A blockchain-based construction monitoring system developed by The University of Hong Kong

As per the press release, the technology, dubbed E-Inspection 2.0, aids in managing construction quality inspection papers by ensuring that construction site images and back-and-forth approved inspection files are all “accountable, traceable, and immutable.”

How does the system work?

“The core of the e-inspection 2.0 system is the blockchain technology which can ensure the accountability, immutability, and traceability of all the inspection information collected from the APP, IoTs, and GIS,” said Professor Wilson Lu from the Department of Real Estate and Construction who led the study.

Professor Lu said that “This e-inspection 2.0 system is the world’s first. It has set new standards and will serve as a prototype for the industry,”

The article announced more details of the system: 

“A team from the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has developed a novel e-inspection 2.0 system with an in-house developed mobile application (APP) “e-inStar,” which is used to monitor the manufacturing and cross-border delivery of student residence modules constructed in the Mainland during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As per HKU, the blockchain-based method is also used to trace the movement of structure modules and assess whether they have been harmed by humidity or other external variables by recording heat, moisture, vibration, and position data received by sensors.

The system uses blockchain, IoT, GIS, and other technologies to monitor building works. 

“The new system has adopted cutting-edge digital technologies, including blockchain, building information modeling (BIM), internet of things (IoT), and geographical information system (GIS), and is demonstrated to be an effective and reliable tool for real-time offshore monitoring and inspection of building works.”

According to the press release, the technology was used on the university’s new dormitory project, the Wong Chuk Hang student housing, which used the modular integrated construction (MiC) technique. It consists of two towers of 17 floors each. This is built over three-storied podiums. 

Approximately 1,000 building blocks were built in a factory in mainland China’s Guangdong Province and transferred to a construction site in Hong Kong for stacking up to a whole building using the process.

Why was the technology developed?

During the Covid-19 outbreak, quality inspectors were unable to enter the factory in Guangdong due to a border closure and other measures, necessitating blockchain technology for remote quality inspection.

The study’s conclusions were published in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Journal of Management in Engineering, an academic journal (ASCE).

 

An increasing number of Blockchain use-cases

Ever since the debut of blockchain technology, it has found use cases in various industries. It is being used as a mode of payment for International payments since it provides a tamperproof way to log sensitive activities. It can be effectively used in Capital markets to ensure faster clearing and settlements and provide operational improvements. 

Regulatory audit and compliance is another area where blockchain can work wonders by providing an automated tamperproof system where the least human intervention would be preferred. Audits need that the data is not tampered with, and hence blockchain is the perfect solution for auditors. 

The insurance sector is another good sector where blockchain can provide a transparent and secure way to manage claims. 

Blockchain thus has applications for governments, businesses, finance, and many other industries. 

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