Robot house-shell builder FBR (ASX:FBR) expects to have 10 houses built by mid-November, after striking a joint venture deal with building products seller Brickworks (ASX:BKW).

The news sent FBR’s shares nuts, up 35 per cent at one point to 9.5c before resting at 8.8c in early afternoon trading.

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FBR, which changed its name last year from the less edgy ‘Fastbricks’, signed a joint venture with Brickworks to offer the ‘Wall as a Service’ concept in Australia.

Brickworks will supply the bespoke bricks exclusively in Australia, and FBR will be the exclusive user for an initial three year period.

The entry point into the Australian construction market will primarily be through Brickworks’ existing client base and construction contacts for the residential building market.

Director of construction technologies Simon Amos told Stockhead a pilot where they test the Brickworks blocks will run for the next two to four weeks, and they’re in talks with Western Australian builders now to build the initial 10 houses.

“Hopefully between the end of June, early July we’ll be on real site building houses,” he said.

He confirmed FBR should post first revenue by the end of calendar 2019.

Longer than expected

The Brickworks deal was first announced in February but ran into hiccups in March when the pair had to extend the negotiation time frame by 45 days.

Amos nor FBR’s media spokesperson would comment on what held the talks up.

The deal was critical for the robot home builder, which lost an ambitious partnership with Caterpillar in December, after the global machinery giant walking away from an 18 month MoU saying it no longer fit with their “strategic priorities”.

At the same time FBR announced a business model pivot from selling the robot builders to offering them as a service-for-hire instead, for which they coined the techy phrase ‘Wall as a Service’.


In more ASX tech news today:

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