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Could 3D printing be the housing solution for Northern Canada?


The Conference Board Of Canada has launched a new research series, Cool Ideas.

It’s focus will be on emerging technology and what impact it could have on housing supply issues in northern Canada.

Stefan Fournier, Associate Director for Northern and Aboriginal Policy offered the following comments: “Housing and construction in general is one of the greatest challenges in Northern Canada. There is a severe shortage of suitable housing and appropriate buildings across the North, and the high cost of standard construction and short transportation season have prevented governments from coming close to meeting the urgent need for housing in the North.”

What Problems Does Housing In Northern Canada Face?

  • Transportation of building materials on ice roads or sealifts that must be scheduled months in advance
  • New public housing unit in Nunavut can cost as much as $550,000, three times as much as the same unit would cost in the GTA

Is 3D Printing The Answer?

3D printing could potentially save time and cost and potentially help address housing challenges in the north.

Fournier offered the following comments: “While it’s not yet clear whether the technology can address or overcome some of the key issues that construction projects must contend with in Northern and remote environments, it’s not hard to see how 3D printing construction could potentially have a meaningful impact in Canada’s North.”

Potential benefits of 3D printed homes

  • Lower construction costs: The cost of 3D-printed homes could be substantially less than that of a traditionally built home, perhaps as little as one one-fifth of the cost
  • Reduced construction times: A 3D-printed house of approximately 400-square-feet can be constructed within 24 hours.
  • Decreased transportation challenges
  • Increased local input: 3D printers allow for greater flexibility than standard construction, which can potentially be used to design homes and other buildings that reflect local cultures and values

Bottom line is who knows what the future holds….