Robots Building Houses – More than Fiction

Go Lean Commentary

Robotic Builder - Photo 2What do you want to do when you grow up?

This is the familiar career planning question that is asked of young ones. Today, the responders may answer with noble careers like: doctor, lawyer, accountant, computer programmer, engineer, etc. Rarely, do we hear answers like bricklayer, mason or carpenter; though these too are noble professions. But food, clothing and shelter are basic needs that everyone must make provision for. So if our young people are not yearning for those jobs, how will the needs be fulfilled?

In the US, there is the sarcastic joke that the country brings in “immigrants” to do the jobs Americans don’t want to do; think migrant farmers, sweat shops and construction sites. But “now” … emerges a new option:


Robotic Builder - Photo 3

Yes, the word “now” is appropriate. The idea of robots building houses is not so science fiction; not so far-fetch in the future; and not so unlikely. This is happening now! See the news article & VIDEO’s here:

Title: Meet The Robots That Will Build Your Next House
By: Tyler Durden

The U.S. residential construction industry employs 100’s of thousands of people each year in various skilled trades that earn hourly pay rates ranging from minimum wage to $100 per hour, or more.

Per BLS statistics, the residential housing space employed over 1 million people at the height of the housing bubble and now accounts for nearly 750,000 jobs.

Of course, just like the auto industry, many of those jobs can be done at a fraction of the cost and with much greater precision by industrial robots.  Moreover, those robots work inside a warehouse where they’re immune from the negative consequences of weather and can work 365 days per year without compromising construction integrity.

As Blueprint Robotics’ CEO, Jerry Smalley, points out, nearly 60% of a custom home can be built inside a warehouse and shipped on a standard flatbed truck to its destination for installation. [(See Blueprint Robotics VIDEO below.)]

Production starts with the most precise robot in our factory, the WBZ-160 beam-center. This saw cuts the top and bottom plates for our wall, and pre-drills for the installation of plumbing, venting and electrical rough-in that is soon to be installed.

It’s all pre-determined by the plans you provide. Everything in our factory is pre-cut: drilled, trimmed, fastened and routed with CNC precision.

Once we’ve got the lumber cut, we move to the Framing Station. This machine produces 40 linear feet of framed wall in about 11 minutes. Because robots are executing the nail pattern, it’s incredibly precise. The nail will never be outside of the stud: no misses here.

The wall comes out of the framing station and moves to our Drywall Bridge Station. Here we put a layer of OSB on the frame followed by a layer of drywall. The OSB is nailed to the stud, while the drywall is glued to the OSB and screwed to the stud. The Drywall Bridge Station is also where any openings in the wall, doors, windows, outlets and switches are precisely cut to perfectly square dimensions.

As Bloomberg notes, modular houses, at least in the U.S., used to be reserved for smaller, cheaper homes and that stigma restricted the industry from taking market share in the high-end McMansion neighborhoods.  But, that is all gradually changing as modern technology allows companies like Blueprint to manufacture far more complicated custom homes rather than the simple ‘boxes’ of the past.

Today’s plants are capable of producing bigger buildings with more elaborate designs. The Blueprint factory in Baltimore – see VIDEO #1 below – is one of the first in the U.S. to use robots, Fleisher said. Taller multifamily buildings, dorms and hotels are increasingly being manufactured indoors. And so are mansions that sell for millions.

“Some builders won’t even advertise they work with modular companies like us,” said Myles Biggs, general manager of Ritz-Craft Corp.’s Pennsylvania construction facility. “You could be driving past a modular home and not even know it, because it looks just like one next door.”

Ritz-Craft can deliver a single-family house in six to eight weeks, on average. Having an indoor facility means weather delays are rarely a factor. Each worker is given a narrow concentration, like tiling floors or sanding drywall, which increases production speed. People without any background in construction can become skilled laborers in two weeks, according to Biggs.

There doesn’t seem to be any stigma for customers of Connecticut Valley Homes, a builder that assembles factory-made components on lots in New England, including near the stately mansions of Greenwich. The East Lyme-based firm is “booming at moment,” with deposits for 42 houses, up about 50 percent from the same time last year, said Dave Cooper, senior building consultant. The company built only eight homes in 2011, when the housing market was hitting bottom.

Looks like Bill Gates will soon have a lot more robots to tax in the residential construction space.

Source: Posted April 17, 2017; retrieved May 9, 2017 from:


VIDEO # 1 – Blueprint Robotics –

Uploaded on Jul 21, 2016 – A better way to build.


VIDEO # 2 – Robot bricklayer can build a whole house in two days –

Published on Jun 26, 2015 – Robot bricklayer can build a whole house in two days

An Australian engineer has built a robot that can build houses in two hours, and could work every day to build houses for people.
Human house-builders have to work for four to six weeks to put a house together, and have to take weekends and holidays. The robot can work much more quickly and doesn’t need to take breaks.

