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Automation In Building Construction - Action Not Reaction

Automation In Building Construction - Action Not Reaction

Automation In Building Construction - Action Not Reaction

Hello all,

It's clear that most innovations in building construction over the last few decades have been developed to reduce labour and time costs on site. Prefabricated products that can be transported to site certainly require less on site labour, and now there is an ever growing list of proprietary products that can dropped into place. As Structural Engineers, I feel we've gone along and accepted this shift without considering what it means now, and in the future. So what's happening? The way I see it;

- Technology is driving material and production costs down
- Labour costs are steady and/or increasing

The net result is that the cost of construction will decrease - more can be built for less as technological advancements make various manual labour tasks redundant. This will only accelerate in the future as robotic machines and AI can complete physical tasks on site.

So what does this mean? In my opinion, a massive redistribution of wealth. What is paid to labourers now is completely disproportionate to what robotics will cost in the coming years to perform the same tasks. So where does this wealth go? It's true that clients/owners may realise benefits, but the answer I believe is the same story as it's always been - the developer and building contractor will reap rewards leaving the consultant engineers to clutch at the straws of technology as it advances at an ever increasing rate. We spend more and more time looking at proprietary manuals and less and less time engineering, yet we are still liable for the buildings performance.

So what's the path forward?

RE: Automation In Building Construction - Action Not Reaction

Get into the building product design side. Robots, prefab parts, assembly systems, so that unskilled labor can whack buildings together faultlessly.

Personally I'd steer clear of robots and automated tools, not because they aren't interesting, just because they are a high risk field.

My favorite invention for hacks is this:


The inventor of those things should get a medal.


Greg Locock

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RE: Automation In Building Construction - Action Not Reaction


I love those things.

RE: Automation In Building Construction - Action Not Reaction

Quote (yerrok)

So what's the path forward?

The path forward never changes- as the market develops new technologies requiring new skills, the onus is on the individual to maintain and upgrade their skill set accordingly.

Engineers in current time already spend less time engineering than they did 50 years ago, because of the advent of computerized design and simulation tools. Even after the CAD revolution, engineering remains a lucrative and rewarding career that is in high demand.

We are a long, long way from robots completely replacing skilled tradesmen and laborers on building sites. A looooooong way.

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