Last month Siksika Nation announced their first ever 3D concrete housing project. This project will be the largest 3D housing project in Canada up to date and big step towards sustainable, affordable, and innovative housing solutions for Siksika Nation.

Housing Manager for Siksika Nation, Ryan Hall invited the Strathmore Now team onto the site of the project to discuss where they are at with it. 

"We are currently setting up the gantry for the 3D printer, so they've got the six vertical pillars pretty much installed now." 

This is the first 3D house that is being built in Alberta and a fairly new way of going about housing. There is only one Nidus3D printer in all of Canada. 

"This machine will be here through the next month and a half to finish the concrete portion of the buildings and then I believe they're doing a project in Florida over the winter." 

Hall says that if everything goes according to plan then maybe the Nation will think about investing in a printer so that they can design and build their own houses.

"It's possible to do, we will just need to train people on how to use the machine and all we would need is a small team of people working on it." 

These homes that will be built are designed with sustainability in mind. The innovative construction method minimizes waste, reduces carbon emissions, and utilizes locally sourced materials, aligning with both environmental and community values.

"A conventional construction takes a long time, and time is money in construction. To do a fourplex like this in a standard way would cost a lot more and we would need a lot more manpower to do it. The concrete structure will get printed in about a week and then it cures and then we just have to build the rest of the house."

"So, we save a lot of time and because time is money, you reduce your overhead costs of building it and can deliver a pretty competitive price per square foot essentially." 

The budget for this project is $2.6 million and that will allow for 16, one bedroom, one bath transitional housing units and in response to the National Housing Crisis, this might be the only sustainable solution.

"The bottleneck right now is access to the machines because there is only one in western Canada. As more companies invest in the technology and create more homes it should hopefully fill that housing gap."  

Project Manager for Nidus3D Nick Dragicevic explained that the printer is modular and that it can print as small as they want or as big as they want.

"It is basically like the desktop 3D printers. You can take the same files, print a 3D print and then take the same file, plug it into our printer and then just print the house. It is pretty cool."

There is a lot of testing at their facility before they bring it on site. Dragicevic said so they know that everything is in working condition.

"We see how things line up, whether it's electrical, plumbing, roof structures, everything just so that when we come to the site, it's just plug and play."

The project is estimated to be done at the end of January 2024. 

3dA demonstration of what the 3D houses will look like in the winter. Photo Courtesy - Ryan Hall, Siksika Housing Manager

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