Hadrian could take the jobs of human bricklayers. But its creator, Mark Pivac, told PerthNow that it was a response to the lack of available workers — the average age of the industry is getting much higher, and the robot might be able to fill some of that gap.

“People have been laying bricks for about 6000 years and ever since the industrial revolution, they have tried to automate the bricklaying process,” Pivac told PerthNow, which first reported his creation. But despite the thousands of years of housebuilding, most bricklaying is still done by hand.
Hadrian works by laying 1000 bricks an hour, letting it put up 150 houses a year.

It takes a design of the house and then works out where all of the bricks need to go, before cutting and laying each of them. It has a 28-foot arm, which is used to set and mortar the brick, and means that it doesn’t need to move during the laying.
Pivac will now work to commercialise the robot, first in West Australia but eventually globally.…

The subjects of robots building houses and 3-D Printing of construction materials are just part of the “joys and pains” of modern life: one step forward; two steps backwards.

Yes, this news is not all positive; there are a lot of downsides with developments like robotic fabrication. For instance:


The foregoing article referred to the eventually – the transformative change – depicted in this photo here and a related AUDIO-Podcast from National Public Radio (NPR):

Robotic Builder - Photo 1

AUDIO-Podcast Title: Robots and Our Automated Future –

Posted May 8, 2017 – Will your next home be built by robots? We’ll look at the growing robot boom and American jobs.

So the planners of the societal engines must consider this eventually. They must “understand the market and plan the business [economy]”. This is the charter of planning organizations. There must be such a role for the Caribbean, so declares the book Go Lean…Caribbean. It warns (Page 126) of the dreaded prophecy from the Bible:

Where there is no vision, the people perish – Proverbs 29:18 (King James Version)

As noted in the foregoing, robotic fabrication can be deemed the “Robot Apocalypse”; it is a matter of serious concern for a lot of communities. The fear is NOT that robots will take over the planet and annihilate the humans, but rather take the jobs.

This is no long-range forecast; this is the current threat. Notice the systems being tested and deployed in the Appendices below; this acute transformation is happening now in real life. The Go Lean book also asserted (Page 260) that construction industry jobs have a job multiplier factor of up to 9.1, where each direct job would indirectly support 9.1 other jobs. All of this would be at risk with the Robot Apocalypse hitting the construction-homebuilding industry. 🙁

The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The book acknowledges that “Agents of Change” have now impacted the Caribbean region so negatively that the communities are now in crisis. Alas, the book declares that this “crisis is a terrible thing to waste”.

The book seeks to prepare the region for 4 Agents of Change, identifying these 2 (Page 57) as related to this commentary:

  • Technology
  • Globalization

The underlying issue with the Robot Apocalypse or robotic fabrication is that the technological systems and end-products can be developed anywhere around the world and shipped to our region for deployment. The threat is that these changes will undermine the societal engines in the process. Imagine the trade deficit with foreign countries that develop, manufacture and ship these systems and end-products – this fact affects our foreign currency reserves. Imagine too, our communities’ security needs, because of the preponderance of hurricanes and earthquakes in our region. Lastly the shock to the national tax rolls (no payroll-pension contributions) will impact the governing apparatus as well. This would truly be apocalyptic as these 3 societal engines – economic, security and governance – constitute the foundations of our society. This corresponds with the prime directives of the Go Lean/CU roadmap, which declares the quest as follows:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety (i.e. building standards) and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance – remembering that robots do not pay income taxes – to support these engines.

The changes, challenges and opportunities of robotic fabrication equipment had been previously detailed in August 2015 in a blog-commentary related to 3D Printing. This quotation here succinctly foretells the future societal “apocalypse”:

The new reality of 3D Printing is now changing business models. Imagine distributed manufacturing where the additive manufacturing process would be combined with cloud computing technologies to allow for decentralized and geographically independent distributed production.[74] For example, make a car, with parts sourced from different locations by different 3D Printers. Under this new scheme, the creation of chattel goods will be a product of intellectual property.

The future is exciting!

Here comes change! Consider the governmental consequences:

    If Caribbean governments depend on ‘Customs Duties’ of manufactured goods for a revenue source, they are hereby put on notice that this revenue stream will dry up. In many countries, (the Bahamas for example), the duty rates for automobiles are on a sliding scale from the high of 85% down to 55%. With an average costs of US$25,000, that is a lot of lost revenue for a member-state to adjust to.

The future is scary!

The book Go Lean…Caribbean focuses heavily on the future, and how to manage, monitor, and mitigate the changes (good and bad) that the future will bring. This acute transformation of 3D Printing is a good model of the type of innovation the Go Lean book anticipates. The book posits that the Caribbean region must not only be on the consuming end of these developments; we must create, develop and contribute to the innovations. This means jobs!

