a revolution for the construction sector?

Compared to other sectors, construction has fallen behind in digital and therefore remains one of the least digitized sectors today. Yet the digitization of the building is more necessary than ever and the need for innovation is felt on multiple levels. Blockchain, one of the most ubiquitous technologies of Industry 4.0, could contribute to this and could therefore revolutionize the sector considerably. Explanations.

Blockchain is to transactions what the internet has been to information “Initially developed in finance, blockchain is a technological innovation that is attracting the interest of many players in various sectors, especially in those where interactions and transactions take place.

The construction industry today requires many professionals who must collaborate and exchange data to design, build and manage projects. And this is where blockchain could prove itself!

The blockchain, a new tamper-proof mechanism for validating transactions

Nowadays, if you want to make a financial transaction, whether you are a craftsman or a private individual, you must contact a trusted intermediary. Therefore, if a person A wishes for example to make a transfer of € 1,000 to person B, a bank must be responsible for carrying out the transaction, checking that person A actually has this amount of money in his bank account. This trusted intermediary, which can therefore be a bank, a notary or even a digital platform such as Uber or Airbnb, keeps track of transactions made on computers, servers or books.

With the blockchain, it is the actors who today play this role of trusted intermediary in transactions, who will see their position questioned. Transaction information will no longer belong to this single trusted intermediary, but will now be visible to all who make up the blockchain network. Each user of this network will have their own “account book” of previous exchanges, which they will have to update with each new transaction. It will also be all members of the network who will validate a transaction, subject to the approval of the majority. A system that leaves no room for fraudulent operations, as this would require the corruption of tens of thousands of people.

Thus, with this mechanism, exchanges can be carried out directly from peer to peer in a completely secure way, without going through banks or intermediary digital platforms such as Blablacar or Uber.

The blockchain is therefore, as the name suggests, the combination of a “block” and a “chain”. Each exchange made between blockchain users is recorded in the form of blocks, which end up forming a chain. All blocks in this chain contain a set of transactions up to 1MB and a sequence of unique characters to identify them. It is in particular thanks to this character system that it is possible to preserve the anonymity of users.

The blockchain is like a database distributed across multiple storage networks, whose data cannot be erased and cannot be falsified. The two best known currently are those of Bitcoin and Ethereum, two systems that work with their own cryptocurrency.

What are the advantages for the construction sector?

First, the blockchain would play an important role in the real estate sector, and more particularly during transactions. In fact, since this system is tamper-proof, the risk of fraud in transactions would therefore be reduced, and the control and appraisal operations would be less numerous, which would simplify a good number of steps in the acquisition. a building. At any time it is also possible to consult the history of a transaction and to know with certainty who is the current owner of a property.

For the real estate sector, the blockchain therefore offers total transparency, as well as instant and secure execution of transactions. All information is archived, verified, stored and made public without any danger. Property deeds, cadastral data or cadastral records may also be stored in the blockchain, such as the financial transactions of a property.

Another blockchain-based innovation that could revolutionize the construction sector would be that of “smart contracts”. The latter in particular make it possible to ethically exchange everything that has value, avoiding the services of an intermediary such as a lawyer or notary, but also simplify the maintenance of a building. For example, once the life of a component has expired, the blockchain allows for automatic ordering and delivery of the product in question. However, this smart contract technology can adapt in countless different ways, with the aim of making each stage of construction much more efficient.

Finally, the blockchain also contributes to reducing the environmental impact of the construction sector. It can therefore be applied to the traceability of an asset, such as a waste, or of an asset via a QR code. Blockchain can act as a passport for building materials and the information on each building product will allow the project manager to verify if the raw materials come from ethical sources, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of the chosen materials.

Robin Schmidt

Featured photo: Adobe Stock

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