How Blockchain Technology Revolutionizes Architectural Engineering and Construction
The architectural engineering and construction (AEC) industry has long been criticized for its inefficiency and low productivity. The industry’s fragmented structure, sequential workflow, and numerous stakeholders with differing interests have been identified as root causes of these problems. However, the emergence of blockchain technology provides a promising solution to address the lack of trust and inadequate information sharing within the AEC sector. This white paper explores the various applications of blockchain technology in the built environment and highlights the benefits it offers in terms of smart contracts, supply chain management, building information modeling (BIM), facility management, sustainability, and the metaverse.
One of the key applications of blockchain technology in the AEC industry is through the use of smart contracts. These self-executing contracts automate processes and ensure compliance by dividing the work into smaller measurable work packages. Smart contracts define the conditions for completing each work package or milestone, triggering automatic compensation upon completion. By recording this information on the blockchain, it becomes clear who is responsible for each task at any given time. Any tampering or alteration of project data becomes evident, making the blockchain network highly secure and tamper-proof. This transparency and accountability are particularly beneficial in collaborative project delivery methods like BIM, which require trust and coordination among stakeholders.
Supply Chain Management
The decentralized and fragmented nature of the construction industry’s supply chain aligns well with the decentralized ledger system of blockchain. Blockchain technology provides the infrastructure needed for secure and reliable material traceability. Smart contracts can also play a role in supply chain management by ensuring that both suppliers and buyers receive compensation for their products or services. By leveraging blockchain, the AEC industry can enhance transparency, reduce fraud, and streamline supply chain processes.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
BIM has transformed the AEC industry by providing a shared data environment that stores all project information. However, the challenge lies in maintaining and updating this shared data environment throughout the project lifecycle. Blockchain technology offers a promising solution by serving as an infrastructure for maintaining up-to-date BIM models and connecting them with on-site reality. The distributed ledger system of blockchain ensures that stakeholders have access to the latest information while providing tamper-proof and time-stamped data. This integration of BIM and blockchain enhances collaboration, accuracy, and efficiency throughout the construction process.
Integrating blockchain with BIM or Building Maintenance Systems (BMS) can revolutionize facility management. This integration creates a reliable system that provides a complete history of the project and traces every detail of the building to its source. Smart contracts can automate maintenance work orders and release payments to contractors upon verification of completeness. By leveraging blockchain technology, facility management becomes more streamlined, transparent, and efficient.
Blockchain technology has a significant impact on sustainability within the AEC industry. Material transparency, enabled by blockchain’s supply chain traceability, allows for better whole life cycle cost analysis, accurate carbon emission estimates, and verification of raw materials. Designers and users can make sustainable choices by utilizing blockchain’s traceability to track the origins of raw materials for products used in construction projects. This transparency promotes sustainability practices and aligns with the industry’s growing focus on environmentally friendly solutions.
Blockchain technology can also be utilized in the metaverse, where existing computer-aided design (CAD) files for real-world building projects can be converted into virtual representations. These virtual environments can be shared among designers and customers for collaboration and approval. Sub-contractors responsible for specific materials or locations can fulfill their smart contracts within the metaverse, ensuring transparency, accountability, and efficient project management.
Arcartera Limited, with its team of blockchain software engineers, is at the forefront of leveraging blockchain technology for the AEC industry. By harnessing the power of blockchain