Sunday, July 5, 2015

Just Another Brick In The Wall

Construction is changing, especially in the housing industry. There so many technological advancements it’s hard to stay ahead of what idea is next, which one works, and where they will lead.

This article (posted in Gizmag viaBuilder Magazine – HERE) shows the recent development of a brick laying machine that can speed the construction of a home’s basic construction by almost 20 times. Hydraulically enabled and laser controlled the machine can build continuously without coffee and lunch breaks. Of course the real issue is human capital—what is the impact. My guess minimal. There are fewer and fewer people going into the construction industry (no matter what the wages), the physical impact on the human body and the often cyclical nature of the job, makes the decision to be a brick layer or framer or even a roofer, very difficult. Many, after a certain age opt out, or as was found in the last downturn, returned to Mexico (taking their skills with them). The new employee, now with a gaming and technological skills and years playing SimCity, may find these machines to be the answer.

We’ve had machines that build roads for years, this is a quick video to give you an idea as to how fast these things can work.
You want it in Brick?

3D Print Your Home
The future may be to 3D print your new home. Here are a couple of videos to give you an idea of what is coming.

The home building industry has tried for years to develop affordable manufactured homes. The idea, since the turn of the 20th century and catalog kit homes, was to pre-make the house and send it to the job site. Every idea has been tried, from complete modular homes, panel construction, component (pre-built bathrooms and kitchens), and now 3D printing. Costs and profitability will drive the direction of these technological changes. Concrete seems to be the primary building material (it can be easily extruded), but considering the exploding robot technology it can be assumed that, in time, a load of lumber (pre-cut and bar coded) will arrive on a job site, the robot will scan the lumber and building components, align and then manufacture a balloon frame house. Easy-peesy.

We are at the beginning of a new and dramatic shift on home construction, the bigger issue will be local approvals and the weight that the building trades can bring to bear on the these politicians—politicians who are already stressed under the pressure for more affordable housing (see subsidized) and the needs of the public. It will be a bumpy ride.

Stay Tuned . . . . . . . .

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