Q3 2021

21 Q3 2021 BUILD Revolutionising the Construction Industry Construction Automation has been designing and building a state-of-the-art Automated Bricklaying Robot (ABLR) for five years. The robot uses standard bricks, blocks and mortar and has the ability to build around corners, and it is currently going through intense testing outside the organisation with plans for it to enter the market. The firm hopes to sell the ABLR to major housebuilders, its core goal being to automate the traditional construction industry through designing and building automated systems. As Construction Automation strives to revolutionise the future of the construction industry, it is clear to see why it has been named Leaders of Innovation in Construction, UK – 2021 in this issue of BUILD magazine, so we take a closer look at the firm and its Automated Bricklaying Robot. he ABLR operates on a track that sits around a house perimeter. A person-riding lift is also mounted on the track and is used by a skilled worker to undertake key tasks such as pointing and installation of ancillary components. A software control system reads digitised versions of architects plans and instructs the robot precisely where to lay the bricks, blocks and mortar. Due to the kilning process, traditional clay bricks vary in size, so the technology uses high-profile lasers to measure the brick and block in 3D. A laser also ensures horizontal alignment, creating a ‘plumb wall’. The bricklayer mounted on the lift monitors progress and receives alerts on a tablet when key procedures such as installation of tie bars and pointing need doing. Once completed, a photograph is taken to form an as-built record of the house. The ABLR built its first house in October 2020, and since then, the technology has been refined and is currently being tested further, with plans to test-pilot it on various house types and on-site. From a product perspective, it is differentiated from competitors in two ways: The Hadrian X in Australia uses modular blocks and adhesive, and Construction Automation uses standard bricks, blocks and mortar, meaning there are no complications when it comes to insurance or mortgage evaluation. Secondly, the SAM1OO in America uses standard bricks and mortar, but does not have the ability to build around corners, which the ABLR does. Construction Automation provides more than just a physical product for the house developers; once the system is integrated into the supply chain, it will influence every build stage from the design phase to the end consumer, who will have access to a digital record of their house. It is working to overcome the industry-based challenges found in the construction industry. The ABLR will increase productivity as indirect labour costs such as ‘preparing to work’ are virtually eliminated, as well as streamline the housebuilding process, enabling pre-ordering. The use of lasers and the ability to take T Jun21080 photographs of key installations enables quality control and assurance. Furthermore, human error is eliminated and health and safety is improved due to the ability to ‘ride lift’ for the skilled worker which removes the need for access scaffolding which represents 47% of on-site fatalities. On-site robotics are the seventh category of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) defined by Mark Farmer, however with MMC, on-site solutions are given little acknowledgement. Therefore, Construction Automation needs to raise awareness of the Automated Bricklaying Robot so that both industry and government can see the advantages and it can be implemented alongside off-site solutions. To reach 300,000 new houses per year by 2025, many solutions to the above challenges need to be employed, and the ABLR should be receiving the same amount of awareness as off-site, especially due to the fact that the system uses standard bricks, blocks and mortar. Indeed, the ABLR is an exciting and revolutionary piece of technology which will change the face of the construction industry. Once its testing phase is successfully completed and it has been test-piloted on-site, Construction Automation plans to scale up and commercialise the product. Company: Construction Automation Contact: David Longbottom Email: [email protected] Website: www.constructionautomation.co.uk