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Bots on the Construction Jobsite
July 20, 2017 at 8:00 AM
by Perryn Olson
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The construction industry has been ripe for disruption and bots are one of the biggest catalysts in the Con Tech (Construction Technology) sector. While bots aren’t seen on every construction jobsite yet, and most are still in early beta and prototype stages, they are making their presence known. So far, we’re seeing bots laying bricks, autonomously printing buildings, excavate jobsites, managing and delivering supplies via drones, and now tying rebar.

Why Use Bots for Construction?

  • Boost Efficiency – The brick-laying bot can lay 3,000 bricks a day compared to the average human builder’s 500 daily bricks and doesn’t complain about backaches.
  • Work Around The Clock – Bots do not need a day off, can work 24 hours a day including holidays, and don’t get paid overtime.
  • Increase Architectural Possibilities – Utilizing bots allows the possibilities of design to further be expanded because tasks that would be too dangerous to build can now be done safely and accurately by robots.
  • Increase Accuracy – The construction industry is known for their craftsmanship and robots can duplicate that skill with 100% accuracy.
  • Combat Construction Worker Shortage – For the most part, the construction industry is one of the few industries not complaining about bots taking jobs away from humans because the industry has such a vast worker shortage that will not end anytime soon.
  • Remove Heavy Lifting – Another reason why many construction workers desire bots is that the robots can literally do the heavy lifting, which makes the work conditions better, makes workers healthier, and prevents the wear and tear on the worker’s body.
  • Do The Monotonous Work – Additionally, robots do not mind repetitive, monotonous work like laying bricks or tying rebar.

Bots Not Replacing Humans Entirely

Instead of replacing humans, they are augmenting human construction workers. For example, the brick laying bot needs humans to work. The bot can pick up the bricks, add the mortar, and place on the wall, but it still requires a mason for assistance. In many cases, bots just do the monotonous tasks and the heavy lifting that most builders prefer not to do anyway.

“We don’t see construction sites being fully automated for decades, if not centuries. This is about collaboration between human workers and machines.” Zachary Podkaminer told Digital Trends

“For robotics to permeate construction, the industry needs to continue to outfit machines with sensors to gather and grant machine intelligence” Willy Schlacks, president of EquipmentShare said in Construction Dive.

"Considered as the “final frontier” for technological breakthroughs, construction companies are joining the rest of the world in the new age of technology. And as an industry that added 282,000 new jobs just last year, there will be plenty of people to use the technology." excerpt from The Technologies That Are Revolutionizing The Construction Industry

Value of Using Construction Bots

Because construction companies utilizing bots can work with less people, deliver better accuracy, and work longer hours, these companies are more profitable on each project. Additionally, the savings in employee benefits, decrease in employee turnover, and other expenses related to having employees all make construction companies more productive and therefore more profitable.

“[Bots] both speed up the work and reduce the number of people to do it,” Steve Muck, CEO and Chairman of Brayman Construction Corp said in an interview with Post Gazette. “This is the construction industry looking to the robotics industry for a solution to a business problem.”

A good IT firm can help you to evaluate the ROI of new construction technology like utilizing construction bots and will build an infrastructure to support both the bots and the data they produce.

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