Tech: Your house might be built by FBR’s one-armed bricklaying robot
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Robot wall builder FBR (ASX:FBR) has climbed off three-year-long lows with news its robot Hadrian X will build a display home — and potentially a home for good — for Summit Homes Group.
FBR made a decision late last year to change its business strategy from selling the robots to providing what it calls ‘Wall-as-a-Service’ — building walls on demand — after it lost a deal with construction equipment manufacturing giant Caterpillar.
And while the company is yet to make any money from WaaS — its annual report showed $431,355 in income from interest, government grants and “other” — the pivot appears to be paying off, as the deal with Summit Homes is the company’s third pilot programme agreement in the past month, following deals with Western Australian builder Archistruct and Mexican construction group GP Vivienda.
The agreement with Summit will see FBR supply the group with WaaS for three house structures using a range of designs supplied by Summit. If that goes well, Summit will build a display home using the company’s block-laying services, with the display home to be purchased by FBR and showed off to the public to promote Hadrian X, the one-armed robot builder.
Finally, if those two stages go well, Summit will engage FBR to supply WaaS for a single-storey residential structure under a building contract with a homebuyer. Importantly, FBR will be paid for each of the structures built under the deal.
Simon Amos, FBR’s CEO, says the deal will demonstrate to potential customers the speed, accuracy, safety, quality, waste profile and reliability of Hadrian X in a low-risk environment.
“This is another important step in our introduction of the WaaS model to the Australian market,” he says. “Summit have an exceptional track record as a home builder in Western Australia and we are excited to be collaborating with them to demonstrate the capabilities of the Hadrian X and the impact of WaaS on the broader building process.”
David Hunt, Summit’s COO, was a little more circumspect, saying his company was looking forward to seeing “what Hadrian X is capable of”.
“Using a range of our award-winning home designs will give us the opportunity to see how WaaS can streamline our projects and inform some of our building processes,” he said.
FBR shares gained 8 per cent to 6.4c.
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