Bricklayers to be replaced by robots

An international consultancy and construction business predicts that 600,000 of the current 2.2m positions in the industry could be automated by 2040 as the new “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is on its way.

Bricklaying will be the hardest hit sector, the current 73,000 people bricklayers on British building sites expected to go down to just 4,300 brickies.

By the time Fourth Industrial Revolution will take place, around 2040 there will be just 15,500 carpenters and internal fitters, down from 263,000 now, and the number of labourers will plummet from 127,000 to 7,500. Painters and decorators will also be driven out with just 6,500 positions expected in two decades, compared with the 111,000 chippies.

How long ago was it that we were promised we’d all be working in a paperless office? Despite lots of IT innovation in the workplace, most of us are are still in buildings awash with paper documents.

I have seen machines that can lay bricks, quickly, precisely and safely. That was 25 years ago! The complexity of shape made them an uneconomic idea then, as the machines could not read the architects drawings. It is inevitable, but certainly not in the next thirty years. Predictions about the future are largely wrong.

These bricklaying machines cannot go round corners or work from an uneven surface. They also need a person loading it with bricks and muck.

When I see a robot fit a door complete with lock and archetraves in less than an hour then it becomes an issue.

If these machines cost £100k they’ll be £2k a week to hire. A brickie costs about £800 A week and they don’t get paid on days they get rained off.

If you hire a machine you pay no matter what.