bricklaying

Robot bricklayers could replace lost Brexit workers

Image credit: DT

Robot bricklayers could become increasingly commonplace in the UK after it leaves the European Union according to new research from Altus Group.

The UK’s construction sector is more receptive than any other in the world to the use of robots and drones on building sites, according to the research.

A survey of over 400 major property developers carried out by the group showed that 47 per cent of UK firms predict that construction site robots will bring disruptive change, compared with just 34 per cent of companies globally.

British developers were also more likely to see the potential for using drones on construction sites, with 41 per cent predicting major disruptive change, compared with 28 per cent globally.

Altus Group director Ian Wimpenny said: “With EU net migration having fallen to its lowest level since 2012, and record employment, contractors are already struggling to fill vacancies and close skills gaps, so it’s unsurprising that UK developers are more open to disruptive technologies to keep Britain building post-Brexit.”

Robots are already common in car manufacturing, and trials of robotic bricklayers on building sites are already under way.

The robots’ manufacturers claim they can lay 3,000 bricks a day, compared with the typical 300-600 bricks for a human bricklayer.

Drones, meanwhile, are used for surveying, inspections and progress monitoring.

Companies such as New York-based Construction Robotics and Australia’s Fastbrick are among the market leaders in new construction technology.

JCB, Volvo and Caterpillar are also developing autonomous construction vehicles.

The Altus research also showed that 65 per cent of developers globally are facing challenges with labour shortages, which are exacerbated by government policy and booming demand.

Altus Group’s Real Estate Development Trends Report surveyed over 400 major property developers, each with more than £200m under development.

In March University of Plymouth researchers unveiled agricultural robots that could be used to replace European workers who leave once the UK exits the EU. 

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