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Robots will take 600,000 of UK Construction jobs by 2040

Robots will take 600,000 of UK builders' jobs by 2040 as construction experts warn of a 'fourth industrial revolution'

  • By 2040, there will be just 15,500 carpenters and interior fitters, report found
  • There may be just 6,500 decorators in 20 years, compared with 110,000 now
  • While increased robotics and automation may take jobs, it will increase safety 
  • It will also create new roles such as computer programmers
  • The building sector needed to adapt to these major changes or face a crisis 

  

Robots are set to take 600,000 UK builders' jobs in the next 20 years, according to a new report.

Nearly one in three construction roles could be wiped out over the next two decades by robots and digital technology, the report found.

Research by London-based engineering giant Mace said 600,000 of the current 2.2 million positions in the industry could be automated by 2040 in what it called the 'fourth industrial revolution'. 

One of the hardest hit jobs will be bricklaying, where numbers are predicted to fall from 73,000 to just 4,300, said the report.

By 2040, there will be just 15,500 carpenters and interior fitters, down from 260,000 now, and the number of labourers will slump from 127,000 to 7,500.

There may be just 6,500 painters and decorators in 20 years, compared with 110,000 now, the study said.

While increased robotics and automation may take jobs, it will increase safety and speed up construction projects, Mace said.

It will also create new roles such as computer programmers, not normally found in the construction industry.

Mace said the building sector needed to adapt to these major changes or face a crisis.

It said the situation was being made worse by immigrant builders being deterred by Brexit and questions about whether foreign staff will be allowed to work in the UK once we leave the EU.

Mace said output per worker in the construction industry had been flat over the past 10 years, compared to a 30 per cent improvement in services and a 50 per cent increase in manufacturing.

Many construction companies are investing in robot builders. 

In July it was revealed a construction giant Caterpillar had created a robot that can build an entire house in just two days.

The construction giant has backed its Hadrian X giant truck mounted building robot that can lay 1,000 bricks an hour, glueing them into place as it goes.

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The $2m (£1.5m) deal means the robot, which can work 24 hours day, and finish an entire house in just two days, is a step closer to appearing on building sites around the world.

Mounted on the back of a truck, it is simply driven onto a building site.

It can put down 1,000 bricks an hour using a boom, allowing it to stay in a single position while it builds a house. 

Fastbrick, the firm behind it, says it could revolutionise building.

CEO Mike Pivac said:'We are a frontier company, and we are one step closer to bringing fully automated, end to end 3D printing brick construction into mainstream.