Robotics and automation as a solution to bridging the UK housing gap

Euan Fleming *, Nicola Callaghan, Nigel Craig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Abstract

The construction sector is reliant on manual labour for the completion of projects. Yet, low labour retention, skilled workers retiring at an alarming rate and falling numbers of graduates joining the sector are all adversely affecting construction capacity and output. Embracing the broader utilisation of robotics and automation is becoming more prevalent through technology-driven approaches such as the use of drones, autonomous machines, and 3D printers churning out new structures. Despite such technologies being considered a potential solution to improving productivity and efficiency, the uptake by the construction sector is not comparable to advances in other industries such as manufacturing and electronics. As a result, this research employs a mixed method approach consisting of 11 content analysis reports and 10 housebuilder surveys. The research aims to ascertain whether or not robotics and automation is being embraced by UK housebuilders, and in what form, and to what extent it is aiding in bridging the gap between current output and desired housing targets. The research indicates that automation is preferred over robotics, with large
housebuilders predominantly leaning towards timber and steel frame solutions. However, several internal business conditions have to be met before widespread investment across the industry is likely. Criticism of the house building process, in terms of continuity between targets and local authority development plans, is recognised as a viable obstacle which currently prevents the sector from benefitting
from modern technology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 35th Conference of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management
EditorsChris Gorse, Christopher J. Neilson
Place of PublicationLeeds
PublisherARCOM
Pages557-566
Number of pages10
Edition35th
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9955463-4-9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • automation
  • housing
  • labour
  • robotics

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  • Cite this

    Fleming , E., Callaghan, N., & Craig, N. (2019). Robotics and automation as a solution to bridging the UK housing gap. In C. Gorse, & C. J. Neilson (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Conference of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management (35th ed., pp. 557-566). ARCOM.