The innovative inflatable system for building concrete houses in less than an hour
The price of housing is a hot debate in Spain at the moment, but also a problem in the rest of the world, where population growth and natural disasters require cheap and fast construction. Solutions to this problem include 3D printed houses, modular buildings, the use of robots and the latest idea: inflatable concrete houses.
The UN estimates that by 2030, 96,000 affordable houses need to be built every day for the 3 billion people on Earth without access to decent housing. Being able to build the structure of hundreds of homes in a few days would speed up the process and reduce costs.
Automatic Construction is demonstrating that its new way of building with concrete can cut construction time in half. Its proposal has been dubbed Inflatable Flexible Factory Formwork (IFFF), which involves shaping soft concrete into the shape of a house using an inflatable mould.
The idea was forged in the year and a half during which the New York-based startup has been developing its technique to lift the air mould and concrete structure in minutes, something that usually takes months of work. The company estimates that a house can be erected in less than an hour and costs around a fifth of the usual price using more traditional concrete construction methods.
How does it work?
As an inflatable system rather than a heavy construction of panels and fasteners, the formwork is erected in minutes. Instead of wood or metal, it is made of flexible plastic or PVC fabrics with reinforcements and 3D printed internal structures. Two structures are inflated: the internal or shoring structure, which supports the weight of the roof, and the external structure that receives the concrete.