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intelligence Are robots the future?


Bristol builders have brushed aside national reports that hundreds of thousands of construction industry jobs are about to be superseded by robots – resulting in a catastrophic drop in demand for bricklayers, carpenters and other on-site trades. Helm Construction commercial manager Chris


Catley said predictions that automation could replace more than 600,000 builders’ jobs by 2040 were based more on theoretical testing rather than everyday, on- site reality. And he thinks it may be some time before robots become commonplace on Bristol building sites. “Here in the South West we are told we will need at


least 105,000 new homes over the next 20 years – how on earth are we going to be able to afford, manufacture or import the hundreds if not thousands of robots required to deliver that many houses in that time frame? “The sites proposed in the regional spatial


plan aren’t likely to be perfectly level, easily accessible and ‘shovel ready’ – they are more likely to feature a slope or gradient, variable ground conditions and an array of complicating factors such as bad weather, underground pipework or drainage issues.” He added: “Our sites are often tight inner


city building projects where space is at an absolute premium and there isn’t the freedom of movement available to effectively deploy autonomous robots which have been pre-programmed to lay bricks. While we pride


Helm Construction work on difficult building projects


ourselves on employing every piece of time saving software we can, we don’t believe robots are the answer on every site.” Chris Catley was commenting on new research


by engineering firm Mace, predicting a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ would reduce the number of tradesmen to a few thousand. Chris added that the prospect of laying off


workers ran completely contrary to current conditions on the ground. “Our industry is still attempting to recruit and


replace the thousands of immigrant workers who have left the industry to return home as a result of Brexit. The immediate task is to train and recruit people with the necessary skills to fulfil existing requirements – not lay them off in favour of artificially intelligent hardware.”


PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE


Construction is underway


National logistics specialist DB Symmetry is making good progress in the construction of its 217,000 sq ft speculatively developed logistics facility at Symmetry Park, Swindon. Readie Construction has


been appointed to deliver the new unit, which is the first to be developed at the 96-acre site. Located next to the A420 dual carriageway, just south of Honda, the Park currently has outline planning consent for 1.3 million sq ft of B8 use space. Speaking about the progress


on site, Christian Matthews, director at DB Symmetry said: “Starting on site shows our commitment to our speculative build programme in Swindon. There is a chronic shortage of logistics space available in the market, a fact which has been underlined by the high level of interest we have received from major occupiers which are looking for new building solutions in strategic locations, of which there are few.”


Historic office space available


If you are looking for a first-class office space to rent in Swindon to truly impress your customers, then look no further than Park House.


Recently refurbished, Park


House is one of Swindon’s most prestigious, Grade II* listed buildings. This flexible, city centre, serviced office space combines Victorian grandeur with 21st Century technology. All at a competitive price. Expect high ceilings, large windows, period features and stunning views across the park. It’s just a 10-minute walk from


the railway station, shopping centre and designer outlet with shops, restaurants and parking nearby. Tenants include English Heritage, Balfour Beatty, solicitors firms as well as a diverse collection of independent businesses. Park House offers a range of serviced office space that can accommodate from one to 10 workstations and prices start from £300 per month including a managers' parking space. Additional amenities include broadband connection, boardroom hire discount and meeting room availability. We can provide


affordable commercial serviced office space with no hidden extras - all bills and rates included, with flexible monthly terms. Office space available now!


If you'd like to base your business in a truly impressive Swindon building then look no further. Contact a member of our team on 01793 698 000


‘ Blends Victorian grandeur with commercial offices and 21st Century


technology’ JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 insight 27


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