Robotic bricklayer FBR (ASX: FBR) continues to build up its commercial potential after announcing a deal between its joint venture company Fastbrick Australia and Summit Homes Group, to complete a building pilot program.
The two companies are progressing what they call a Wall as a Service (WaaS) business model to be implemented in the Australian market and beyond.
The agreed building pilot program with Summit will consist of three stages, commencing with a demonstration stage under which Fastbrick Australia will supply WaaS for three house structures on FBR premises using a range of designs supplied by Summit.
Each structure will then be inspected and assessed by several parties including independent consultants to ensure they meet the relevant building standards.
The second phase will be a “display home stage” whereby FBR and Summit will sign an additional contract under which Summit will build a display home using Fastbrick Australia’s block laying services, with the display home to be purchased by FBR.
After completing a display home, FBR intends to open the structure to the public as well as current and potential collaborators, suppliers and customers from international markets – in a bid to demonstrate and promote the use of the Hadrian X robot in residential home construction applications.
Going autonomous with Hadrian X
The Hadrian X is a multi-award-winning “precision construction robot” that can build the walls of an average-sized dwelling in just two days.
FBR has been progressing its autonomous robotic construction idea since 2016 and hopes it can be deployed in both developed and developing countries to alleviate drastic housing shortages.
To ensure the Hadrian X is unleashed onto world markets, FBR has had to overcome multiple challenges, most notable of which, are building standards controls to establish that build quality meets or exceeds current standards.
The third stage of Fastbrick’s and Summits agreement will be to conduct a “builder’s project stage”, in which Summit will engage Fastbrick Australia to supply WaaS for a single storey residential structure under a building contract with an actual homebuyer.
FBR says that Summit will engage Fastbrick Australia to provide WaaS for the builder’s project within six months of issuance of a certificate for the final house structure in the initial demonstration stage.
Importantly for FBR, Fastbrick Australia will be paid for each of the structures built under the building pilot program at the prevailing market rate for bricklaying services in Western Australia.
The building pilot program agreement with Summit is, therefore, a direct opportunity for FBR to actively demonstrate to potential customers a range of technical factors including speed, accuracy, safety, quality, waste profile and reliability of the Hadrian X robot in a low-risk environment.
Moreover, the three-stage program will showcase the performance of the new Hadrian-optimised blocks developed and supplied by Brickworks.
With its first WaaS deal now signed, FBR said it intends to enter into similar pilot program arrangements with other customers as part of its commercialisation strategy.
“The building pilot program with Summit is another important step in Fastbrick Australia’s introduction of the Wall-as-a-Service model to the Australian market,” FBR chief executive officer Simon Amos said.
“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.”
“Summit have helped over 40,000 West Australians realise their new home dreams in just over 40 years, and Fastbrick Australia are delighted to be working with them to build on that legacy,” Mr Amos added.
Today’s news boosted FBR’s shares by 8.5% to $0.064 per share in morning trade.