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Blockchain: practical application example in construction and BIM

Blockchain: practical application example in construction and BIM

Information management, transparency of exchanges and trust among project participants are BIM process’ fundamental and foundational concepts of blockchain. Here’s a practical application example in construction.

In the construction industry there are often disputes and litigation related to intellectual property infringement, loss of data over time, tampering with files and information, etc. You may use the blockchain and rely on BIM’s blockchain applications to ensure the tracking and transparency of all information exchanges avoiding problems and making all processes safe and reliable.Let’s see in detail what blockchain is and how it can improve exchanges in the construction industry.

Blockchain in building construction

Blockchain in construction

What is blockchain and what is it for?

Blockchain is a technology based on a secure, distributed and decentralized data structure. It allows different participants to record and share information between them in a transparent, immutable and verifiable way. In other words, blockchain is a kind of digital registry in which information is store and linked together in blocks. This technology is the basis of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but its potential goes far beyond the financial world.

To learn more, I also recommend reading “Blockchain and BIM: Benefits and Potential”.

Blockchain: practical examples in various sectors

Applications in the construction sector

Blockchain can be applied in several industries, including construction. In particular, it can be used for:

  • simplify the management of smart contracts;
  • integrate Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • trace the building materials;
  • monitor payments.

Let’s now see in detail how these applications can revolutionize the construction industry.

Blockchain and the Construction Industry

Smart contracts’ management in construction: what they are and what they are used for

Smart contracts are computer programs that automatically execute the conditions of a contract when they are met. Thanks to the blockchain, it is possible to realize smart contracts in the construction sector. ensuring greater efficiency, security and transparency in the management of agreements and transactions between the parties involved.

Integration with BIM

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a methodology of design, construction and management of buildings based on the creation of three-dimensional digital models shared among all the actors involved in the project. Integrating Blockchain with BIM ensure reliability and security of shared data. Thus facilitating cooperation between various stakeholders.

BIM and blockchain for data certainty: a practical example

BIM and blockchain, due to the inherent characteristics of both, seem to have been created for each other. Information management, transparency of exchanges and trust among project participants are fundamental in a BIM process and are foundational concepts of blockchain.

Blockchain can be used to improve collaboration between different actors and to ensure the security and traceability of information.

Let’s see a practical example of integration, using a BIM and blockchain software. It will allow you to record on the bitcoin blockchain any document uploaded to the cloud (IFC models, pdf files, images, etc.). Therefore guaranteeing authenticity, date’s certainty and immutability over time.

This protects the user because it allows him to certify in a certain and immutable way the date and the content of the file for any future use.

The service works very intuitively: you have to select the file uploaded to usBIM cloud by clicking on the menu, blockchain. A summary table of all the file’s data (file name, first name, email surname of the author, his fingerprint, etc.) will appear and it is necessary to click on windows button to register the file on the bitcoin blockchain. Subsequently, by returning to the same file, you will be able to view registration additional information (time stamp, time of registration and bitcoin blockchain’s block that will store this information over time and in an immutable way). The system also provides a PDF certificate with the registration information and a receipt on file. With it, is possible to verify the certification on a third-party software ensuring the transparency of the process.

Building materials’ traceability

The traceability of building materials is essential to ensure the buildings’ quality and safety. Blockchain can be used to create a traceability system of materials. Hence allowing to monitor the origin, provenance, quality and sustainability of construction industry’s used’s products. In addition, reducing the risks of fraud and counterfeiting is easy thanks to the immutability when storing information in the blockchain.

Tracking payments in the construction sector

The construction sector is characterized by a complex network of relationships between customers, companies, suppliers and workers. Handling payments can become difficult and expensive, with possible delays and litigation. The introduction of blockchain in this context can simplify the process making the payment more transparent, ensuring that transactions take place quickly, securely and verifiably. In addition, the use of smart contracts can automate payments, reducing time and human error.

Blockchain represents a great opportunity for the construction industry, thanks to its security, transparency and decentralization features. The integration of blockchain with BIM and the adoption of smart contracts can lead to greater efficiency. Thus higher collaboration between the various parties involved in the construction process. In addition, building materials’ traceability and tracking of payments becoming more simple and reliable thanks to the use of blockchain
In conclusion, blockchain’s practical example of integration in BIM and in the construction sector demonstrates how this technology can contribute, improving and innovating such an important and strategic sector for the economy and sustainable development.