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Ways Automation Will Impact Construction

While the construction industry is one of the least automated industries, with manual labor the main source of productivity, that’s soon about to change. There are a number of new technologies, including robots, that are under development, making it poised for a robotic revolution. Just how will automation impact construction, and how will it affect potential homebuyers looking at new homes in Phoenix and other cities across the nation?

Lower Building Costs

Because human workers have to sleep, eat and are affected by things like heat and cold, the hours they can work are limited, which means it takes longer and costs more to get a job done. That cost is then passed down to consumers in an overall higher price tag for the home. Automation powered by robots, however, aren’t prone to human limitations. They can work continuously without stopping, completing a project in half the time or even less. Robots can be more precise and accurate than humans, which means higher quality work while reducing costs and doubling output.
Just one example is the robotic product known as “SAM 100” produced by Construction Automation out of Victor, New York. The robot is said to be capable of laying 2,000 to 3,000 bricks a day, compared to the average human who lays 400 to 600 per day.

Improving Safety

Construction is one of the higher-risk industries, despite the many precautions and safety measures that are currently in place. It’s not easy for an inspection engineer to determine how sturdy a steel beam is when it’s 500 feet in the air, for example. But robots aren’t afraid of heights and don’t risk tilting over – using automation will make it easier and safer to inspect construction sites.
Automation is likely to improve safety in other ways too, such as the exoskeletons developed by Ekso Bionics which help improve mobility for contractors and robotic arms that lessen the impact of repetitive tasks on the job.

Job Losses

According to a report by the World Economic Forum in 2016, there could by nearly a half-million jobs lost in the construction industry by 2020 due to the automation of processes and advancements in artificial intelligence. A more recent report, Will robots really steal our jobs? identified three waves of automation between now and the mid-2030s, noting that in the initial wave through the early 2020s, relatively few jobs will be impacted, but that by the final wave, in construction, around 40% of jobs may be replaced by automation as robotics take over routine tasks.
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