Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Phoenix Teams Up with Habitat for Humanity on First 3D Printed Home in the U.S.

3d printing

At Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, we pride ourselves on the fact that many of our franchises remain active in their communities and committed to helping those in need.

We’ve had franchises sponsor college scholarships for students, collect holiday gifts for children through the Toys for Tots program, and raise money for nonprofit organizations including the Susan G. Komen foundation.

We’ve also had locations team up with Habitat for Humanity, a global nonprofit that works in 50 states and in more than 70 countries to provide housing to working families.

Habitat for Humanity homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers in exchange for an affordable mortgage. Our franchises have donated plumbing services and manpower during the construction phase of Habitat homes.

As longtime donors to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, community service has long been a priority for Brewer Enterprises, the parent company of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Phoenix.

So, it only made sense for the business to partner with Habitat for Humanity on projects in the Phoenix area. And last year, Brewer Enterprises got the opportunity to work on a truly innovative project -- Habitat for Humanity’s first 3D printed home in the United States.

“It’s a good opportunity to be able to give back and to be able to help provide a family with a well-plumbed home,” says Breanne Barela, the company’s marketing and advertising analyst.

Habitat for Humanity has built 3D printed homes abroad, but this 1,783 square foot home is its largest one yet.

“The technology is really cool. When you think of 3D printing, you don’t think of it on a larger scale,” Breanne says. “But it literally is the same as it is on a smaller scale. The only difference is the material is cement, not plastic.”

About 70% to 80% of the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the city of Tempe is constructed from 3D printed materials, made with a Build on Demand printer from the German company PERI. That includes all of the internal and external walls. Printing began in May 2021, according to Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona.  

Last fall, Habitat for Humanity had the signing ceremony for the house, which is when all of the volunteers and sponsors come together and write messages for the family who will live there. Breanne says the family, a husband and wife who grew up in Tempe, have already been selected.

They are expected to move in this spring, Breanne says.

In a news release, Jason Barlow, president and CEO of Habitat Central Arizona, emphasized that the project wouldn’t be possible without the support from the community. 

“This kind of innovation does not happen without amazing partners, and we are extremely grateful to all of them,” Jason says. “Bringing people together is central to our mission and in this case, we’re bringing together new partners in the form of engineers, architects, developers and others looking for a breakthrough in the affordable housing space.”

Brewer Enterprises handles plumbing for new construction and will cover the warranty on the home’s plumbing for the first year. After that, the owners will become Benjamin Franklin Plumbing customers, which is what happens with all Brewer customers, Breanne says.

“It’s really exciting to be a part of something like this. It’s the future of home building,” she says. “Habitat for Humanity is an amazing organization, and it’s a good feeling to know you helped provide someone with a safe home to live in.”

Breanne says the company doesn’t have any immediate plans to work on another 3D printed home, “but Brewer is always looking to contribute to the Habitat for Humanity team to provide for the at-need community.”