Robotic technology company FBR and Brickworks Building Products have mutually agreed to discontinue their Fastbrick Australia joint venture in light of the current market uncertainty stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.
FBR said that the decision allows it to expedite its previously-announced strategy to move into the larger international residential construction markets of the USA and Europe.
Fastbrick Australia’s building pilot programme agreements with Archistruct Builders & Designers and Summit Homes Group will also be discontinued.
FBR said that it intends to continue as planned with building a display home in Western Australia with Archistruct this year demonstrating its Hadrian X robotic technology.
FBR and Brickworks said that they remain open to re-engaging with each other on suitable commercial terms once market conditions improve.
FBR said that the rationale for accelerating the move into the world’s largest construction markets has been accelerated by the recently-announced improvement in Hadrian X laying rates to more than 200 blocks per hour, coupled with the confidence derived from the pilot programmes and the gradual re-opening of global economies. It added that it has received increasing attention and demand for its technology from Northern Hemisphere markets during the Covid-19 crisis as these countries look to reposition their labour forces with less reliance on human and imported labour.
Chief executive officer Mike Pivac said: “The dissolution of Fastbrick Australia frees up equipment and resources previously committed to the joint venture, and will enable FBR to accelerate the progress of its global opportunities. FBR may continue to purchase bricks and blocks from Brickworks under normal commercial arrangements and FBR may continue to engage with Australian builders like Archistruct and Summit Homes, but this would now be direct rather than through the joint venture.”