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Human Builders Could Be Replaced By Robots on UK Construction Sites

Robots that can lay up to six times as many bricks per day as their human counterparts are about to revolutionise the construction industry.

Construction Robotics, a New York-based firm, has developed a robot capable of laying 3,000 bricks per day. It is called Semi-Automated Mason, or SAM for short. The robot can get through a lot more work than what human builders average, which is 500 bricks every day.

The robots have already started taking the place of human employees on sites throughout America. Construction Robots has plans to introduce them to UK construction sites within the next two years.

Company president Scott Peters said that he was going to the UK soon to meet companies and arouse interest in SAM.

While the robot can pick up bricks and lay them after applying mortar, SAM requires heavy supervision. Human input is still required to set up the robot, help lay bricks at challenging angles, and clear up.

Some of the UK’s biggest construction firms are warning that automating the industry in this way will likely result in mass layoffs.


During the annual convention for the Institute of Directors, Land Securities chairwoman Alison Carnwath said that five years ago, she would have been amused to learn that robots would be constructing buildings in the City of London. Now, she added, that day was not far off and there were huge implications.

Fastbrick Robotics, an Australian company, has also come up with a proof of concept for Hadrian X, its own commercial bricklaying machine.

Using a computer-assisted house structure design, the Hadrian X will be able to automatically load, cut, route, and place all bricks needed to put together a complete building. Delivery of the first commercial prototype is due later in 2017.

In the interim, technology is also being developed to protect builders from many of the more dangerous affects of working on a construction site.

Nottingham Trent University researchers announced the development of special e-gloves that let the wearers know when they experience conditions that are likely to cause problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The e-gloves resemble a pair of normal worker’s gloves, but have embedded sensors that can detect risky levels of vibration and warn the worker to take a break.

Professor Tilak Dias, who heads the Advanced Textiles Research Group at the university, said that prolonged use of power pools can cause several vascular, neurological, and musculoskeletal problems. By using smart textiles, it can be possible to accurately detect when a worker is exposed to dangerous vibration levels and help prevent such problems from the happening in the first place.

Specialists in Construction Insurance


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