How Blockchain can benefit Architectural Engineering and Construction
The construction industry is often critiqued because of its inefficiency and low productivity.
The disaggregated structure of the construction industry, its sequential nature where works need to be done in a sequential and chain resembling system, and the number of stakeholders with different interests involved in each project are named as root causes of its problems.
Blockchain is one of the tools that can help to overcome the acknowledged lack of trust and inadequate information sharing technologies in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry. Blockchain, due to its working system, would eliminate the need for trust between the parties or the need for confrontational contractual relationships due to the lack of trust.
We have identified six areas of blockchain technology’s applications in the built environment sector:
- 1) Smart contracts
- 2) Supply chain Management
- 3) Building Information Modeling (BIM)
- 4) Facility Management
- 5) Sustainability
- 6) Metaverse
A smart contract can be defined as a computer program consist of if/then statements dividing the work into smaller measurable work packages and automating the process of compliance and payment.
The conditions where each work package or milestone is considered complete is defined, and the completion of each one would trigger the predefined compensation automatically.
The information recorded in blockchain would clearly show who is responsible for what work at what time. Any tempering and change in the project data would make that block of information invalid, and it is fully traceable to the party at fault. In other words, the data recorded in the blockchain network is secured and tempered proof. The underlying assumption of construction contracts is that most of the rights and obligations of stakeholders are against each other. This environment is in direct contrast to the new collaborative project delivery methods, such as BIM requires.
SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
The decentralized and fragmented structure of the construction industry’s supply chain very well pair with the decentralized ledger system of blockchain. Blockchain can provide the infrastructure needed to securely and reliably advance material traceability. Smart contracts can play a role in supply chain management and material tracing too. Both supplier and buyer can be assured that they are going to get compensated for their money/product by using a smart contract.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
The introduction of BIM to the AEC industry provided a shared data environment where all the information is stored in a shared project file. The location and maintenance of this shared data environment presented a new challenge. Blockchain technology is a promising solution to such a problem. An always current distributed ledger system with high security, which can be used as an infrastructure for maintaining up to date BIM models during the project Lifecycle between the
involving stakeholders. BIM provides a single project environment where all the information regarding the project is created and stored there. Blockchain provides a single platform to maintain and update that project environment and connect it with the reality of site work. This would provide a time-stamped, tampered proof data.
Integration of blockchain and BIM or Building Maintenance System (BMS) would provide a reliable integrated system which can provide the complete history of the project and also trace every detail of the building to its source. Furthermore, this integration can stretch to the future and use smart contracts when maintenance is needed to automatically place a work order and upon the verification of completeness, release the payment to the contractor.
The material transparency discussed in supply chain section would have an impact in sustainability in areas such as whole life cycle cost, carbon emission estimates, and raw material verification. For instance, the designers or users can make a sustainable choice by using material traceability through blockchain up to the source of any product’s raw materials.
Existing CAD files for a real world building project can be converted into a Meta-Verse, to be shared among designers and also with customers. Once approved, the Meta-Verse displaying the actual building can be a place for Sub-Contractors that are responsible for a particular material or location, fulfilling their smart-contracts mentioned above.
Arcartera Limited has a strong team of Blockchain Software Engineers. Our knowledge can assist your Architectural journey to the blockchain. Contact us today to learn more about what we have done already and what can do for you.
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