Are Balloons Filled with Concrete the Next Housing Trend?
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When we think of houses, we usually think of their construction in terms of sturdy materials like bricks or limestone. But, now that technology is developing, inflated homes are becoming the newest reality. Thanks to a New York City startup called Automatic Construction, there’s a groundbreaking homebuilding process of blowing up a foundation with air and then filling the walls with concrete.
Since constructing homes has been a standard practice for centuries, many don’t believe erecting buildings needs any improvements or changes. According to Fastcompany.com, inflated homes provided by Automatic Construction could significantly reduce the price tag for new buildings with a quicker turnaround time for constructors. This new practice would be highly cost-efficient for construction companies as well since this practice costs one-fifth of the price of routine building procedures for single-family homes. See how the company plans to pull this off below:
So, how does using inflatables help construct a stable house? The building process starts by rolling out a PVC outline of the future home’s design. Then, conventional construction air compressors blow up the structure, before concrete is inserted into the building.
When the concrete is pumped through the inflated home, a device is used to suck out the air simultaneously. That way, the house doesn’t collapse as new concrete is pushed inside the piping. Once the inflatable material is removed, it’s cured for two days before being reused for another family’s design.
Automatic Construction prides itself on using recyclable material, except for its current virgin vinyl PVC. The company stated that it would switch to recyclable PVC in the future. All in all, the recycled material and the cost-efficient physical construction could save companies more than 80% on traditional materials.
So far, Automatic Construction’s inflated homes have only been rudimentary structures, with most comprised of four-walled houses with stable roofs. Currently, the company is testing its boundaries by constructing its largest home to date: a 650-square-foot, single-story house.
Building single-story houses with this method is an extremely cheap alternative to standard procedures, with average construction companies paying $100 to $200 per square foot instead of Automatic Construction’s $20 to $30 per square foot.
For the United States, cities are trying to reconcile with unending housing insecurity issues, with the costs of renting and homeownership skyrocketing exponentially since the pandemic’s start. Though inflated homes are unusual, finding a practice that cuts back on business expenses and provides a less costly avenue to house people is an undeniable win.
With housing crises occurring worldwide, governments must invest in unconventional building practices to ensure that citizens can obtain their necessary shelter immediately.
It’s more critical than ever to construct cost-efficient housing quickly since the UN predicts that by 2030, almost 100,000 homes will need to be built daily to keep up with population growth. In less than eight years, the organization expects three billion people to need housing, which makes the concept of inflated homes even more necessary.
Alex Bell, Automatic Construction’s CEO, believes their patented Inflatable Flexible Factory Formwork is part of the housing crisis solution with its ability to construct single-family homes efficiently and inexpensively.