As we look around, we see a transformation in all dimensions, be it digital industry, education sector, or economy. Considering all the aspects, it can be clearly stated that the digital sector has seen a massive transformation. It has completely changed the perception and definition of working capabilities majorly all the industries. It is not only confined to one segment, but it covers almost everything one can really think of.
There is notably a lot of work done in the design and construction industry to a great extent. Digital transformation has substantially been witnessed in the design and construction sector as well. Technology has evolved to solve various issues incurring in all the industries. Same is the case seen in the building & construction industry. Lot of problems have been seen right from planning, design, construction and building operations or infrastructure development.
Before we go ahead in this article, let us briefly understand two key points which we will be discussing:
- Building Information Modeling is a process of maintaining digital files that is used to record information relating to building or other build asset. It is currently being used by individuals or agencies for storing all the aspects that are part of the building and construction process.
- Blockchain is basically a decentralized digital ledger which is not kept at one location. Rather, it is visible to all the participants involved in the transaction. This transaction could be financial or just the data exchange. As the name suggests, it is a chain of information blocks that is encrypted and split over the network, thereby making it more secure than the centralized ledger and saves from any malicious activity like hacking. These blocks of information are regularly added up to the chain. Thi necklace formed keeps growing as more and more information is added to it. All the information records as stored in chronological order and is transparent to its users.
Blockchain is heading towards the construction industry as well. When it is combined with BIM, it forms a great combination. Blockchain is be really helpful to the construction industry. Let’s see how:
- In traditional construction approach, there is an involvement of third parties who are responsible for the contract processing and activities related to payment. But with the use of blochchain, their intervention can be avoided and hence there can be a huge cut down in cost as well as time.
- Project delivery and payment management becomes systematic and more streamlined.
Why productivity in the construction sector lags behind
Since the construction industry is based on regulations and applying those on seeking innovation so as to benefit the worker with its safety and security, but quietly missing out on the productivity. There has to be some step taken to increase the speed of construction and at the same time, by lowering down the overall cost.
With the advent of newer technologies like BIM, as advancement in the processes has been seen. It is an efficient method which aims to automate the administrative and the financial processes to a great extent.
How Blockchain can help construction industry
To understand how blockchain can be helpful with the BIM, let us consider a general scenario.
In the BIM process, there is a general model followed which has a team comprising of the owner, a general contractor and a sub-contractor. A plan is devised by this team which would consist of milestones made by the general contractor. The actual construction has to be matched with the process as decided by this team. If there are any anomalies, you have to fix it. Upon confirmation and verification of the completed work, payment is generated. Verification can be done by the general contractor by using tools like 3D scanners, to cross check whether the construction has been done as per the measurements other statistics mentioned in the plan. This happens when the project achieves a certain milestone.
There are milestones for the entire team, be it for the owner, general contractor or the sub-contractors. On fulfilling the milestone, funds are released.
But if you see this, the entire process is very elaborate and cumbersome. To overcome with this tedious paperwork and time consuming as well as expensive process, it is now time to view the project in real time.
When we incorporate blockchain with BIM, the process becomes easy and smart. In carrying out any project, there is a step-by-step process. The whole process is divided among the desired team. All of these smart contracts are connected with the owner along with the verifiable milestones. Each of these verifiable milepost is accountable in the BIM model. For example, completion of the ground floor, foundation, etc, all these will be recorded and saved as a block of information. Similarly, all the blocks is created in the block chain.
So as a new milestone is completed, a smart contract or progress is shown in the model. On verification by the general contractor, payment automatically is initiated. This eliminates the paperwork and lots of other overheads and the payments are reached to the sub-contractors on time without any fail.
This way the granular results of the sub-contractors are monitored by the general contractor and the overall process can be traced by the owner. The owner can have a realistic visualization of the project based on the progress. This model is very secure as the funds are only released upon verification of the agreed tasks. The owner can keep an easy track for the finances, how and when the amounts were spent and see how things are materializing.
For the people who are into building and construction, BIM and blockchain form an essential part and to incorporate this there are several companies offering BIM consulting services. You must visit them to stay tuned with the latest technologies and applying them onto your business model.
The systematic amalgamation of BIM and blockchain can make this entire construction process very easy:
- The project now becomes a combination of smart contracts in a decentralized manner, which is visible to all
- Each of this smart contract is associated with a value
- On completion and verification of these smart contracts, payment process is automatically triggered, which flows from one wallet to another
- As some part of work is completed, the BIM model gets updated with the next block containing the completion information and the amount spent.
This way, the whole process becomes trustworthy. You are wisely paid as and when you complete the task. Blockchain technology saves paper, extra salary required to give to the finance team, involves lesser people on a whole, enhances transparency of responsibility along with the designated budget. Overall, it is a very secure and time saving system.