Robotic construction

Plans for ‘family of houses’ using new tech

An innovative housing construction method which could help to bring down the cost for house-buyers is being investigated by research- ers at Robert Gordon University’s Scott Sutherland School of Archi- tecture and Built Environment. In collaboration with the

Construction Scotland Innova- tion Centre and timber engineer- ing firm Glulam Solutions, the project will focus on the robotic fabrication of a cross-laminated timber (CLT) joint.


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FUTURESCOT | SPRING 2019 | 31 Currently, most construction

takes place as manual assembly onsite, which can lead to delays, inaccuracies, material defects, and material waste. Robotic off-site fabrication will bring the benefits of industrialised produc- tion systems to construction. Off-site timber construction

has been widely explored in other countries, such as Japan. How- ever, said the university, Scotland “has not risen to the challenge” of off-site timber construction de- spite having significant expertise in the area. Teo Dounas, the School’s

learning excellence leader, be- lieves the project has the potential to significantly improve construc-

Off-site fabrication will bring the benefits of industrialised production

tion methods. “Te innovation lies with the integration of a house design prototype and its robotic fabrication out of complex CLT panels manufactured off-site. “At the end of the project, we

envision that the consumer, the house buyer, will be able to select various options from a web- site and then we will be able to produce all components based on consumer demand. “It is hoped that through this ini-

tial project, our solution could bring dramatic benefits not just to the

Scottish housing market, but also to the Scottish construction market. We would then hope to develop a range of ideas and solutions, from logistics, to design, to the real test- ing of CLT joints, and formation of insulated composite panels. “While this particular solu-

tion is tightly integrated with one design product, it is likely to be relevant to other building projects. We plan to develop a family of houses and other buildings using the technology developed through the project.” l

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