Blockchain: a new building block for the built environment?

  • YEAR
    McMeel, Dermott
    Sims, Alex
    2020 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Digital Architecture, BIM & City Information Modelling (CIM)


This paper explores the innovations that are presented to the architecture, engineering and construction sector through blockchain. The authors consider blockchain, as a technology and methodology that allows us to rethink the fundamental building blocks and principles on which the sector is based. First, we provide some historical context, returning to and discussing the hypothesis that brought blockchain technology into being. Second, we review specific use cases that represent key differentiators between conventional approaches and the opportunities made possible through blockchain. Our analysis reveals how blockchain challenges the traditional structures of industry. It offers a new distributed methodology for replacing centralised and de-centralised structures of organisation and is disrupting notions of trust and authority that have been the default for industry—and indeed civilisation—for centuries. Finally, we report on original research where blockchain design workshops are held with industry stakeholders to map these opportunities into the architecture, engineering and construction sector.

Keywords: blockchain; distributed ledger technology; design; innovation; construction; built environment


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