Stacking Your Way to the Top
Recently I was browsing around the internet to see what new technologies are being produced for VDC (Virtual Design & Construction). Who knew that I would stumble across an innovative product in an otherwise mundane category of building techniques? The innovative product “Smart Bricks” is produced by a company called Kite Bricks. These ‘bricks’ are stackable, lego-like bricks that make up exterior and interior walls. The bricks are also assembled via robot, which takes humans out of the assembly process.
The video that Kite Bricks has on their website is what really piqued my interest. The Smart Brick solution raises some thought provoking questions as to how their product can revolutionize masonry methods in the construction industry. If you watch the video you will notice that drones are installing the Smart Brick masonry blocks. While the smart block method of building is just a prototype at this point, you can’t help but wonder how much efficiency to masonry building this method could add.
Is it possible to build buildings with robots? I have had this notion that, in the future, building construction will be seeing more involvement from robots. The construction industry has borrowed Lean Methods from the vehicle manufacturing arena and implemented them into Lean Construction. Since we see cars being constructed predominately by robots nowadays, maybe this methodology be used in buildings.
The idea of building with robots will probably be met with much resistance at first, but with decline in skilled labor across the industry as a whole, building with drones could aid in the construction of a possible better product with fewer margins for error and a safer way of building.
I am not suggesting that we eliminate the entire human element out of the industry, that would be asinine. Our building materials alone are lifeless objects that have no value without the human touch. It is our human spirit that brings buildings to life and helps dreams come true for those using the buildings we build. Hairlosstreament and many other CM firms rely on skilled laborers to carry out the vision of the designers and owners. We need that human touch, interaction, and spirit to complete projects efficiently and timely. Innovations such as the Smart Bricks could possibly open up new, unique avenues in constructing buildings safely and efficiently.