What technology would you like to see on construction sites by 2019?
We’re currently using a glazing robot operated by a human using remote control. A robot can lift 300-400kg but a human can only manage 25kg max. They’re the way forward. In the future I think they will run on a track and will be entirely programmable to move to the glass storage areas then transfer panels to the elevation and install them. These robots could also be used for flashings or even installing mullions.
Lee Sharp, English Architectural Glazing
Anything that reduces the number of meetings, so video conferencing would be good. And we need to improve the welfare of the chaps and women on site. Modularisation helps – we want to bring it to site and fit it, rather than chopping and fitting. Robotic systems for bricklaying? Bricklayers are pretty quick these days, so it’s not necessarily a technology worth investing in. But it might have applications in housebuilding.
Lee Taylor, Mace, member of CIOB innovation and research panel
The technology I’d like to see is sites running like supermarkets, using radio tagging to keep track of materials in and materials used. You’d only bring in the material you need, so that would also mean minimal packaging and reducing waste to landfill. Generally, we bring in far more materials than we need, far more goes missing than we account for!
It would be a dream if we could run sites like a machine.
Elvin Box, Kier, chair of CIOB innovation and research panel
I don’t know about robotics, but I am looking forward to advances in ‘trenchless’ services location technology. There’s still a real problem with hitting services when excavating, it can prove costly and is a real safety risk, so we’re coming under more pressure to improve accuracy. In the future I expect ground radar surveying technology to improve so we can penetrate deeper and reveal cables.
Paul Corner, Morrison Construction