Europe's biggest 3D-printed apartments being built in Germany
Europe's largest residential building constructed by a 3D printer is being erected in Bavaria, Germany.
The 380 square meters, three-storey building, which will house five apartments, is being built by German firm Peri, using a large 3D printer manufactured by Danish firm COBOD.
The printer uses a computer to direct the mixing of the concrete before it is sucked along a tube and squirted out from the device to form layers. It cannot however be used when the temperature drops below freezing.
"This machine automatically applies layer on layer of concrete. You can imagine a sort of piping bag like you'd use to ice a cake which builds up the layers step by step," said Fabian Meyer-Broetz, a spokesman for Peri.
Once the walls are built, the cavities are also filled with concrete, while allowing space for gas, water, electricity and sewage pipes.
"We have very high building standards in Germany, and this technology is in no way inferior. We are standing in what will be a very energy-efficient house (in German a KfW 55 house). It will be very well sound-insulated. And of course in terms of design the 3D printer allows us to create all the shapes that you can imagine," Meyer-Broetz said.
The process is significantly faster than a manual build and also requires fewer laborers on site - an advantage as the industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers, according to Fabian Rupp, the CEO of building contractor Rupp Baudruck.
"For a multi-apartment building like this we would normally have five people on site, but for this building we only need two or three. It took two people 25 hours to print the ground floor. In comparison, it usually takes five people five days," Rupp said.
"At the moment we're having problems getting young people enthused about training in construction. We want to turn that around with this 3D project and say 'hey, we're making working in construction sexy again'," he added.