Mighty Buildings starts delivering 3D printed homes with 95% labor cost savings

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350 sq ft building
Image from Mighty Buildings

Recently launched Mighty Buildings, based in Oakland, has started producing 3D-printed homes that can be built with what the company says are 95% fewer labor costs at twice the speed of conventional construction.

The builder believes the structures will appeal to consumers seeking prefab cottages, as a way to overcome runaway housing prices.

The company says property owners want to build accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, to rent to tenants to generate income, keep aging parents near, or to use as dedicated office space in the new work-from-home environment.

“We are finding that these (customers) are a combination of homeowners with some extra backyard space who would like to have a contained, private environment for living and working on their property,” Sam Ruben, co-founder and chief sustainability officer, has been quoted in an email to The Sacramento Bee.

“We see going direct … to consumers in order to take advantage of changes to California regulations since 2017 that have streamlined the permitting process,” Ruben said.

Mighty Buildings offers six models ranging from a 350-sq. ft. studio (starting at $115,000) to a 1,440-sq. ft, three-bedroom, two-bath home (priced up to $285,000).

“As far as labor, we save 95% of the labor time, working with half as many people, and with one-tenth of the materials waste as compared to traditional construction,” Ruben said. “Compared to comparable units built here in California with traditional methods we are currently up to 45% lower in cost and will be able to achieve 20% to 30% savings over traditional prefab as well.”

Mighty Buildings launched in August with $30 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator and other investors, a company representative told the Bee.
The builder doesn’t use concrete, but makes its homes out of Light Stone, a composite material that hardens when exposed to UV light. For exterior walls, the panels are covered in a fire-resistant screen.
“More specifically, we are actively working with a network of developers, builders, technologists, and other businesses and institutions around the world to systematize our technology and processes — essentially, taking what we do here in Oakland and making it readily available across the country and around the planet,” Ruben said.
“Not only will localities be able to make housing and other structures affordably and sustainably, but they’ll also be better able to respond quickly to unexpected needs in the face of any uncertainty. These printing hubs can be set up in a relatively small footprint allowing them to take advantage of existing warehouse space rather than needing large, bespoke facilities.”

The Oakland facility alone could create more than 300 of these dwellings per year, Ruben estimates.

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