Review: The Construction Innovation Contest 2019
Construction is the second largest industry and has always been tainted with delayed projects which result in cost-overruns and squandering of natural resources. A lot has been said about the fragmented management system, obsolete and manual procedures which lead to low productivity in the construction industry (which is almost stagnant in the last two decades). But, now the industry is all set to adopt the advancement of construction innovation including visual recording and digital twins.
It was quite evident in the Construction Innovation Contest 2019: Pre-Pitch organized by BUILTWORLD on 23rd & 24th October 2019 in Frankfurt. The event was attended by leading construction companies from different verticals which came together to identify the most promising ideas and products aimed towards digitizing various processes in construction domain. It was attended by companies from real-estate (CA Immobilien, CBRE, Commerz Real, Hines, PATRIZIA, Vonovia), construction companies (STRABAG and VINCI), building materials companies (Wienerberger, Saint Gobain), building machinery (Doka, Palfinger), building technologies (Siemens) and infrastructure consulting (PwC).
The event was divided into five categories with 10 construction tech companies in each category:
1. Engineering & Project Management – The products here were around the concept of digital twins. Archilyse and Framence presented their solutions for converting 2D drawings/actual site into a 3D model. These are useful products for generating a model of an existing building. Companies such as Testfit and DES have designed assisting tools for Architects and Civil Engineers. And then, there were solutions such as Planstack, Nucon, Safeguard which streamline project management processes by building in more transparency in the system for better decision making and smooth execution.
2. Procurement & Construction – ConTech companies like Bao Living, Woodyhousing and Modulous put forth modular prefabrication options for affordable housing. It was interesting to see how different startups are addressing the issue of affordable housing. All options seem viable for different scenarios (such as Woodyhousing for student accommodation, Modulous for multi-storey apartments).
In the area of supply chain management, ConTech companies like Propergate, Cosuno, Fonn Construction are providing live tracking of the material for hurdle-less workflow.
Inpera & Cosuno are streamlining the bidding process by providing a single software for all communication and document management.
3. Building Technologies – A number of building tech companies (Dabbel, Interpanel, Mondas, Smart Plants) presented solutions for improving indoor quality of buildings and reducing the maintenance cost at the same time. This is done by automatic monitoring and controlling of building systems.
LightYX presented one of its kind solution for making the building floor plan with the help of a laser projector. This will help the workers to mark the location of internal walls and save a lot of time and resources.
Converge, Concrete Sensors, Sensohive presented different types of sensors to check the maturity of concrete which can fastrack subsequent activities and reduce the cycle time of the concrete formwork.
4. Building Materials & Systems – ConTech companies such as Strayos and CivDrone are developing solutions for using drones in geo-technical surveys and site markings.
Basilisk contracting BV, Carbon Upcycling Technologies and Carbicrete provide the solution for smart concrete and reducing the amount of Co2 produced in the process.
Hexpressions, Oxara FenX AG, Wellsun are working on wall and facade solutions to minimize the use of natural resources, both during manufacturing and operation.
5. Construction Machines & Equipment – Aectual, Customindz, Mobbed SA, are providing 3D printing solutions for building facades, floors and wall designs. These solutions will help in breaking the rigid geometrical forms of buildings defined by right-angled edges and will provide more fluidity for the buildings.
In the same category, startups like Toolsense are building IoT applications for efficient utilization of machine on site, which is one of the major cost components in construction projects.
Though few construction ideas were groundbreaking new and opening a whole new dimension of contech possibilities, others were replicating the existing solution but in a much more user-friendly way and offering comprehensive solutions under one application. What really stood out and was amazing to witness was the diverse range of products addressing problems in almost every area in the construction industry.
The selected startups in each category will get a free booth at the BUILTWORLD Innovation Forum hosted by Light+ Building 2020. This will provide them an unique opportunity to showcase their product in-front of 220,000+ professionals.
Overall, it was a super-successful event loaded with creative ideas, enlightening discussions, meaningful networking and possibilities to unearth ground-breaking solutions for revolutionising the construction industry.
Written by: Arunidhi Sharma