Test 3D-printed homes for Northern communities: report.

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A new report is recommending 3D-printed homes be tested in remote Northern Canada to study their suitability in addressing housing problems in Northern and Indigenous communities.

Revolutionary Building for the North: 3D Printing Construction, commissioned by the Conference Board of Canada, is the first report in the "Cool Ideas" series designed to study how emerging technologies could "improve or disrupt the quality of life in Canada's North."

According to the report, the cost to construct a standard, 1,200-square-foot, wood-frame home in a fly-in Northern Ontario community is close to $350,000. But the materials are often "poorly suited" to the harsh climate, and builders are at the mercy of the short transportation season, since materials have to be trucked in via ice road or flown in by sealifts.

The report suggests that 3Dprinted homes could be built faster, at lower cost, while still addressing chronic issues such as overcrowding and the deterioration of existing homes.

"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," said Stefan Fournier, the Conference Board's associate director of Northern and Aboriginal policy, in a Nov. 29 news release.

"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."

However, 3D-printed homes are...

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