An Italian scheme to make homes more energy efficient has been wildly popular, but the government is seeking to rein in its “out of control” costs amid fears it could send the deficit soaring.

The “superbonus” scheme, which can be used for anything from insulation to solar panels, new boilers and windows, was introduced in May 2020 to boost the economy after the coronavirus lockdown.

Environmentalists were sceptical about its benefits but Italians rushed to take advantage of the programme, in which the state paid 110 percent of the cost of making homes greener, with the subsidy delivered via a tax credit or tax reduction.

As intended, it boosted the construction sector — but it has so far cost the state 61.2 billion euros ($64.8 billion), according to the finance ministry.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose coalition government took office in October, said last weekend the situation was “out of control”.

She said the scheme had led to fraud worth nine billion euros, while the tradeable nature of the tax credits had “generated a sort of parallel currency, and that parallel currency risks having a devastating impact on the budget”.

Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti went further, describing it as a “wicked policy”.

Lorenzo Codogno, a former chief economist at the Treasury, told AFP that attempts now to quantify the impact of the scheme on Italy’s strained public finances could be “a wake-up moment for financial markets”.

He warned Italy’s deficit could be revised up substantially, while both the construction sector and the government “could have liquidity problems”.

Italy’s deficit was an estimated 5.6 percent of GDP last year and set to fall to 4.5 percent in 2023, but revised figures potentially incorporating the superbonus scheme are due out on March 1.


Source: Yahoo

Arcadis, the leading design and consultancy organization for natural and built assets, welcomes proposals set out in “The 2023-24 Budget”, to support people in need and sustain the impetus to economic recovery through high-quality development.

Responding, Francis Au, Greater China Growth Director said:


“Arcadis welcomes the Government budget measures, with clear direction and specific goals for the development of Northern Metropolis and Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands. We are pleased the HKSAR Government is supporting the extensive application of advanced technologies in Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to improve certainty on budget, quality and delivery time of projects.”


Develop Northern Metropolis and Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands

The Northern Metropolis is an important base for promoting the development of livable spaces and supporting the Innovation and Technology industries, thereby facilitating high-quality economic co-operation between Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. In parallel, the Budget also outlined preliminary proposals on the scope of reclamation, land use, transport infrastructure networks and financial arrangements regarding the Kau Yi Chau artificial islands. Arcadis embraces the multi-pronged approach by HKSAR Government, which will compress major projects time by half, from more than 10 years in the previous plan. Hence, more land resources will be released for public and private developments to improve quality of life for Hong Kong citizens.

Application of Innovation and Technology in the Construction Industry

Arcadis has developed an advanced forecasting model to predict Hong Kong construction manpower in the coming five years. The model suggests there will be a shortage of around 40,000 skilled workers and 15,000 professionals, supervisors, and technicians. Enhancing training and recruitment while driving the adoption of advanced construction methods and new technologies should be prioritized to increase capacity. We are delighted the Government addressed these issues and planned HKD $75 million for conducting studies on establishing the Building Testing and Research Institute, constructing an advanced construction industry building, and strengthening the supply chain for Modular Integrated Construction (MiC).

Francis Au added:


“By capitalizing on both our local and global expertise, we see opportunities to devise new standards, conduct testing and provide accreditation and related products to align with those in the international and China markets.

“In addition, innovative ideas for implementing large-scale infrastructure projects can deliver benefits on time and on budget. We should consider partnerships between customers, consultants, contractors and suppliers, such as early contractor and supplier involvement, as well as revenue sharing mechanisms in procurement strategies.”

Source: Cision




  • From Oct. 2022 to Jan. 2023, 14Trees 3D printed 10 houses in Kilifi, Kenya, averaging one house per week
  • 6 three-bedrooms (76 m2 / 836 SF) and 4 two-bedrooms (56 m2 / 616 SF) houses have been 3D printed so far, making Mvule Gardens in Kilifi the largest 3D printed project to date
  • No other completed 3D construction printing project is currently larger than that, in the US or elsewhere
  • The fastest time to print one house in the Mvule Gardens project was 18 hours. See the video here: link
  • No other 3D construction printing project has matched 14Trees productivity, in the US or elsewhere

For a long time, 3D construction printing has been seen as a possible solution to the escalating affordable housing crisis. Proponents of the technology claim, that when 3D printing projects in construction are carried out at scale, the advantages of the technology become clear. Evidence of that claim has been lacking, but recent developments actually provide credibility to the statement.

14Trees is a joint venture company between the cement and concrete giant Holcim and British International Investment dedicated to accelerating the provision of affordable housing in Africa. The joint venture is behind the first 3D printed houses in Africa and the first 3D printed schools in the world. This week 14Trees announced some of the initial results of their efforts to 3D print up to 52 houses in Kilifi, Kenya, using a single BOD2 printer from COBOD. The BOD2 is the world’s best-selling construction 3D printer. Following the start in October 2022, 14Trees completed the 3D printing of the walls of 10 houses in January 2023 after just 10 weeks using only one printer.

In addition, the project’s sustainability profile also attained an EDGE Advanced sustainable design certification by IFC, the World Bank’s development finance institution, which recognizes resource-efficient buildings with the potential to be zero-carbon. It is the first time a 3D printed housing project has attained this certification.

Commenting on the achievements, Francois Perrot, Managing Director of 14Trees said:


“With 3D printing, you can solve two problems at once. You can build faster like we have shown here with our 10 houses in 10 weeks. At the same time, we can achieve better cost efficiency, which will help make affordable housing a reality for the majority. In addition, you can build with less materials, which preserves the resources of the planet for future generations.”


14Trees intends to get the full benefit of the large-scale project by experimenting and innovating as the project progresses. During the next phases which consist of 10-15 houses each, several innovations will be included that will allow future tenants to design their homes and move away from the standardized 3D printed approach to one which fully leverages the technology’s customization possibilities.

The cost of construction is also an area of focus. With each phase, 14Trees is aiming at lowering construction costs further such that the build cost is 20% lower than standard houses. Using Holcim’s proprietary 3D printing materials, TectorPrint, made at a local plant, has already meant a significant reduction in costs.

14Trees is not the only company busy with construction 3D printing projects of multiple housing units. Especially in the US several large-scale have been announced, including a venture-backed US-based construction 3D printing company’s 100 houses project, which attracted global media coverage when they began printing in early November 2022 (announced 2021) at a site where 5 or more identical printers were used simultaneously. As of early February, three months after the printing began, reports show that less than 9 houses had been printed so far. Commenting on the performance of 14Trees in relation to the developments in the US, Philip Lund-Nielsen, Head of COBOD Americas stated:


“Considering how difficult the conditions are in Africa, it is impressive, that 14Trees has printed more houses on a single site, than any other construction 3D printing company in the US or elsewhere. In addition, they have done it faster, using just a single COBOD 3D printer not by using 5 printers or more”.