Machine Learning Disrupts Construction Industry

Oct 9, 2019

By Ray Levitt, Operating Partner at Blackhorn Ventures

Construction cloud-based versions of project management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) apps are rapidly disrupting the outdated paper-based processes. Functions like project drawing distribution and review now have simple digital point solutions. New reports cited by Visual Capitalist show that 52 percent of industry leaders say that machine learning and AI will be common technology in the construction sector within five years. In addition, “70 percent of construction companies believe those who do not adopt digital ways of working will go out of business.”


With these new advanced tools, general and specialty contractors and their clients now have the potential to access and analyze vast new sets of generated data such as:

  • Extraction of meaning from text and images in digital building models and/or the PDF documents in which they are often distributed
  • Terabytes of data from low-cost sensors, including cameras, lidar, radar, microphones, accelerometers, chemical and biological air quality sensors, etc.
  • “Ground-truth” daily field data on labor-hours and production, uploaded to the cloud by field workers and foremen via mobile apps

The next generation of emerging AI apps for construction can analyze these expansive new data pools to generate high-value, actionable insights that enable contractors to optimize their marketing, sales, field operations, and prefabrication operations. However, as the Visual Capitalist findings show, only a few early adopters have begun to use these advanced machine learning apps effectively. As a result, these emerging technologies have barely penetrated the industry at this point. The report cites: “While building information modeling and data analytics are widespread among the most innovative construction companies, a host of emerging technologies are starting to have an impact on the sector, and it is the early adopters who are racing ahead of the competition.”

Of those surveyed, 89% believe that digitization in the construction industry will “transform the way they work.” Many manual processes will have their productivity improved by the adoption of emerging, automated machine learning powered solutions. With the technology being relatively new, and adoption still low, it thus validates the large, ongoing market opportunity that exists for Blackhorn portfolio companies like Pype, Rhumbix, SafeSite, and Humatics. These companies and their technologies will be able to generate digitized, reliable, real-time project data for the construction and built environment industries. Other companies like BR.IQ, Manufacton, and ALICE will be able to pool and analyze these and other rich data-sets to generate new, high-value, actionable insights that have the ability to help to enhance resource efficiency and save money for their users.


Blackhorn Ventures invests in companies that redefine industrial resource efficiency. Built upon scientific breakthroughs, the ICT revolution, and creative thinking, our portfolio companies are rapidly transforming industrial sectors, while also achieving outsized environmental and sustainability impacts. Founded by experienced operators and investors, Blackhorn maintains a founder-friendly ethos, while providing maximum support with minimum interference.