How Will Robotic Automation Affect Construction?

bricklayers

When thinking about automation and improving processes, the construction industry probably isn’t the first job that comes to mind. However, it is an industry that will benefit from efficiency and improved technologies. We’re a far cry from having robots take over the construction of entire buildings, but chances are the day will come when robots are able to do much of the repetitive work where humans traditionally would be required. What will that mean for construction companies and workers?

Construction Speed

Robotic construction will not only reduce the need for labor but also has the potential to reduce construction time and cost. Technologies currently in development for automated brick laying have the potential to lay up to 1,000 bricks an hour. At that rate, a bricklaying robot could complete the shell of a house in just one to three days. Other alternatives to bricklaying, including 3D Printer-type technology, could reduce construction cost by up to 80 percent.

Filling the Construction Gap

In recent years, the number of skilled construction workers has seen a steady decline. There are many factors contributing to that, from the recent recession to declining high school graduation rates to the increased importance placed on math and science. Some of these factors are likely to change. As the economy turns around and construction projects increase, we will likely see more interest in the field. However, other factors will remain unaffected—and it is likely the number of skilled construction workers will continue to lag behind demand. Robots, then, provide a means not to replace hard workers but to fill in for a shrinking workforce.

A New Specialty

Much like we now rely on CNC Machinist to interpret blueprints, program machines, and perform regularly quality inspections, when we begin to rely on robots for construction projects we will need skilled engineers to program and manage those robots. These highly skilled professionals will need an advanced understanding of computers and design, and will need to be highly knowledgeable of traditional brick laying practices.

Of course, even when robotic construction becomes commonplace, there will always bea need for skilled human workers. Robots are expensive, and it could be decades before they are a viable option for small- or medium-sized construction firms (if they ever are). What’s more, while robots are excellent at handling repetitive tasks, they lack the artistry of a true craftsman.

At Madden Industrial Craftsmen, we understand that matching employees to the right jobs leads to successful relationships and a better quality of life. Contact our great team today to start working with a construction staffing agency in the Northwest!

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