A contractor is working to overcome complications at a 3D-printed home project in Muscatine.

The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine was told the materials used in the project were underperforming, and the subcontractor on the project decided to start over from scratch with new materials. “The walls will come down,” Housing Initiatives Manager Ron Monahan said. “We’ll complete the project that we started behind us, and then, we’ll circle back to that project and take those walls down and restart.”

Monahan was referring to the original project that required new materials. The original 3D-printed home stood just about 10 feet tall, with nothing but exterior walls in place. Cracks could be seen in a few spots within the walls, as well as chipping that took place in the structure.

Monahan says the 3D-printed walls failed quality checks that were assessed on two specifications. “One is pounds per square inch, and we came in slightly under what we needed to there,” Monahan said. “The second issue was the walls had to be aesthetically pleasing. Both the Community Foundation as well as our general contractor and the subcontractor Alquist agreed that since those were not met, that we would start the project over and get them right.”

Local 4 asked the housing initiatives manager why they decided to start completely over, rather than try to repair what they had already built. “None of those remedies would have maintained the intent of the original project,” Monahan said. “Rather than remediate it, we’re choosing to take the walls down and get our commitment to building a quality product.”

Homebuyers will not have to bear the cost of the restart on the project. “Without a doubt there’s cost to restarting,” Monahan said. “None of that will be passed on to the homeowner. Obviously, the original cost will stay in place. The cost to restart will solely be on the subcontractor.”

The project is being closely watched because Muscatine Community College is creating a 3D-home printing certificate program, in hopes more communities will start projects like this. Monahan says they still believe that 3D-printed homes are viable. “We’ll continue with the 10 that we’ve committed to Muscatine County and get those done and see where we go from there,” Monahan said.