Productivity of digital fabrication in construction: Cost and time analysis of a robotically built wall

Borja García de Soto, Isolda Agustí-Juan, Jens Hunhevicz, Samuel Joss, Konrad Graser, Guillaume Habert, Bryan T. Adey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although automation has been actively and successfully used in different industries since the 1970s, its application to the construction industry is still rare or not fully exploited. In order to help provide the construction industry with an additional incentive to adopt more automation, an investigation was undertaken to assess the effects of digital fabrication (dfab) on productivity by analyzing the cost and time required for the construction of a robotically-fabricated complex concrete wall onsite. After defining the different tasks for the conventional and robotically fabricated concrete wall, data was collected from different sources and used in a simulation to describe the distribution of time and cost for the different construction scenarios. In the example, it was found that productivity is higher when the robotic construction method is used for complex walls, indicating that it is possible to obtain significant economic benefit from the use of additive dfab to construct complex structures. Further research is required to assess the social impacts of using dfab.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-311
Number of pages15
JournalAutomation in Construction
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • 3D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Construction automation
  • Construction industry
  • Digital fabrication
  • Industrialized construction
  • Labor productivity
  • Robot system
  • Robotic construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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