Building the digital construction sector - with automation, shared data and augmented reality

Digitalizing the construction industry digitally. That’s what the nearly 150 participants of the Garage48 Digital Construction 2020 hackathon did on the weekend of Sept 25-27th. Coming together from more than 10 countries, in online, to build the disruptive new solutions and benchmarks for the growing proptech and construction sector of Estonia and beyond.

The construction industry is a sector with key economic importance globally. Combined with real-estate, the sector is one of the biggest creator of added-value and employment effects in the Estonian economy. Yet compared to the remarkable development of digitalization and productivity in other sectors, the construction industry seems to be standing still. The main challenges the construction industry is facing are low productivity and profitability, very little digital collaboration, moderate implementation of modern technologies, lack of digital skills among building site workers, poor document and information management, poor information flow between building material producers and other parties in the industry.

Architects, BIM specialists, developers, contractors, real-estate and construction industry specialists, software engineers and designers, data scientists, business visionaries and marketing specialists came together to solve these issues with the opportunities of digitalization at the Garage48 Digital Construction 2020 online hackathon. The neck-to-neck competition of the truly professional teams of industry experts resulted in three runner-ups sharing the second place award next to the winner and Favourite of the Audience - Werk.

Through Werk every company or specialist can easily turn detailed job descriptions automatically into a smart-contract that is specially tailored to specific construction task and compliant with chosen RYL standards. This solution solves the problem of verbal contracts, where actual expectations are not fixed in written form.

According to the team lead Martin Kalamees, attending the hackathon was of most value for reaching the team’s goals. “We used all the potential the hackathon had to offer - we validated the customer pain points, received most valuable feedback and guidance from the mentors and found a really great team member, who gave our product a totally new face. In conclusion we’ve taken our product to a new level and have a firm direction for the next few months. We’re looking forward to meeting industry experts, who we connected with through the hackathon. Our vision with Werk is to disrupt the construction sector across Europe. We are creating a new method for finding temporary workforce on the construction site and offer the worker the opportunity to choose their own projects to work on. In the long term, our definite goal is to offer a complete solution for all the problems connected with finding and managing construction site workforce, that will also benefit private persons.”

Tickets to World Summit on Digital Built Environment and sTARTUp Day 2021 will help the winning team in their road to reaching their goals.

   Werk team receiving their winner's announcement

The winner of the biggest monetary prize, 15000€ of seed funding from Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, was one of the runner-ups - SupplyCon - a web-based common data space that helps to manage the communication between main and sub-contractors more smoothly, enabling the quality control and management of orders and cashflow through BIM model.

SupplyCon team is happy and grateful for the interesting weekend spent. “We got the confirmation for our idea and product - the construction sector needs an innovative solution to manage the communication and relationships during a construction project. We believe, that the support offered from the Ministry will help us reach a first proper product and we’ll be able to offer added value to construction sector companies by saving their time and reducing costly mistakes”, says SupplyCon team lead Ergo Pikas.

   SupplyCon team

The conditions for winning the seed funding were integration potential with the Estonian e-construction platform and service development during the year 2020. “The purpose for creating the e-construction platform is to foster the data and information sharing between the sector members, that would help add value to current services and develop entirely new services. We see, that SupplyCon is a potentially disruptive service, that can give a push to the digital development of the sector with it’s integrations and connecting information inside and between both the private and public sector”, comments jury member Jaan Saar, Head of Digital Construction at Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

The runner-up award was shared by two additional teams. Latvian team created AR-evate - an application that calculates construction and repair works materials and overall costs with using augmented reality.

ITM - Initial Task Monitoring application digitalizes the client’s construction project initial task and enables automated generation of the project documentation.

Our challenge partner and event supporter Riigi Kinnisvara / Estonian State Real Estate set out the challenge of a BIM tool for property management. BIMxFM team developed an easy to use link between RKAS FM software and as-built models and won 1500€ prize for their prototype development.

   BIMxFM team

Great work and digital prototypes were also developed by

✦ Green Design

A web-based circularity assessment tool for early design of a project that would retrieve data from open source triple store database and asses the design based on predefined criteria like the toxicity of materials, demount-ability, existence of secondary finishes, etc. considering the lifespan of the building and environmental impact.

✦ Innovators

A software plugin to calculate costing, material, quantity and maintenance of a building.

✦ Laservision 

3D digital drawing system that display system/element assembly points in real objects on real surfaces.


The largest contractor network to cover and improve response rate with the largest network of subcontractors, and discover new bidding opportunities to win more work.

✦ Profitability Calculator 

Web application form for instant profitability calculation for property owners and investors, to decrease a level of assymetry between all the stakeholders of the deal.

✦ Remato

 Automatic construction diary based on existing customer data.

✦ S.A.N.I. 

A digital ecosystem for the rental housing market, mainly focused on helping the local and international migrant workers/students when it comes to setting up their new home.

✦ Urbantech

A document management system in the form of a web and mobile application.

✦ Virtual Bricks 

3D construction plan.

✦ Buildrlink

 Price inquiery automatisation tool for general contractor.

Thank you, jury members, for your contribution and for the heated discussions in choosing the winners - Jaan, Martin, Mihkel, Kadi, Madis, Margot, Taavi ja Jüri! 

It was a pleasure to work with our true expert team of mentors from the Estonian construction and real-estate sector - Liis, Silver, Andras, Maido, Alexander, Madis, Vanessa, Margot, Renee, Mihkel, Daniil, Kristjan, Kadi, Virgo, Jaan, Priit, Ott, Martin, Priit, Karl Erik, Anton!

We could have never done it without our Garage48 host, lead & support mentors - thank you Joao, Uve, Triin and Mayri!

       Garage48 team

And of course all our participants - remember, we are all winners for taking this weekend to test out new ideas, our skills and creativity, make meaningful new connections and of course, have some fun while doing so.

All the mentors, jury and participants thank you for your contribution in making this event just as special and unique as it was 

   AR-evate team protyping in Latvia 

Garage48 hackathons never happen without strong field or local partners, who understand the problems and needs of the industry and direct us in the right direction to apply the Garage48 format, be it this time in more traditional fields of construction and real-estate. It really was a pleasure to co-organize the hackathon in a meaningful collaboration with Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and Estonian Digital Construction Cluster and with the support of Remato - Construction Software.

With this year’s event, we are now welcoming another member in the Garage48 hackathon series family, as it was the second time to prototype the digital solutions for the construction industry. But it’s not only the hackathon, that is continuing to develop in the digitalization field. Jaan Saar, Head of Digital Construction at Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications reflects that the industry has really started to develop towards digitalization. “When compared to the first digital construction hackathon, the ideas and professional pre-formed teams we saw this year, were on another level altogether”. The Estonian Digital Construction Cluster can also name a new sub-sector among the cluster member companies - construction and real-estate startups. We are excited to see, if our hackathon teams join this sub-sector and hope to continue the contribution to the development of the digital construction sector with the next and third Garage48 Digital Construction hackathon. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted!

Until then, enjoy


photos, taken by our awesome participants!



About the author

kadri tiisvelt

Kadri is the COO of Garage48 with years of experience as a hackathon organizer and community builder. She loves to create and bring together supportive environments for starting entrepreneurs who wish to make their ideas into valuable services and products. 🌸

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