A ROBOT created by entrepreneurs near York is building an entire house in what could be a world first for the industry.

The machine started work on the home this week, laying the foundations to revolutionise the housebuilding sector.

The modern three-bedroom property in Everingham is being constructed from bricks and mortar and will be the UK’s first home built by a robot.

Instead of bricklayers, the house is being built by Pocklington-based Construction Automation’s Automatic Brick Laying Robot (ABLR) – technology that has been four years in development.

In a world first, the robot will lay all the bricks, blocks, and mortar. It is also the first machine of its type that can build around corners, meaning it can construct an entire house without stopping.

Construction Automation was formed in May 2016 by David Longbottom and Stuart Parkes.

David said: “The house will contain around 10,000 bricks and will take the ABLR about two weeks to build.

"It is the first house in the UK to be built by a robot, and possibly the first in the world.

“The ABLR comprises of the robot and a sophisticated software control system that reads digitised versions of architect’s plans.

"This instructs the robot exactly where to lay the blocks, bricks and mortar. It is controlled from a tablet and all the data about a specific build can be accessed remotely, making it very easy to assess progress on site at any time.”

Building this way requires a labourer to load bricks and mortar into the robot and a skilled person to install tie bars, damp courses, and lintels, and to do the pointing.

The control system sends out alerts when these jobs need doing, then takes a photograph of the completed task to form a complete digital record of the key quality criteria.

Stuart said the advantages include increased productivity, better quality houses, and improved health and safety.

He said: “Although bricks are meant to be a standard size there is quite a lot of variation in them.

"So, we use sensors to measure each individual brick and then to line it up, so it is precisely central on the wall. The sensors also align the edge of each brick to produce a perfect finish. That way, the ABLR builds quickly and to a consistently high standard.”

It sits on a nine-metre high vertical lift frame, removing the need for scaffolding and for people to work at height.

“The robot is mounted on a track that is placed around the footprint of the house,” said Stuart.

“With the in-built vertical lift, the machine can build easily to the height of a standard two-storey house, so it is much safer than building in the traditional way.”

Construction Automation has secured patent in the USA on the technology. A European and UK patent is expected to follow shortly.

David added that once the ABLR had completed this house and a number of other test properties, the company will be ready to go into full production.

“Our goal is to automate housebuilding as far as we can,” he said.

“By doing this, we can increase productivity for the industry, improve health and safety, and guarantee quality.”