Robotics: Labor Solution and The Future of the Housing

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Lumber Briefs
Issue #10220 - November 2017 | Page #71
By Matt Layman

The housing industry has been begging for workers going on a decade now. The American citizen work force is not answering the call. Consequently, housing construction has become completely dependent on undocumented workers.

Meanwhile, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics technology are advancing at breakneck speed. Robotics is future of housing and the solution to its labor issues.

Point #1: In the wood components industry, robotics is a must and will become more necessary in the near future where speed and accuracy are required for companies to survive with a profit.

Point #2: Labor issues are unresolvable. The strength and endurance of laborers required on a housing jobsite is disproportionate to the pay scale. Folks, particularly 20–35 year olds, do not want to risk injury and expend the necessary energy for $20 or less per hour. They need higher pay to support a family and pay healthcare. Higher pay work is usually less physically demanding. Robots have greater strength and endurance than humans.

Point #3: The use of AI and robotics will require higher skilled employees and will pay accordingly. Robotics will replace manual labor with efficiency, accuracy, and dependability. Homes will be built faster, more accurately, and less costly. Time is money, people are money. Less of both means lower production costs.

Point #4: Size matters. Robotics are not cheap. The first innovators of the new paradigm will be larger home builders...locally, regionally and nationally. To justify the initial expense, a builder must have enough business to keep the robots busy. Small builders will go away. Large tract builders will become larger. The top 100 will claim larger market share.

The need for real people on the jobsite will always be present, however, the future jobsite crew will be a more supervisory unit. Currently, we see the labor shortage as a bad thing, however the solution—AI and robotics—will be the largest leap forward the home building industry has ever seen.

When will it happen? It already is. Expansion will be exponential. The housing and wood component industries are on the verge of massive consolidation. That means buy outs.

Looking Forward

A veteran lumberman, Matt Layman publishes Layman's Lumber Guide, the weekly forecasts and buying advisories that help component manufacturers save money on lumber purchases every day. You can reach Matt at 336-516-6684 or


Matt Layman

Author: Matt Layman

Matt Layman, Publisher, Layman’s Lumber Guide

You're reading an article from the November 2017 issue.

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