Digital Construction 2021 - joining forces for the development of the construction industry

We're delighted to say that in addition to having developed into a series, the third Digital Construction hackathon attracted several new local partners and took a turn to cross-border cooperation by partnering up Estonia with Finland. It was great to see how the event brought all the parties onto a common ground on September 24-26th to make a joint contribution to the development of the construction and real estate sector by helping to promote digital solutions that help improve bottlenecks in the named field.

In addition to the 2020 local partners - the Estonian Digital Construction Cluster, the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, State Real Estate, and Remato - this year, the Estonian Wooden Houses Cluster, Nordecon and Sirkel and Mall also joined the event. The hackathon was also supported by the European Regional Development Fund and Enterprise Estonia. Regarding transnational cooperation, the Ministry of the Environment of Finland and KIRAHub partnered with the hackathon to co-organize and proposed two challenges together with a correspondent prize fund. Hence, this year, the teams had more challenges to choose from, find solutions to, and more opportunities to win a well-deserved prize. For this, we can call the Digital Construction 2021 an edition with the highest number of happy participants and new change-making prototypes developed! A big thank you to all the partners - this all wouldn't have been possible without your support!

Digicon 2021 was a 3-dimensional event.

And not only, the international collaboration with Finland also made us do something new organization and live production-wise! Firstly, the hackathon took place online and on-site, simultaneously in Estonia (in Tallinn, at The Estonian Academy of Arts) and Finland (in Helsinki, at KIRAHub) - our first 3-dimensional event! And secondly, we set up studios in Tallinn and Helsinki to create a joint live stream for the opening, the finals and the award ceremony. For this, it was a great learning point also for our team. 

We also had an international team of 22 industry-leading hand-on experts from Estonia and Finland who helped the participants in their 48-hour prototyping journey. In addition, an international jury was formed between the two countries.

In this context we'd like to thank all the mentors who contributed their time and energy in helping the teams to make the most of it - Harri Hakaste, Tuija Pakkanen, Sami Lankiniemi, Annukka Mickelsson, Raiko Puustumaa, Vanessa Vorteil, Tormi Müür, Sami Jokela, Egle Vogt, Jaanus Pars, Andres Roosson, Pirjo Jantunen, Martin Verrev, Jaan Saar, Teemu Lehtinen, Mikael af Hällström, Miina Karafin, Ergo Pikas, Targo Kalamees, Kadi Metsmaa, Oksana Hetman, and Merylin Rüütli. And we could have never done it without our Garage48 host, lead & support mentors - thank you, Joao and Mayri! Thank you to all the jury members for your contribution and for the heated discussions in choosing the winners - Gerd Müller, Tuija Pakkane, Martin Polikarpus, Ergo Pikas, Minna Perähuhta, Jaan Saar, and Siim Puksai. The State Real Estate had their jury team formed to select their favourite for their prize, formed by Silver Ader, Taimo Veski and Liis Lebedev.

Now, what was there to solve? Compared to the remarkable development of digitalization and productivity in other sectors, the construction industry seems to be standing still. Low productivity and profitability, poor document and information management, poor information flow between involved parties, life cycle assessment and CO2 footprint for buildings are time-consuming to calculate due to insufficient data quality, to name a few problems. For the third year in a row, we gathered architects, BIM specialists, developers, contractors, software engineers and designers, data scientists, business visionaries, marketing specialists, etc., to solve these issues. The hackathon brought together 60 participants from over 15 countries, and 11 teams were formed.


Winners of the Digital Construction 2021 hackathon!


5000€ prize from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia - team COLIZY.

Challenge: to demonstrate how the prototype benefits from the existing e-construction platform API services or could add value to the platform.

To ensure that the large-scale construction projects' commissioning procedure runs smoothly, Colizy developed an application to help digitalize its process by suggesting appropriate tags for photos and performing automated classification of any evidence taken. Furthermore, all notes are automatically connected to the space or room in which they were made and appear in the model. All gathered data is saved and analyzed using cloud technology. As remote work becomes workforce normality, it is essential to incorporate ways to make sure everyone has the chance to join in on the commissioning process. The application includes the opportunity to live-stream inspections. All this makes inspecting buildings a lot less time-consuming and more effective.


"The Garage48 DC2021 was an unforgettable experience for us! We came to this event without any expectations and hopes, as we only had an idea and nothing more. However, during the hackathon, we received a lot of support from the Garage48 team and various mentors, which seemed completely impossible, became a reality! Of course, the cherry cake was still a victory in the Ministry of Economics and Communication challenge! It was one of the most memorable and inspiring experiences in life, so we highly recommend it! :)"

Georgi Abuladze
Colizy Team Lead

4000€ prize from the Ministry of the Environment of Finland - team PROCYON.

Challenge #1: Accelerating user-driven services for the built environment: scaling up MyBuilding (OmaRakennus) demo.


The solution that Procyon developed during the Digital Construction hackathon is a tool that helps predict the value of a property by visualizing data such as square meter price, energy efficiency, carbon footprint, air quality, crime - and projecting it into the future. Other sources of information include, for example, the development plans of a city district. The solution is aimed to bring value to various parties in the real estate sector: foremost the agents and developers, but also regular buyers and sellers, investors, banks, and city planners.


4000€ prize from the Ministry of the Environment of Finland - team CIRCOMY.

Challenge #2: Accelerating the transition towards a carbon-neutral built environment - Opportunities in the circular economy of buildings.

