Advanced Construction Robotics has developed technology to tie rebar, and now nine of its TyBOTS are working on projects, tying 1,100 intersections an hour — equivalent to what up to six workers can do. Dusty Robotics is also helping contractors like DPR Construction boost productivity with robots that print layouts on construction surfaces.



Magine everything going right on a construction site. Labor shortages, supply chain constraints, weather forecasts, angry neighbors — poof. Gone. And all there’s left to do is build. Everything, for once, is under control.

But in the construction industry, where there’s so much potential for so much to go so wrong, control is a fleeting concept. The only things that go poof on a jobsite, seemingly, are time and money.

Over the last two and a half years, the construction industry in the United States has been plagued by rising labor and material costs, climate change, health and safety concerns, and the pandemic — all of which have contributed to what’s estimated to be a nearly 8 percent decline in productivity.

But even in the decades leading up to today’s lag, construction companies still had to contend with a series of challenges threatening efficiency and output: A 2017 report from the consulting firm McKinsey found that annual growth in productivity in the construction industry has been in decline for nearly 50 years.

While other industries have embraced robotics and advanced automation tools to boost productivity, the idea of robots coming onto the jobsite has been a touchy subject in the construction industry, one fueled by high startup costs and fear of displaced workers.

But in the last few years, robots have started to peek over the jobsite fence, taking over some of the most repetitive, back-breaking work that not only slows crews down, but also injures them. Thanks to an influx of cash from private equity firms and advances in technology, robots are slowly alleviating some of those concerns and could be key to the industry one day meeting global infrastructure and building demands.