A complete guide about the built environment

As part of this year´s Construction Startup Competition, we are looking for startups that offer solutions that fall under the category “Efficient Jobsite & Built Environment”. This means we are looking for startups that offer improved communication and information systems, data analysis & optimization, schedule management, enhanced HSEQ procedures (health, safety, environment & quality) and captured data for a connected jobsite.

But what exactly does the built environment encompass? Does it only refer to the jobsite or is there more to it? Further ahead we´ll give you all the answers and tell you more about startups in the construction industry making a difference for the sector.

This article will help you understand all the elements that make up the built environment, why it´s important to foster innovation within it and welcome new solutions.

If you think your startup has a solution that fits under this category, apply before June 27 to Construction Startup Competition 2023 and let us evaluate your project!

Table of Contents

What is the built environment?

An environment is everything that surrounds us. As the term itself alludes to, when we speak about the built environment, we must think of every single element that encompasses our surroundings that ´s built by humans.

Fully understanding the extent of the term requires it to be seen with a holistic point of view to prevent it from being misunderstood. Therefore, when we speak of the built environment, we must include not only buildings, but the human-made spaces between buildings, the infrastructure that supports human activity and every relevant player in the construction value chain that interacts with the different networks in the ecosystem.

construction worker

Much like smart cities and smart buildings, where everything needs to be interconnected in order to achieve a better performance altogether, the built environment must take into consideration all aspects that affect not only the building (whether its residential, industrial, or commercial) but also its surroundings and, of course, the end user and how it affects them.

So, who is responsible for the built environment? Who can make sure that all aspects are overviewed and taken into consideration?  Many stakeholders from the construction value chain, prior to impacting the end user, play an important role. From architects, engineers, contractors, town planners, designers, distributers, service providers, property managers, and policy makers, just to name a few, fragmentation is almost inevitable. Yet, all that encompasses the built environment starts developing naturally, regardless of how interconnected or not every player is within each other. 

At CEMEX Ventures, we want to make sure that when it comes to the construction industry, the jobsite is as connected and efficient as it can be, and that the relationship with its surroundings and stakeholders that are affected by a project is open, cohesive, and respectful.

That´s why as part of this year’s Construction Startup Competition, we´ve made it our mission to find startups with solutions that can respond to the challenges the built professionals face in the jobsite and as a result, enhances the built environment as a whole.

sustainable building

How does it affect our lives?

All of the players that interact in the built environment affect the daily lives of construction professionals in many ways. Essentially, a single project can have a wide range of stakeholders that are part of the decision-making process on the design, planning, construction, operations, and end user phases of a project. More so, government entities and private institutions who urge for more sustainable developments are now significant players in the process, in order to comply with environmental regulations.

Naturally, the more people that are involved, the more challenging it is to maintain a controlled and productive environment. Therefore, communication becomes a key element for the built sector, as it will be crucial for all to be connected with the project´s progress and development so everyone is on the same boat and rowing in the same direction.

For example, the participants on the initial phases of a project must ask themselves the following questions prior to beginning the construction phase of a building to avoid any unexpected delays and possible budget overruns:

  • Are the materials available on the location of the project or must they be imported? Will the materials be available on time? Should I need more, is there enough product available or will it result in a project halt?
  • Do you have the skilled workforce to manage the materials and methods that have been chosen for the project?
  • How will the materials chosen impact the environment, the surroundings of the structure and the future users of the building?
  • How do you guarantee that the construction of the building is aligned with a high-quality design and materials so it doesn´t result in structural flaws afterwards?
  • How will waste from the project be managed so it doesn´t result in a negative environmental impact?

Why is the built environment important?

Amongst the reasons previously stated, one of the main concerns surrounding the built industry nowadays is the fast-populating cities and the impact this will have. Is the sector ready to deliver the infrastructure that´s needed without sacrificing quality and considering its environmental impact?

According to the United Nations, 68% of the world population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050. That´s a lot of people moving in a short period of time, so the built environment must be ready to provide the correct response to it, including making affordable housing available in a timely manner for the masses moving to the cities.

By promoting and enhancing a healthier built sector, efficiency in the jobsite, as well as across the entire building process, increases. This may result in the on-time delivery of projects that are withing the delimited budget setup for it, and that also consider the best practices that comply with the environmental regulations setup in different regions.

