ITcon Vol. 24, pg. 209-238,

Blockchain technology and BIM process: review and potential applications

submitted:October 2018
revised:May 2019
published:May 2019
editor(s):Kumar B.
authors:Nawari O. Nawari, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE
University of Florida, College of Design, Construction & Planning, School of Architecture,

Shriraam Ravindran, Ph.D. student,
University of Florida, College of Design, Construction & Planning, School of Architecture,
summary:A Blockchain Technology (BCT) is an emergent digital technology that in recent years has gained widespread traction in various industrial, public, and business sectors; primarily in financial and banking realms owing to the rapid increase of cryptocurrency valuation in recent years. A blockchain Technology (BCT) is, in essence, a decentralized ledger that records every transaction made in the network, known as a ‘block’, the body of which comprises of encrypted data of the entire transaction history. It was introduced as the working mechanism that formed the operational basis of Bitcoin, the first digital cryptocurrency to gain extensive mainstream appeal. The introduction of decentralized technology in any industry would require strengthened security, enforce accountability, and could potentially accelerate a shift in workflow dynamics from the current centralized architectures to a decentralized, cooperative chain of command and affect a cultural and societal change by encouraging trust and transparency. It was evident that the underlying principles characteristic of BCT functional attributes and secure digital infrastructure could find application in nearly any conceivable industry. BCT aims at creating a system that would be a robust self-regulating, self-monitoring and cyber-resilient system that assures the facilitation and protection of truly efficient data exchange system. This research depicts a survey of blockchain technology and its applications in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry and examines the potential incorporation within the Building Information Modeling (BIM) process. Furthermore, the paper investigates how employing distributed ledger technology (DLT) could be advantageous in the BIM workflow by emphasizing network security, providing more reliable data storage and management of permissions, ensuring change tracing and data ownership. The focus on collaboration and the distributed nature of both technologies imply the suitability for implementing an integrative framework, and in extension, posit that effectively leveraging DLT’s robust, reliable, and secure network infrastructure, and BIM workflow processes can be significantly enhanced. The paper examines the fundamentals of distributed ledgers, their prospective future applications and current advances, and their categorization based on intrinsic characteristics of consensus reaching and permissions. Moreover, the study investigates the potential application of BCT in improving the framework for automating the design review process such as using Smart Contract (SC) technologies and Hyperledger Fabric (HLF), as well as discussing future research areas. HLF is the underlying BCT infrastructure that can serve to highlight key postulations to elucidate the idealized BIM workflow aptly.
keywords:Blockchain, BIM, distributed ledger, Hyperledger Fabric, Smart Contract, AEC
full text: (PDF file, 8.844 MB)
citation:Nawari NO, Ravindran S (2019). Blockchain technology and BIM process: review and potential applications, ITcon Vol. 24, pg. 209-238,