17 October 2019

Programme Update

Dear all,

It has been a few months since I've written a blog. There are a number of reasons for this. Part of it is that we've all been extremely busy here, as always, and each time we achieve something there's another goal around the corner so we keep pushing on as hard as we can. Another aspect is that we are cautious not to lay out the roadmap for our would-be competitors to follow in terms of achievements and the challenges we have to overcome. FBR also has a number of major commercial partners and collaborators and we need to respect their concerns and obligations to their respective markets and ensure we're protecting both us, our partners and our shared commercial goals. FBR is also a creator of intellectual property and there is a time-frame involved in the development and lodgement of intellectual property protection such as patents before we can discuss our developments, which cannot be short-cut or fixed retrospectively. Lastly, as a public company there are always disclosure and governance matters that also need to be considered. With this in mind, I would like to comment on what I may.

FBR is making good progress in the Hadrian X® program, ticking off a number of significant world first achievements in the last twelve months, such as our first indoor build, first outdoor build and starting work with our Pilot Program customers. We have made significant performance improvements since our first outdoor build completed in February this year and have signed our first commercial contracts with three different builders representing first revenues for the Company, regardless of materiality.

We have established Fastbrick Australia Pty Ltd, our joint venture with Brickworks Limited, to deliver Wall as a Service® (WaaS®) in Australia which has entered into Building Pilot Programs with Archistruct Builders & Designers and Summit Homes Group. Each of these programs consists of three stages:

  • a Demonstration Stage, wherein Fastbrick Australia will erect the walls of full home structures for the customer on FBR premises at commercial rates;
  • a Display Home Stage, where the builder will build a display home for FBR using Fastbrick Australia to erect the walls of the structure; and
  • a Builder's Project Stage, where the builder will engage Fastbrick Australia to erect the walls of a full home structure for a residential homebuyer.

The Building Pilot Program with Archistruct was first flagged to the market in 2016, so it's good to be able to deliver on what we said we would. The Summit relationship is obviously a newer one and we are excited to get to work with them. They're one of WA's most recognisable builders so it's great to have them in our corner. We'll be building display homes with both Summit and Archistruct so that people can inspect a house built by a Hadrian X®.


Separately to the activities of Fastbrick Australia, FBR has also commenced a Building Pilot Program with GP Vivienda to build Mexican-style structures on FBR premises in a Demonstration Stage, while concurrently engaging in a Block Testing Stage in Mexico with the University of Monterrey to test the performance of FBR's adhesive with concrete blocks that are commonly used in Mexico. Mexico has an acute shortage of affordable housing, so there is a big opportunity there for the Hadrian X® to make an impact in the market. We've got great partners there in GP Vivienda, and they're just as keen as we are to see a Hadrian X® in Mexico as soon as possible.

These Pilot Programs are an important step in our commercialisation pathway for the Hadrian X, as they give FBR the opportunity to introduce the Hadrian X® and Wall as a Service® to local and international builders in a collaborative, low risk environment. The Perth housing market has its challenges, and we are introducing an entirely new technology that no one has seen in the suburbs before. The people we have partnered with are very good operators and have built respected brands over time. We also have the world's first autonomous bricklaying robot. Working behind the gate, so to speak, is a good way to introduce the technology we have to the processes they have, and the collaborative environment has been fantastic from an R&D point of view, as we've been able to take some suggestions on board which we will implement over the coming months, as have they.

A key component of servicing these Building Pilot Programs has been bringing our second Hadrian X® online. Hadrian X #2 is now building house structures along with Hadrian X #1, and in doing so has enhanced our continuous improvement program whilst also delivering commercial outcomes for FBR.

To give some insight into some of the achievements of this continuous improvement program, one of the Hadrian X®'s latest pilot builds of a three-bedroom, two-bathroom full home structure consisted of 2,420 Hadrian-optimised blocks, and the entire build generated only 5.5 blocks or 0.2% worth of waste. This result was achieved through a combination of automated planning with FBR's block optimisation software and the internal offcut storage bays in the Hadrian X®, where blocks that have been cut using the internal saw are stored and used later in the build. This points to one of the sustainability benefits the Hadrian X® brings to the construction industry.

We have also been working on the accuracy and reliability of the Hadrian X® and I am pleased to say we are seeing pleasing improvements when compared to previous builds. In one of our recent builds, the same CAD data that was used by the Hadrian X® to build the structure was used by the external supplier of the window and door frames, with the frames fabricated offsite and installed in the completed structure without needing to wait for a construction site visit to measure the blockwork first, which would be typical for windows fitted after manual wall construction.

The measurements of our latest structures demonstrate a degree of accuracy that enables parallel offsite manufacturing of other home finishing components, that are currently made to measure after manual bricklaying and a site visit. Parallel manufacture will reduce the cost and length of time it typically takes to complete a structure, which will ultimately benefit builders and homebuyers. Demonstration of this capability is part of the reason why we have chosen to work collaboratively with builders in a testing environment first, so that they can be involved in this process and see first-hand how the Hadrian X® impacts their business. Feedback from following trades that have been engaged to work with structures built by the Hadrian X® has been very positive.


FBR will continue refining the Hadrian X® to maximise its laying rate while completing the Building Pilot Programs. There is a lot of potential to continue to increase the speed of Hadrian X® over time with both software and hardware improvements. FBR views laying speed and wall building rate as key performance indicators and as such we expect that the drive for increased laying speed will never stop. In addition to increasing the speed of the existing and working Hadrian X® robots, our designers and R&D team are already testing the concepts that will lead to an exponential speed increase in the next generation of Hadrian X® machines. Concurrently we are working on new technology that may enable the laying of high quality face brick and lower cost bricks and blocks.

This refinement and improvement process is intended to improve the economics and potential application for Hadrian X® in markets with lower labour and material costs. The faster we can lay, the more compelling the case for the Hadrian X® becomes. We have been focusing largely on the reliability, accuracy, safety and waste aspects, as those are what will get us into the suburbs here in Western Australia and the next focus will be speed to ensure the current model Hadrian X® presents a strong economic proposition in other construction markets. FBR is focused on proving the Hadrian X® on commercial building sites whilst also doing the behind the scenes R&D necessary to maintain a leadership position in construction robotics into the future. Hadrian technology will always get better, faster and cheaper.

Mark Pivac
Chief Technical Officer 
FBR Limited