The future of the construction industry is evolving.
Robotic bricklayers as well as other types of robots have been introduced into the industry. Although over the years there have been a few machines made to aid bricklayers, it seems these robotic helpers are here to stay, well into our future.
By using it’s conveyor belt, robotic arm, and concrete pump, SAM (Semi-Automated Mason) or SAM100 as it has been updated, is able to lay at least 3,000 bricks per day. Compared to a worker that would only be able to lay around 500 bricks. Using this type of machinery could really benefit companies for future projects as they will be able to work faster, for longer. As SAM is a bricklaying robot it can do the heavy lifting. As a result of this, human workers will stay in good condition and there will be less injuries.
Although SAM can work faster, it still needs the help of bricklayers. They must smooth over the concrete and put the bricks and mortar into the system. With the introduction of robotic workers this could mean a possible solution to skill and labour shortages in the UK. Robots made specifically for construction will be programmed to be precise. Therefore, there will be fewer mistakes on site if they are used. This can limit expenses and reduce the overall cost of the project. Furthermore, deadlines will be met. With the help of new machinery, construction projects can be planned effectively which saves time and financial resources.
Even though SAM has its benefits, it still has its drawbacks. As it’s limited to bricklaying it cannot do what most workers can do, therefore it’s a question of whether it’s worth using. As well as this it is also very costly. SAM’s retail price is $500,000. To hire it in the UK for about a month would cost around £16,000. This is something construction companies would really need to consider. Additionally, the cost of this machinery can affect many small businesses. Most of these smaller businesses will not be able to afford robots like SAM, but bigger businesses will. Since these bigger businesses have that advantage, they’ll get more work and more money. Whilst smaller businesses will more than likely go out of business unless they are able to expand in order to afford new machines.
Robots are becoming extremely popular. Which makes sense as they can do the job faster and with more precision. However, with this influx of robotics an estimate of 5 million jobs could be lost globally by 2020. 10% of those jobs lost will be in the construction industry. This means that there will be an even greater shortage of skills and labour in the future as there will not even be enough workers to deal with the housing shortage too. This could create serious problems for the future, especially with our constant growing population, we need as many houses as possible.