark won approval after filing documents and test reports compiled by Apis Cor, a Florida-based building technology company, the company said in a statement. . Apis claims to be the only company of its kind to have designed 3D-printed walls that comply with international building codes and has completed several pilot homes in the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
“In so many states, regulations are getting in the way of building more homes,” Stark, who was seeking planning permission to build in Billings and elsewhere in the state, said in the statement. “I’m proud of my home state of Montana.”
The National Fire Protection Association released the specifications, which were tested by an independent third-party lab in Boston. Costs to build homes using 3D printing can be up to 30% lower than traditional methods, Apis said.
The average home price in Montana jumped 24% last year, compared to 17% nationwide, and has risen 32% in two years, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
“Having this clear support from the State of Montana paves the way for faster decisions at the county level, which will make it easier for developers to move forward with their 3D-printed housing projects,” said the CEO of Apis, Anna Cheniuntai, in the press release.