Information traceability platforms for asset data lifecycle: blockchain-based technologies, smart and sustainable built environment

Roberto Brandin, Sepehr Abrishami*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose — The emergence of new digital technologies in the era of the fourth industrial revolution presents a turning point that could change the fate of the traditional ways of designing, building and managing asset data. Modern technologies such as Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) are some of the main pillars that are driving this revolutionlife. The integration of decentralised networks and automated workflows have the potential to become a pivotal factor in construction projects, especially in supply chain ecosystems within the offsite manufacturing field. Obstacles related to fragmented information, interoperability, transparency, and 'big data' management are the main drivers for change that the industry needs to address. Whilst organisations and users can automate workflows and processes by utilising IoT technology to transfer data without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction, the interaction, storage, and management of the data generated are not safe or reliable.

Design/methodology/approach — The approach outlined in this paper addresses the challenges that IoT and centralised networks present. Blockchain, a peer-to-peer distributed database, offers the possibility to support and maintain the asset information without interruptions in all the stages of the lifecycle. The synergy between these technologies, along with other techniques, methods, and platforms (such as BIM), based on a single environment, will support information traceability from the Strategic Definition to End of Life.

Findings — The framework of this study presents an excellent opportunity to apply new workflows and processes with the application of new technologies and protocols. It benefits from a well-established platform such as BIM to enable the coordination and management of digital assets as well as giving illustration and collaboration to the supply chain members. IoT and Blockchain are the other layers that work together with the third layer (BIM). This framework proposed the use of these platforms to ensure the information traceability of physical and digital assets, data automation and information management, in a dynamic supply chain ecosystem, bringing efficiency and transparency to stakeholders and users.
Practical Implications — This study provides an exploratory framework to be used by the supply chain members in offsite manufacturing, and the AEC industry in general, to track asset information throughout their entire lifecycle securely and transparently.

Originality/value — This paper contributes to the knowledge of IoT, Blockchain technology and BIM use in offsite manufacturing under the AEC industry. It provides a basis for future research by professionals, experts and academics regarding these technologies and their workflows.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-386
Number of pages23
JournalSmart and Sustainable Built Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2021


  • blockchain
  • smart contracts
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • big data
  • Offsite Manufacturing (OSM)
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • data analysis
  • Industry 4.0


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