In the latest installment of our "Dear Bernie" series, posts intended to inform the Vermont Senator about the unintended, negative consequences of minimum wage hikes, we present SAM (Semi-Automated Mason), a brick laying robot designed and engineered by Construction Robotics out of New York. While SAM can do the work of 6 unionized masons each day, he never requires a break, benefits or a paycheck.
Here's a look at SAM in action:
Each SAM can be rented at a monthly cost of ~$3,300 according to The Sun. With an average efficiency of 3,000 bricks per day, that breaks down to about 4.5 cents per brick. Meanwhile, using using Bernie's preferred $15 per hour minimum wage rate, plus benefits, and a daily efficiency of about 500 bricks brings the human labor cost equivalent to roughly 32 cents per brick, or a little over 7x.
Of course, SAM can't completely eliminate the need for masons on work sites just yet, as human assistance is still needed to load bricks and mortar into the system and to clean up excess mortar from joints after bricks have been laid. That said, Construction Robotics estimates that overall labor costs for bricklaying projects can be reduced by at least 50%.
And while Bernie is unlikely to rent a SAM to construct his next $575,000 lake house, we hear that someone may be taking bids for an impenetrable, yet "aesthetically pleasing", 30-foot border wall that will span nearly 2,000 miles.