Publications / 2022 Proceedings of the 39th ISARC, Bogotá, Colombia

Blockchain-supported design tool on building element scale

Goran Sibenik, Marijana Sreckovic, Thomas Preindl, Martin Kjäer, and Wolfgang Kastner
Pages 566-573 (2022 Proceedings of the 39th ISARC, Bogotá, Colombia, ISBN 978-952-69524-2-0, ISSN 2413-5844)

Sharing building data or building models still represents a problem within design practices in the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Additionally, digitalization, automation or traceability of processes face numerous workflows and changing stakeholder constellations, with multiple software tools escaping the scopes of common data environments or similar digital solutions. Vague standardization regarding data and processes hinders data management technologies from overcoming the design phase digitalization issues. While many central solutions still deal with closed data due to many proprietary tools for domain-specific tasks, each building project requires an inter-domain collaboration. Open solutions to holistically manage projects still lack functionality, even though some existing tools support central data management and process automation. This research investigates data management using popular data exchange formats for coupling with blockchain technology. It establishes a system that can support processes with smart contracts and reference building elements, herewith addressing the question: How to manage data on the building element scale to allow for processes defined with smart contracts and blockchain technology? The resulting system architecture combines Revit as user-local storage and Speckle as an open CDE. Furthermore, it uses the Baseline Protocol for data exchange and as a common point of reference. While data exchange happens off-chain, cryptographic hashes of data are stored on the blockchain to form a single point of reference for process states and all previous versions, creating process chains and allowing data traceability. Data tracing is an essential requirement for building projects, still commonly realized in analog form in practice. This research presents mechanisms for blockchain-based data tracing on a level of granularity required for design processes.

Keywords: Blockchain; Baseline; CDE; BIM; design workflow