The National Research Council stated that this growth in population in the cities leads to the emergence of urban conglomerations in which one built environment stretches to another (urban to suburban to “exurban” infrastructure and design), covering entire ecosystems and landscapes. Given these factors, cities are becoming a major focus area for the built environment as they need to adapt to the surge in needs, make sure to have the necessary resources to deliver project on time, while also complying with sustainable criteria.

Can an efficient jobsite improve the built environment?

When we talk about the built environment, we must consider that the construction industry itself can help promote healthier and more productive ways of working in the jobsite and later, within the finished product.

Since so many verticals come into play when building a structure, leveraging on new technologies that help enhance the jobsite´s efficiency can not only help the built professionals have more control of the development, but also guarantee that it´s taking into consideration every player involved in the construction value chain, whether from a very early stage or all the way to the maintenance phase once the structure is finished.

Some ways in which an efficient jobsite and built environment can be achieved are:

  • Communication, coordination, progress monitoring and improved information flow systems for enhanced integration of all the players involved in a project.
  • Data analysis, optimization, prediction, and analytics to unlock new trends and insights from a project.
  • Schedule management and execution to avoid delays, overlapping and budget overruns.
  • Enhance HSEQ procedures (health, safety, environment & quality) to prevent errors and guarantee safety on and off site by implementing the correct systems and processes.
  • Captured data for connected jobsite that includes sensor-based solutions, wearable devices or even drones to automatically collect information from workers, equipment, tools and the environment.
project planning

Built environment & the startups that make it better.

Given its broad range, every startup that works to make the construction industry better is working on enhancing the built environment. Yet, we´ve identified four startups from our investment portfolio that are working to enhance the industry´s efficiency from the jobsite and overall, leading change that benefits every player involved in the construction phase of a project.


Previously known as X3 Builders, Aecore is a startup based in California that offers an all-in-one approach to its clients, taking care of the design, procurement, and construction phase of their projects.

They serve as an integrated general contractor that eliminates the hurdles between the different players in the construction value chain, making it a perfect solution for clients looking to optimize the processes in the projects, ensure an on-time delivery of materials, and guarantee the incorporation of dedicated project managers that use a robust software that automates all the administrative process and helps them manage the entire project for their clients.



One of the first winners of Construction Startup Competition and early members of our investment portfolio, IPSUM is a Latin-American startup who expanded their operations all the way to California thanks to their innovative platform that simplifies construction planning and scheduling.

Their technology allows for all members working on a project site to be integrated, enhancing their productivity and communication channels, all while transforming the way construction projects are managed from the field itself.

Take a look at their CEO Franco Giaquinto in the Contech Crew to further understand how IPSUM helps the built environment by tackling a challenge from the very early stage of the construction process.


StructionSite solves the site documentation problems with an easy-to-use platform that lets clients seamlessly track a project’s progress. The US startup was founded by veterans of the industry looking to solve the day-to-day challenges they encountered.

The startup incorporates the use of 360º cameras in the jobsite that provide data to its software, digitalizing and updating the worksite progress. Their approach reduces rework, increases efficiency by eliminating unnecessary jobsite visits and walkthroughs, and reduces risk by saving all documentation that helps validate delay claims, trade damages and warranty issues.



Based in Mexico, PRYSMEX developed a SaaS cloud-based solution to optimized risk management in the workplace.  Their collaborative software manages findings, incidents, inspections, site walks, and campaigns in a simple and innovative way.

By integrating IoT and real-time data collection, the startup allows construction companies to enhance their productivity by incorporating 3D maps of their jobsite that helps maintain control and supervision of the teams on real-time, efficiently preventing accidents and mitigating risks.

CEMEX Ventures boosts a better built environment in the world.

At CEMEX Ventures, we have developed one of the biggest Contech ecosystems in the industry to date. From startups, entrepreneurs, investors, universities, and other companies that share our drive to foster innovation in construction, our worldwide network supports our belief that a better built environment is both needed and possible.

By introducing a category like “Efficient Jobsite & Built Environment” into the annual Construction Startup Competition, we make sure that applying startups have projects that will target this challenge. Also, they can help introduce solutions into the industry that enhances the work done on-site and considers its impact on its surroundings, leveraging on innovative technologies and promoting its adoption on a wider scale.

More so, it´s a guarantee to our commitment with building and transforming the cities of the future, along with DysruptekFerrovialGS FuturesHilti, VINCI Group´s Leonard and NOVA by Saint-Gobain. 

Does your startup offer a solution that can help boost efficiency in the jobsite and improve the built environment? Apply to Construction Startup Competition 2021 today! The application phase will remain open until June 27.

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