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Construction Sites Losing the Human Touch?

Over the last few months you may have noticed a theme to my blogs: new technology within the construction industry.  It always interests me how the majority of seemingly epic leaps and bounds in technology either happen way before I was born, or right now.

My last blog looked at 3D printing houses and the potential for using this technology for emergency constructions. This I saw as a very noble use of technology within the construction industry; and I am always looking out for those things that make a positive difference to the industry and our world as a whole.

Earlier this month I came across an article which made me question the sensibility of some of these leaps and bounds – “Brick Layers will be thing of the past by 2050 as building sites become ‘human free zones.”

But could we be faced, in the future, with human free construction sites? According to the article Construction Robotics has developed a Semi-Automated Mason, or SAM for short, which can lay 3,000 bricks a day. Compare that to the average number of bricks a human bricklayer can lay in a day and you are looking at an increase of 2,700 (average obtained from Google ‘How many bricks can be laid in a day?”). For a company the use of SAM could be very tempting.   

Leo Quinn, Balford Beatty Group Chief Executive, believes that there is the potential for such developments; in the article he is quoted as stating that “We are experiencing a digital revolution, redefining how we as an industry operate becoming faster, better and more agile.”

One such development is the use of drones. In the Construction World article “How Drones Are Benefiting the Construction Industry” it is easy to see how such technology benefits the industry:

  • Project evaluation
  • Monitoring movement of materials
  • Roof inspection
  • Reducing energy costs
  • Building surveillance
  • Contractor surveillance

Where some would argue the drones are ‘Big Brother Is Watching’ there is the counter argument that by utilizing such technology it allows monitoring of more elaborate, large construction sites in a more efficient and time-saving manner. Not forgetting the ease of reviewing potential site locations prior to sending in big, expensive equipment….like those semi-automated masons!

There may now be the potential for more computer programmers in construction to ensure that those drones and semi-automated mason are maintained to ensure that sites are ideal, secure and brick count is met!

But I am disinclined to agree, as much as I am for technology and development within any industry I still believe that this industry relies on us humans.


Sharlene Britton
Office Manager

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