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A House for Each Man

Friday, Feb 9, 2024
The NCH Automatic Truck.

In Vekllei, three men can build a house in three days. In a ballet of material, machines and planning, this brutal pace has become necessary in postwar Vekllei, as the country saw its population recover and then double in independence. Complicated by postwar housing politics and a disastrous experience with slumlike public housing, the country has had to advance and systematise the construction industry.

Construction begins with a residential or commercial petition, submitted either to the Bureau of Housing or the Bureau of Public Works. After a two-week approval process, the bureau will assign an architecture agency to the project via your municipality, who will liaise with the largest government construction company, the National Construction House. Architects have a broad role in Vekllei, and are responsible for projects from planning to completion. They contribute much more than drawings – architects now work in an automatic construction system, and so construction needs to conform to its parameters.

Almost all construction in Vekllei is partially or completely automatic, in the sense that it is completed by “automen” – robots. Although some Vekllei robots resemble independent machines, many more are attached to existing systems, either in factories or vehicles like this one pictured above, called the NCH Automatic Truck. Built on an Agraura No. 6 Hevi-Hauler chassis, the Auto Truck can construct small structures completely independently, laying bricks and tiles, pouring concrete and mortar, and otherwise assembling structural materials with its crane implement called a “head” according to electronic plans programmed by an architect.

These plans, called “Computer Master Drawings,” incorporate a broad catalogue of plans, standards and materials built to many specifications and styles. While many modern Vekllei houses use completely prefabricated styles, the NCH Auto Truck can do much more, including finishing a home brick by brick. There is no fear of drab, uniform prefab homes – the flexibility of automatic construction is such that architects are rarely limited by their automatic tools.

The NCH Auto Truck generally accompanies materials trucks and an Automan Command Truck – a robot hauler that carries independent tracked or walking robots that finish the interior and run electrics. In certain projects, trains may be used instead with a special rail siding constructed. In this context, construction labourers spend more time setting up and aiding robots than they do laying brick or digging foundations.

Although the National Construction House and its automatic processes are ubiquitious in Vekllei, the Auto Truck is actually built licensed from a French design. You can find automatic construction in many parts of the world, but labour is uniquely expensive in Vekllei and so the Ministry of the Commons, flush with resources cash, has invested heavily in machines to replace the man.