How Robotics is Disrupting Construction Industry?

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Automation has almost taken over every industry, the phenomenon is changing the landscape of every economic sector and becoming a harbinger of efficiency. Owing to the advancement in technology, automation is seeping at a rapid pace thus changing the mode of operations of every industry. Against this backdrop, the construction industry is among the largest industries of the world however, it is still impervious to adopting new methods like robotics which can replace the role of human labour and opening the construction industry to new opportunities. To the extent the construction industry is adopting robotics, the conventional methods are being modified whereas at an advanced level even replacing manual labour. through this blog showcases how robots are transforming the construction industry.


Why Robotics?

It is estimated that by 2026, the automation of non-residential construction will ensure cost savings by 10 to 21%. Imagine, the volume of cost-saving if residential construction also adopts robotics. Robots in the construction industry are working on different levels and each robot has a different application of its own. For example, some robots are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) while some perform the function of 3D printing. Similarly, on-site robots are also transforming the landscape of the construction industry by introducing prefabricated structures.  

As every aspect of the world is transforming at a rapid pace the design and architecture industry is also undergoing rapid transformation. A report published by Microsoft highlighted that the operations of architecture organisations have altered over time due to the digitalisation of architecture. Furthermore, with the introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM), the role of robotics in the construction industry is increasing day by day. BIM is a 3D digital representation of physical aspects of the building. This technology gives liberty to the architects to make amendments to their layouts, and reduce the construction costs before the initiation of a real estate project. Moreover, the evolution in architecture designs is leading to complex structures which either become time-consuming or difficult to be implemented by manual labour. As assistance, innovation, and the convenience of manual labour robots are emerging as a useful source.



Robotics in the construction industry is classified into hard and soft robots. Hard robots mostly pertain to those automated machines which are less autonomous and are employed in the creation of massive civil infrastructures and house construction. For example bricklaying automated machines, road pavers, and column welding machines.

On the other hand, soft robots are sensory data acquisition devices that are more sophisticated and are tools for Computer Integrated Construction (CIC). The soft robots involve software integration, Virtual Reality systems, and sensory data acquisition devices. Both hard and soft robots have their application in the construction industry and give a new meaning to on-site construction work.

Robotics are impacting the construction sector in the following ways


Reducing Cost

The foremost impact of robotics in the construction sector is observed in the form of cost reduction. Every builder or developer tries to bring about efficiency while managing the cost of real estate projects in a planned manner. Thus, on-site construction robots are replacing manual labour which is helping the project developers to channelise the budgets or wages on other aspects of construction. Similarly, the robots employed for the construction of buildings use fewer building materials as compared to the conventional techniques of construction. 


Increasing Efficiency

The robots in the construction industry are minimizing human error and increasing efficiency on the construction sites. It is because the duration of robots is less than that of manual labour which increases efficiency without compromising on the quality. Different robot manufacturers are specifically developing robots for bricklaying, assembling of large components, and off-site development of building components for enhancing the quality and reducing the time duration.  Furthermore, some devices perform the function of 3D scanning which is used for validating construction designs.


3D Printing has dedicated a full blog on 3D printing and its impact on the construction sector. The construction sector across the globe has started to incorporate robots that can perform the function of 3D printing. Therefore, 3D printers using BIM as input is creating complex building designs with more efficiency and reduced construction costs. Similarly, complex architecture layouts are becoming a reality with the incorporation of 3D printers in the construction sector. It is estimated that 3D printing in the construction industry can reduce construction waste by 30-60%.



An exoskeleton is a robotic suit built to enhance the performance of labour. These exo-suits are developed to enhance the efficiency of labour by giving them robotic strength. Exoskeletons are developed with the motive of assisting the labour in tasks that cannot be performed by human strength. This technology is still in its initial phases and gives a labourer the robotic strength to perform strenuous functions.


Safe Environment

Similarly, robots in construction are also promoting a safe environment at construction sites. The construction sites involve manual labour and labour-intensive work; thus, making construction sites more prone to injuries and health-related issues. Such unforeseen circumstances cause the work to stop intermittently resulting in project delays. 

Another aspect of automation of the construction sector through robots is that it is also in line with the environment-friendly practice since vehicular moment at the construction site is reduced significantly which results in the reduction of environmental pollution.


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Pakistan’s Progress on SDG Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

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Promoting inclusive and sustainable industries and continuing to invest in physical infrastructure, innovation and research are vital to long-term economic development.


Investments in research and development and economic infrastructure have also increased in developing countries. Global CO2 emissions are declining and impressive progress is being made in mobile connectivity. However, growth in manufacturing is declining in the least developed countries and the pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the manufacturing and transport industries. Pakistan committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in October 2015. In developing countries, manufacturing jobs are an essential source of income and are key to poverty reduction. The effects of COVID19 have been destabilizing for economies, threatening to halt or even reverse the progress made towards building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation. With over half the world population now living in cities, mass transport and renewable energy are becoming more and more important, as is the growth of new industries and information and communication technology. Pakistan has made progress in different indicators of SDG 9 with an increase in broadband subscriptions, population using the internet, and higher education index. There have also been interventions at the policy level. But besides all this progress, Pakistan seems to be stagnating in its journey towards implementing SDG goal 9.


How to Achieve SDG Goal 9

Developing quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure to support economic development and human well being is the first step towards achieving SDG goal 9 in Pakistan. This has to be done with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all. By doing so, Pakistan can promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and raise the industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product. Secondly, Pakistan should increase access to financial services and markets for small scale industrial and other enterprises including affordable credit and integration into value chains and markets. Enhancing scientific research, upgrading the technological capabilities of the industrial sector, and encouraging innovation will drastically increase the number of research papers published. Also, by supporting domestic technology, industrial diversification will add value to different commodities. Lastly, a significant increase in access to communication and information technology can provide internet access to the least developed areas of Pakistan.


Pakistan’s Progress on SDG 9

Pakistan has set its targets to increase value-added manufacturing from 13.56 per cent of GDP to 16 per cent of GDP, increase manufacturing employment from 15 to 18 per cent, increase small-scale industries in value from 8.4 to 12 per cent, and increase research and development expenditure from 0.2 to 2 per cent of GDP. Two laws have been enacted to achieve progress in SDG 9 namely, The National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2016 and The Balochistan Mass Transit Authority Act 2017. The former act provides for the establishment of institutions and enunciation of mechanisms and procedures so as to provide for effective conservation and efficient use of energy in Pakistan, while the latter is a project under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Another area is policy intervention. Pakistan has formulated three policies for successful implementation of SDG 9 namely, Digital Pakistan policy, National Transport Policy, and revamping the new special economic zones (SEZs) under the new industrial policy. Lastly, the most primary strategy for achieving targets under SDG 9 is to expand the freelancing industry. The industry has the potential to increase in size from the US $1 billion to US $5 billion by 2023.