28. Jun 2022
By Fabian Kurman
Blockchains are a technology that needs to be explained, which is why the existing benefits in a digital construction process for companies will not be so easy to see even in 2022. In the construction industry, only every fifth manufacturer is currently open to this.
Blockchains are digital ledgers where each change – also called a block – contains a calculated reference based on all previous changes. This makes them very robust against manipulation, because if earlier directory entries are changed, the calculation of the link is no longer correct. In addition, transactions and information can be documented in a comprehensible way for the participants in the process. The technology has gained notoriety through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
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In contrast to classic databases, there is not just a single central register-keeping actor, but all participants can jointly manage a blockchain register. Trust is thus replaced by direct verifiability. Properties like these are required, for example, for supply chain reviews. For example, a blockchain where all participants would collectively document the supply chain transaction could reduce the cost and time required for tracking.
Blockchain on the construction site: Digital entry instead of delivery note
As part of their “Annual Analysis” study, the pollsters from BauInfoConsult asked various construction stakeholders about the opportunities and potential of blockchain applications in their industry. The technology could, for example, noticeably minimize the “paper slip madness” that still exists on German construction sites: The blockchain creates the possibility of simply storing the information within the construction supply chains with their specific material flows and making it available to the relevant actors. In the case of a delivery, instead of the signature on the note, a new entry about the transaction – a new block – ends up in the common blockchain register.
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Half see no need for blockchain in the construction process
Nevertheless, many manufacturers from the construction and installation industry are still reluctant to use blockchain technologies – at least as far as their own supply chains are concerned. A total of half of the producers surveyed (49%) see no need for increased use of blockchain technology within the supply chains to the customer. A fifth, however, can get used to the idea of using blockchain technology within their own supply chains to the customer in the future. According to the survey, some manufacturers of construction and installation materials in particular are open to the new technology. But the construction industry is not alone in its skepticism. Even in comparatively digital-savvy industrial sectors such as mechanical engineering, the blockchain is still rarely used.
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