Solving Problems at Chicago AEC Hackathon

April 01, 2015

AEC Hackathon Chicago 2015

On the weekend of March 6-8 in Downtown Chicago, Mortenson assembled a team of Engineers and Integrated Construction Coordinators from our Chicago, Milwaukee and National Projects Groups to participate in the AEC Hackathon 2.1, hosted by BuiltWorlds.

What is the goal of the AEC Hackathon?

To create an environment that embraces new ideas and technology solutions for the AEC Industry. A place where technology designers and developers can come to help the industry, and a safe zone for AEC R&D teams to "geek out" without having to worry about failure or affecting a company’s bottom line.

Weekend Results

Our team showed up in force, being the largest team from any organization. We not only were part of the winning team, but were the runner up for best overall problem and solution with the Hot Work Permit!

What problems were we trying to solve?

Mortenson Team: Safety CL: Improve Hot Work Permit Efficiency.

This is currently a paper process that impact most projects. The waste in this process is with tracking tickets that are opened/closed, location of hot work, and most of all paper storage. The goal was to develop an electronic kiosk in plan room that would allow workers to digitally create a ticket, identify location that would populate a database and allow superintendents to verify status of tickets. This topic was a big hit with droves of interested participants from both industry and developers!

Outcome: Team developed a prototype of a web based portal for hot work permit. This was just a start to solving the challenge from a technical standpoint and we will be continuing develop internally with the help of our new industry connections. The Hot Work Permit team placed second behind “The Clash Team”.

The Clash Team: Improve Clash Detection Efficiency.

This problem is specific to 3D coordination and the inefficiency of clash detection. On any given project, we will have thousands of clashes that must be resolved and our current toolset doesn’t make it easy, so let’s do something about it!

Outcome: Team developed a prototype using the Navisworks API to better manage clashes with a focus on group like 3D clashes together into one issue. This team took first place in the Hackathon.

Clash Team Presentation Website


This year, our rockstar AEC Hackathon participants were:

  • Cullen Stewart - Project Engineer (Chicago)
  • Ian Huffman - Integrated Construction Coordinator (Chicago)
  • Mark Peterson - Integrated Construction Coordinator (Milwaukee)
  • Michael Anthony - Field Engineer (Milwaukee)
  • Lucas Manos - Field Engineer / ICC (National Projects Group)
Hot Work Permit Team