2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal)

2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference

Implementation of Blockchain Technology in the Construction Industry

Mr. Jason Hailer, Cal Poly - SLO
Mr. Steven Graham, MATT Construction (Presenter)

In general, the construction industry has been pretty resistant to change. While most industries have gained in productivity over the years through implementation of new technologies and other factors,  construction industry productivity has been on a steady decline since the 1960s. Even though there are a multitude of reasons for this, including more complex building types and a decline in the workforce, the major problem holding construction back are project management issues and alienation of project stakeholders in the construction process. Some improvements have been made to help with collaboration between parties, like building information modeling (BIM) and project management software like Procore and Plangrid, but there isn’t one application that pools information to share data between parties.

Blockchain can make a difference and help solve the construction industry’s collaboration problem. Blockchain is a peer-to-peer, controlled, distributed transactional database used to record and store lists of transactions (called blocks) that are verified through cryptography. A relatively new technology (created in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto), blockchain research, especially in the construction field, is almost nonexistent. In fact, only a handful of articles were published on this subject, most of them based on theories and assumptions and only a handful of forward thinking companies putting it into practice. Since there has not been a substantive amount of research done on the convergence of blockchain and the construction industry, the construction industry is not aware of the technology and its potential benefits. Since the industry is historically resistant to change, the consideration of an emerging and potentially disruptive technology is daunting. The research conducted in this paper explores the emergence of blockchain, highlights progressive companies implementing this technology in construction, and analyzes the best practices and applications needed for blockchain to succeed in the construction industry.