A building company in central China has devised a new 3D printing technology that enables entire houses to be assembled on-site in a matter of hours.

The technology developed by the Zhuoda Group involves printing out the modules for entire sections of the house in a factory, then delivering them to the construction site and putting them together with a crane to form a complete multi-storey structure.

In July, the Zhuoda Group managed to complete work on a two-story villa in Xi’an in just three hours. The finished home consisted of a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, all of which were first produced in an offsite factory using 3D printing technology.

Zhuoda engineers claim their 3D printing methods can slash the total construction time for a two-storey villa from as long as six months to just two weeks.

In addition to dramatically reduced building times, the new construction method is also highly economical, costing as little as US$400 to $480 per square metre.

Zhuoda claims the finished product is not just inexpensive but highly sturdy and resilient as well, designed to last for 150 years and capable of withstanding strong seismic events.

The company has applied for over 20 patents in relation to its new construction technologies. Thus far, it is remaining tight-lipped about the details, refusing to even divulge the type of building material employed by the printing process.

The company hopes to commercialise the technology soon and make bespoke villas available to Chinese homebuyers.

3D printing appears poised to take off in China, where the technology is perfectly suited to the needs of the country’s long-term urbanisation drive as well as ongoing efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of industrial processes.

Other companies in China are also pioneering efforts to bring 3D printing to the building sector, such as Shanghai’s Winsun, which has used its own proprietary 3D printer to create a five-storey apartment building and 1,100 square metre villa for display purposes at Suzhou Industrial Park.