ROBOT brickies will be arriving on building sites across Britain within months – putting thousands of jobs at risk, it has emerged.
The Semi-Automated Mason – or SAM for short – can lay a stonking 3,000 bricks a day in comparison with the builder’s average of 500. SAM’s mortar nozzle pumps concrete onto the brick before its robotic arm places it on the wall. It is the creation of New York-based Construction Robotics and has already replaces humans on a handful of sites across America. It’s made up of a conveyor-belt, mortar pump and robotic arm.
One builder helps feed the bricks into the machine, which are picked up by the robotic arm, slathered in mortar and placed on the wall. A second worker will smooth over the excess joint mortar.
SAM, short for Semi-Automated Mason, is the first ever bricklaying robot designed and engineered by Construction Robotics
The robo-brickie will need supervision from two workers, but can lay an average of 3,000 bricks a day
SAM costs the equivalent of £16,000 for six units per month, by American rates
Construction Robotics is bringing its creation to the UK "in coming months" and in discussions with construction companies.
A third of Britain's construction workers are aged 50 or older, according to latest figures. That means around 620,000 are expected to retired within the next decade - amid a chronic housing shortage. A construction consultant said it was likely robots would arrive on British building sites within two years.
"Robots will soon be on construction sites doing jobs that humans do, but faster," he told The Times.
It's been met with resistance from the construction workforce. Comments under the company's YouTube account which shows SAM at work revealed the robot's limitations.
One wrote: "Can you post a video of the robot building corners, piers, window openings? Can it adjust coursing or plumbness for screw-ups on the job or wrong steel heights? Can it set lintels and install flashing?"
SAM, which would cost companies around £16,000 for six units per month to hire and would need heavy supervision.
It's not just brickies who should beware. A third of jobs are under threat from robots — with transport, factory and shop jobs most at risk, according to accountancy firm PwC.