The Role of Robots in the Built Industry

Nigerian private developers are pushing for the use of construction robots to build and expedite the completion of numerous housing developments to fulfil the nation’s expanding population and growing need for safe, efficient, and sustainable housing. By 2023, Nigeria’s housing deficit was down to roughly 17 million units, short of the country’s actual requirement. Therefore, incorporating cutting-edge technology like robotics into the manufacturing cycle is necessary to close the housing gap and increase the bar for output.

Given that a single robot can do a task that would take 10 workers an hour to complete, construction robots have the potential to significantly lower labour costs and increase the number of dwellings available to inhabitants.

Numerous activities, such as finding solid things, mixing cement and sand, moving construction tools, and installing massive machinery and equipment, such as laying tiles and blocks, can be programmed into the robots.

There have always been robotic construction workers around the globe. Sekissui Heim, a Japanese business, has conducted tests on robotic construction houses. The test also showed how much could be accomplished using robots, precisely, and over a long period with little to no technical problems. Robots with arms have been developed for many years by a Japanese construction company called Shimizu Corp. These robots are used to hoist large reinforcements on construction sites.

It makes sense to use robots to build large, heavy-duty buildings in light of the recent and ongoing building collapses in Nigeria, especially in Lagos State, as well as the lack of skilled labourers and low labour costs. Robots of this type should be similar to those used by the Japanese company Shimizu Corp., whose construction methods are more effective and efficient in the twenty-first century.

A lot of arguments are bound to come up in this respect in the coming days if at all the government gives the use of construction robots a thought. Most of the arguments are more likely to hover around the following:

  1. The engagement of robotics will certainly reduce the number of human labour at building sites which could triple the unemployment rates in the country.
  2. High cost of building construction due to the hiring of professionals from around the world and training of existing personnel to efficiently control, service and activate the robots to perform assigned duties.
  3. High cost of procuring construction robots, freight/clearing and transporting them to Nigeria from around the world.
  4. There is the possibility of increased borrowings by the government from the World Bank and other countries which will be a burden to taxpayers.
  5. The purchase of these robots could influence the naira-to-dollar exchange rate since the robots are bought in dollars or other hard foreign currencies.

Despite the disadvantages, there are still some merits that Nigeria would enjoy if the innovation is professionally handled and managed;

  1. A rapid increase in the housing supply
  2. Construction of solid and lasting housing units
  3. Intensive buildings on several flows.
  4. Enforcement of building standards
  5. Proper monitoring and organized development process.
  6. Confidence in the structural stability of buildings developed.
  7. Sudden overturn on the housing deficit level

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