Robots on construction sites will become increasingly more common in the next few years as we turn to them more and more for simple and complicated tasks.

Drones, 3-D printers, manually operated and remotely operated robots are all part of the commercial construction industry’s very near future.

A semi-automated mason called SAM can, for example, lay up to 1,200 bricks in a single day.

The Skycatch company offers drones which can capture images of a construction site from above and turn those images into 3-D models on the ground.

What is claimed as the world’s first 3-D printed complete house was reportedly built in England last year.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say they can now build the basic structure of a building with 3-D printed foam.

“Structures built with this system could be produced faster and less expensively than traditional construction methods allow,” says MIT.  “A building could also be completely customized to the needs of a particular site and the desires of its maker. Even the internal structure could be modified in new ways; different materials could be incorporated as the process goes along, and material density could be varied to provide optimum combinations of strength, insulation, or other properties.

“Ultimately, the researchers say, this approach could enable the design and construction of new kinds of buildings that would not be feasible with traditional building methods.

“Unlike typical 3-D printing systems, most of which use some kind of an enclosed, fixed structure to support their nozzles and are limited to building objects that can fit within their overall enclosure, this free-moving system can construct an object of any size. As a proof of concept, the researchers used a prototype to build the basic structure of the walls of a 50-foot-diameter, 12-foot-high dome — a project that was completed in less than 14 hours of ‘printing’ time.”