Could 3D printed homes be the solution to South Africa's housing crisis?
South Africa's high levels of unemployment, inequality and corruption at government level are major contributing factors behind the housing crisis the country faces.
According to Malusi Booi, the mayoral committee member for human settlements in the City of Cape Town, the city has a housing backlog of more than 300 000 people registered on a waiting list for government funded houses.
The cost of conventional building materials such as bricks and cement have increased exponentially in recent years, making it even harder for government hand out free homes to people.
But there might just be a more cost effective way of producing quality, single-family homes.
Global leaders in the construction and industrial markets, Saint-Gobain, recently handed over the keys to a family for a house made entirely of 3D-printed concrete in Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
Retired shopkeepers Elize Lutz and Harrie Dekkers moved into their new, futuristic-looking, 94 square metre, boulder shaped home in the Bosrijk neighbourhood of Eindhoven, in southern Netherlands.
D'Leon Burger, head of marketing at Saint-Gobain South Africa says this might become a cheaper way of building houses in future.
That is the goal, but we're not there yet. At the end of the day, one of the benefits is it's a very quick way to build. Probably in around 10 years, it'll be quite a common occurrence if everything goes according to plan. Then the costs will come down, but the way that they're building it now, these are highly efficient homes, energy efficient homes.D'Leon Burger - Head of Marketing at Saint-Gobain South Africa
Burger believes this concept could make it's way to South Africa in the near future.
That's the question. Potentially not too far away. It's not that we've got the machinery here just yet, but with our appetite and Saint-Gobain being at the forefront of these innovations, we're quite keen. I can't give you a definite answer, but I don't think too far away.D'Leon Burger - Head of Marketing at Saint-Gobain South Africa
The 94 square meters’ house consists of 24 printed concrete elements, which are printed layer by layer in the printing plant in Eindhoven. The elements were transported by truck to the building site and placed on a foundation.
The house was then provided with a roof and frames, and the finishing touches applied.
Thanks to the performant insulation, the house is very energy efficient and provides greater comfort for its occupants.
It took them just over a year. Obviously the project is not yet complete, but this is the first of five that will be built. They're doing the first one, learning from that one, then they'll apply those learnings into the next, and by the end there'll be some multi-storied dwellings as well.D'Leon Burger - Head of Marketing at Saint-Gobain South Africa
Listen to the audio of the interview below