Just like everyone else, the construction industry is turning to automation. A new report on Bloomberg.com notes that modular factories are saving American developers both time and money while filling in the labor gap. An example the authors of the article give, is Baltimore-based Blueprint Robotics which builds homes on an assembly line, similar to what our grandparents did with cars. While the robots can drill holes and speed up the process, human operators are still needed to place the electrical boxes and pipes in the right places. “This has to be the wave of the future,” a consultant says in the article.
It’s a win-win situation, according to industry analysts. The robots may be more precise than human workers but they still require well-trained electricians and plumbers to consolidate everything. Jerry Smalley, Chief Executive Officer of Blueprint, says that the company’s machines are even creating opportunities for professionals who would not otherwise be a part of the construction industry. In true assembly fashion, the modular factory has various production floors, with workers operating machines that perform specific functions. “Traditional” construction education is not required. In fact, one worker in the Baltimore company, Cyndicy Yarborough — once a Walmart clerk with no background in construction — finds her place in the company after only taking a free, six-month course on computer numerical control machines, which is available only to unemployed or low-income adults.