Circomy combines the emerging sustainability regulations with emerging digital signature standards and legal frameworks to tokenize materials planned for reuse. Referencing the document in problem setting, it argues in favor of improved digital tagging or tracking (or track & trace in logistics terms) of materials to keep streams separate and, in general, improve value chain incentives. This way, materials, and building parts can be sold on virtual platforms, even before they are dismantled from the buildings. Technically it relies on emerging Internet standards from W3C to create electronic documents, linking them together and signing the papers and links that are likely eIDAS compatible in the future. These are called decentralized identifiers and verifiable credentials. Circomy imagines a more sustainable future where used materials may grow into a commodity market paralleling virgin materials.


"We've been planning and working through COVID, but a situation like this soon feels like an echo chamber, and so this hackathon had a fitting theme and came at a great time as an opportunity to meet people. I didn't remember how tiring it is to explain complex concepts to others, so this was a great way to get out and, even better, find an explanation that clicked with many people and we still had time to build with everyone onboard. Luck and this hackathon with us, now we discuss our team members to join the team. We also made contacts with others, and I hope we can at least exchange ideas and work together. Maybe to tell briefly about our startup: Upon establishing it, we set the goal to find ways to reverse biodiversity loss, stop climate change and fail forwards doing so. This idea is one of our core concepts on circular economy finance that we think we can bring to markets – but there are, of course, bigger plans too!"

Veikko Eeva

Circomy Team Lead


Veikko's words nicely reflect the following - one never leaves a Garage48 hackathon empty-handed, even if he/she didn't win a prize. ​​Yes, hackathons are 48-hours of intense work, but they are also about networking and having fun! It is a chance to meet fellow talents, potential co-founders, employers, and employees, and of course, test out new ideas, our skills, and creativity and get instant feedback from experts!


3000€ prize from the Estonian State Real Estate - team PROCYON.

"We entered the Digital Construction Hackathon as a group of students wanting to test our skills and get to know each other. What we couldn't imagine was a short life filled with passion, believing, and hard work. We came without any clue what we were going to do but ended up with a breakthrough startup project that we will spend many more sleepless nights perfecting. We are the team "Procyon", and we are entering the PropTech market with our big data solutions, empowered by our new partners!"

Anton Visnevski


Watching Procyon's journey was indeed amazing - six bright-minded TalTech students who decided to give it a try did their best and couldn't believe themselves what they achieved in the end! We wish you lots of wind in the sails!


3000€ Nordecon Grand Prix prize - the overall winner of the hackathon - team HYPERION ROBOTICS.

They have developed a system that can automatically produce reinforced concrete structures with fewer materials, composed of recycled concrete from different waste streams, generating almost zero waste. They combine the sustainability aspect of eliminating waste and reusing it to produce construction elements with the optimization and automation of 3D printing technology. Hence, fewer materials are used (up to 75% less), no molds or formwork are needed, and we can do mass customization at no extra cost, all in an automated and safer process where only 1/3 of the labor is required.

Additionally, Hyperion Robotics won tickets to the AEH Hackathon.

“The Digital Construction Hackathon was an incredible 48-hour roller coaster ride which I had the pleasure to experience as team lead for Hyperion Robotics. It was an intensely packed weekend during which I recruited and worked with Margus and Oskar (whom I never met before) from across the Baltic sea. Whilst they were working remotely from Tallinn and I was present in Helsinki, together, we built a glimpse at a circular sustainable future harvesting the power of 3D printing concrete using recycled materials. It was an invaluable learning experience about teamwork, communication, and improvisation, and I am extremely thankful on behalf of my team to the organizing members for helping us win the Nordecon Grand Prix of the hackathon!”

Henry Unterreiner

Hyperion Robotics Team Lead

Here he is, on the left - sending greetings from Helsinki together with our team and Finnish jury members.

Runner-up of the overall winner - team PROCYON.

Prize: Tickets to the AEH Hackathon.


1500€ from the Estonian Wooden Houses Cluster - team My3DCloud.

Challenge: offsite-prefabricated deep energy renovation digital solutions.

My3DCloud has found a new way to do automated 3D modeling by taking 2 different systems of 3D data (point clouds & CAD models) and by data enrichment creating a new way to capture geometry. It means they are able to recognize common geometry in 2 different data systems. That allows them to identify objects in the database even without having all data, use machine learning and AI to fully automate 3D modeling from 3D laser scanning data, and get 3D models for BIM in a few hours instead of a few months.

In the picture below, the team lead of My3DCloud, Reinis Tocelovskis, pitching online. 

 Favourite of the audience - team COLIZY.

Prize: Tickets to the sTARTUp Day 2021.


Additionally, Circomy and Procyon both won: 

- 4-week remote accelerator program by KIRAHub to further develop their projects towards the New European Bauhaus goes Digital event.

- Fast-track participation to New European Bauhaus goes Digital on 28 October.


All teams got:

Tickets to the World Summit on Digital Built Environment 2021, which took place on September 28-29.

And finally, the winning teams got to further pitch their ideas at the World Summit on Digital Built Environment, which was a pre-event of the Digital Construction hackathon also this year. So that brings us back to the beginning. Partnering up for the Digital Construction hackathon is a natural extension to the WSDBE cooperation that has been uniting the Estonian Digital Construction Cluster and the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications with the Finnish partners through co-creation of the named event for several years. 

From this point on, we can only move towards more profound and content-driven cooperation, and honestly, we can't wait for the 2022 edition!

Until then, enjoy:





About the author

kadi aguraijuja

Kadi is an experienced hackathon and events organizer working with events across various industries from Food Technology to Construction. She is extremely detail-oriented and caring about everyone involved in the project! 🥰

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