The job-creating initiatives start by fostering genius in Caribbean stakeholders who demonstrate competence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This will eventually apply to government revenue officials, but initially the focus will be more on the youth markets, as these ones adapt more readily to acute transformations.

This vision was pronounced early in the book with these statements in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 14) about the need for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation:

xiv. Whereas government services cannot cannot be delivered without the appropriate funding mechanisms, “new guards” must be incorporated to assess, accrue, calculate and collect revenues, fees and other income sources for the Federation and member-states. The Federation can spur government revenues directly through cross-border services and indirectly by fostering industries and economic activities not possible without this Union.

xxii. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxvi. Whereas the Caribbean region must have new jobs to empower the engines of the economy and create the income sources for prosperity, and encourage the next generation to forge their dreams right at home, the Federation must therefore foster the development of new industries, like that of ship-building, automobile manufacturing, prefabricated housing, frozen foods, pipelines, call centers, and the prison industrial complex. In addition, the Federation must invigorate the enterprises related to existing industries like tourism, fisheries and lotteries – impacting the region with more jobs.

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

xxviii. Whereas intellectual property can easily traverse national borders, the rights and privileges of intellectual property must be respected at home and abroad. The Federation must install protections to ensure that no abuse of these rights go with impunity, and to ensure that foreign authorities enforce the rights of the intellectual property registered in our region.

xxx. Whereas the effects of globalization can be felt in every aspect of Caribbean life, from the acquisition of food and clothing, to the ubiquity of ICT, the region cannot only consume, it is imperative that our lands also produce and add to the international community, even if doing so requires some sacrifice and subsidy.

The changes being anticipated with robotic fabrication and robot-aided construction dictates that our region explore the possibilities of Prefabricated Housing. The Caribbean region – all 30 member-states – has a constant need to rebuild, renew and restore our housing deliveries. This is mostly due to the preponderance of natural disasters in our region; think hurricanes and earthquakes. The Go Lean book fully detailed the eco-system of Prefabricated Homes; see  the headlines here of this advocacy from Page 207:

10 Ways to Develop a Pre-Fab Housing Industry

1 Leverage the Single Market
This calls for the need to supply the full population of 42 million people in all 30 member-states; the CU would be able to Research-and-Develop varying pre-fabricated housing options. Pre-Fab homes are becoming popular in the EU and North America as they are cheaper compared to many existing homes on the market.
2 Fashionable Design
3 Energy Optimizations
4 Raw Materials
Houses are normally built with the raw material that is abundant in the area; lands with red dirt, produce a lot of brick houses, while forest areas build wooden houses. The CU will apply the same strategies, but with the consideration of the need to withstand hurricanes. As such, components of homes (walls) built from concrete blocks may be prevalent.
5 Assembly Plants
Prefabricated buildings consist of several factory-built components or units that are assembled on-site to complete the unit. The prefab house requires much less (on-site) labor as compared to conventional houses. But there is the need for much skilled/creative labor in the design and manufacturing cycles/sites – thus a boon to CU job-creation efforts. Where to erect the assembly plants will be a subject of “community will”. The CU will allow for an open bidding process.
6 Supply Chain Solutions (Contractors)
7 Transport/Logistics
8 Showrooms and Marketing
9 Mortgages – Retail and Secondary Markets
10 Homeowners Casualty Insurance

Overall, the Go Lean book stresses the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society, so as to benefit from changes coming due to this Robot Apocalypse. Though not directly mentioned in the book, the Robot Apocalypse is planned for in the Go Lean book. A comprehensive view of  the technocratic stewardship for the region’s societal engines, including the industrial policy to foster basic needs (in this case housing), is presented in the book. The points of effective, technocratic industrial stewardship were further elaborated upon in previous blog/commentaries. Consider this sample: Retail Apocalypse – Preparing for the Inevitable Bill Gates: ‘Tax the Robots’ ‘Olli’ – The Self-Driving Public Transit Vehicle Drones to be used for Insurance Damage Claims Pleas to Detroit on Technology in Cars Here come the Drones … and the Concerns The need for Google’s highway safety innovations Autonomous Ghost Ships

Warning to all building-construction stakeholders in the Caribbean: Change is coming!

The Caribbean is arguably the best address on the planet, but the ability to adapt and stay ahead of changes is definitely missing. This Go Lean roadmap is conceivable, believable and achievable for turning around our dire disposition.

Now is the time for all stakeholders of Caribbean – homeowners, home builders, bankers and governments (income tax revenues are greatly impacted) – to lean-in for the empowerments for technological assimilation described here-in and in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This is where industry is going, not soon, but now today. Everyone is hereby urged to lean-in to this guidance to get to the region to its desired destination: a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for the roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. 


Appendix VIDEO’s


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