September 29, 2014      

Webcast & Research Report on Robotics in the Construction Industry

Serious automation and robotics in construction technology continues popping up in pockets of excellence worldwide.

Shanghai, Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Stuttgart, Rome, just to name a few, are putting forth some marvelous machines that just might redefine building and home-tech construction much sooner than anticipated.

Two have engineered government contracts (Los Angeles and London); some are putting up structures on spec; others are hoping to engage investors in order to go mainstream with commercialized products, and still others are doing it to either refine their machines or out of love for their craft.

Maturing quickly, these nascent construction tools, are taking their first baby steps in the direction of building sites worldwide. A bit of consolidation among the varying groups and their technologies, which presently seem more than a bit remote, could certainly hasten a new era of construction.

An era that stamps a whole new look to traditional industry bugaboos like frequent cost overruns and low rates of productivity. The benefits are just too startlingly good to ignore:

  • Radically reducing construction costs
  • Increasing construction speed
  • Little to no building-site construction waste
  • Reducing financing costs for builders because the product is ready for market much quicker
  • Easier and safer work for construction workers
  • Lower insurance costs for builders
  • Increased sustainability over a building’
    s lifetime

There is no question that builders would benefit from robotics. As much as executives in any segment of the economy, they need to cut their costs, boost their productivity and make workplaces safer. Indeed, construction’s need for automation and robotics will become urgent.

In the wake of the Great Recession

Seven years after the crash, bank financing is still hard to find. Medium and large-sized companies are idling historic amounts of capital, money that could otherwise be used to build, expand or upgrade commercial buildings. Political gridlock continues to starve the nation’s infrastructure budget at a sub-maintenance level.

And Chinese firms are underbidding domestic builders on large projects by hundreds of millions of dollars (and delivering results that even some advocates of overseas contracts say are sometimes subpar).

Labor costs are growing, however, because of a shortage of qualified tradespeople. And productivity is stagnant, a long-standing trend within the industry.

The industry is beginning to address some of these areas of automation through prefabrication, which can involve everything from building entire components such as door frames, walls and structure modules. Indeed, a private Chinese construction company named Broad Group prefabricated entire floors in 2012 to raise a 30-story hotel out of a dirt field in 15 days.

One way may well be prefabrication carried out by robotics.

The video below makes it easy to imagine how machines could easily substitute for the workers in this prefabrication factory.

The webcast presents a breakdown of drivers, major players, investment opportunities and market sizing for the impact of robots on building construction and built-environments. The panel will include:

  • Johannes Braumann, co-founder, Association of Robots in Architecture
  • Tom Green, editor in chief, Robotics Business Review
  • Jim Nash, analyst, Robotics Business Review and author of Robotics for Construction & Building: 2015