New ABB Robotics survey reveals that 9 out of 10 construction businesses predict a skills crisis by 2030


Austrian architectural bureau MAEID showcase a large-scale ABB Robotics 3D printing tech at the Biennale Architettura 2021 curated by Hashim Sarkis

ABB is targeting the construction industry with new robotic automation solutions to address key challenges, including the need for more affordable and environmentally friendly housing and to reduce the environmental impact of construction, amidst a labor and skills shortage.

In a global survey1 commissioned by ABB of 1900 construction businesses in Europe, North America and China, 91 per cent said they face a skills crisis over the next ten years, with 44 per cent saying they struggle to recruit for construction jobs. Improving health and safety on building sites was a priority for 42 per cent and the same percentage said the environment is a key driver for industry change.

 "A new focus on health and safety and sustainability are catalysts for investment in robotics, while the shrinking pool of skilled labor means the construction industry needs robots to help keep pace with the challenges of urbanization and climate change," said Sami Atiya, President of ABB's Robotics & Discrete Automation Business Area.

81 per cent of construction businesses said they will introduce or increase the use of robotics and automation in the next decade, while today only a handful of businesses benefit from robotics. In the survey, only 55 per cent of construction companies say they use robots, compared with 84 per cent in Automotive and 79 percent in Manufacturing.


Robots can make construction safer by handling large and heavy loads, working in unsafe spaces and enabling new, safer methods of construction. Using robots for the repetitive and dangerous tasks that people increasingly don't want to do means automation can help support the industry's labor and skills crisis and make construction careers more appealing to young people.

The latest large-scale ABB robotics 3D printing technology for the construction industry is being showcased by the Austrian architectural bureau MAEID at the Biennale Architettura 2021 curated by Hashim Sarkis in Venice, to inspire architects about the possibilities of automation and 3D printing, driving innovation and enabling new ways of building.

Robotic automation offers huge potential to enhance productivity, efficiency and manufacturing flexibility throughout the construction industry including automating the fabrication of modular homes and building components off-site, robotic welding and material handling on building sites and robot 3D printing of houses and customized structures. As well as making the industry safer and more cost effective, robots are improving sustainability and reducing environmental impact by enhancing quality and cutting waste.


Notes to editors:

ABB Construction Industry Survey May 2021. Conducted by 3Gem Global Market Research & Insights, the ABB construction industry survey of 2000 CEO or Managing Director decision-makers in large and small businesses including residential and commercial construction, component suppliers, contractors and subcontractors, architects and designs and consultants in the USA, Canada, China, UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, France & Italy.  Conducted April 22, 2021 - May 12, 2021, 3Gem Research & Insights utilize industry-standard panel management systems and adhere to stringent quality control procedures; delivering double opt-in, GDPR-compliant consumer and B2B panels.


ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.

ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation is a pioneer in robotics, machine automation and digital services, providing innovative solutions for a diverse range of industries, from automotive to electronics to logistics. As one of the world’s leading robotics and machine automation suppliers, we have shipped more than 500,000 robot solutions. We help our customers of all sizes to increase productivity, flexibility and simplicity and to improve output quality. We support their transition towards the connected and collaborative factory of the future. ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation employs more than 11,000 people at over 100 locations in more than 53 countries.


File #1: UK ABBRobotics01 051921IAV.mp4

Zurich, Switzerland, May 20th 2021

1. Soundbites (English) Sami Atiya, President, Robotics & Discrete Automation, ABB Robotics

2. Soundbites (English) Andrea Cassoni, Managing Director, General Industry, ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation

3. Soundbites (Italian) Andrea Cassoni, Managing Director, General Industry, ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation

4. Soundbites (English) Tiziano Derme, Co-Founder & Director, MAEID, Austria

File #2: UK ABBRobotics02 051921IAV.mp4

Lecco, Italy, May 20th 2021

1. Various GV’s Prefabrication at IndexLab, Italy

2. Various GV’s ABB IRB4600

3. Various GV’s Magic Queen at 17th Biennale Architettura 2021 curated by Hashim Sarkis


19 May 2021