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adesso and partners develop infrastructure for automated payment management in the construction industry

adesso is awarded the third contract in a year for a publicly funded project for digitalisation in the construction industry. Following the SWARM and BIM competence centre projects, the BIMcontracts collaborative re-search project is another adesso investment project that the federal government is financing as funding authority. It marks another important milestone on the path towards the digitalisation of the German construction industry.

As consortium leader, adesso will head up the BIMcontracts collaborative project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (duration of three years). In collaboration with business and research partners, adesso is developing a reference architecture for payment processes in the construction industry in the BIMcontracts research project: the aim is to develop and test automated and transparent contract and invoice management on the basis of digital building information modelling (BIM) and modern blockchain technology in connection with the concepts of smart contracts.

In no other industry in Germany is the time between provision of the service and payment – the “outstanding payment period” – as long as it is in the con-struction industry. Many companies often work together on a division of labour basis, which leads to a complex combination of contracts. Disruptions in individual processes often result in delays throughout the entire payment chain. This represents a high liquidity and insolvency risk in the sector for small and medium-sized service providers and companies in particular.

The BIMcontracts solution envisaged by adesso and partners aims to remedy this: it will support payment processes with an end-to-end IT infrastructure with integrated mobile applications, for example with on-site apps for final inspections.

BIMcontracts project manager at adesso, Andreas Schulz, adds: “The BIMcontracts solution aims to make the contractual processing of construction services more fail-safe, more transparent and more reliable.” In concrete terms, this means that everyone involved in a construction project – engineers, construction companies, tradespeople, subcontractors, experts, project managers, lawyers – has to register and use their ID to process and confirm all their tasks. The provision of services is confirmed directly on the construction site via mobile devices. A notification for the final inspection is then generated and the corresponding inspector also evaluates the services via a mobile app to mark the order as complete or with defects.

Andreas Schulz heads the research project BIMcontracts at adesso.

All those registered form part of the blockchain transaction chain. They represent intersection points to ensure the validity of a transaction. Each action is tracked in a smart contract that automatically logs tasks. The progress of the project is therefore continuously and transparently visible to all parties involved. Outstanding invoices can be automatically instructed to be paid in the process upon approval.

For the expert in computing in engineering, Prof. Dr Markus König, from the BIMcontracts project partner Ruhr-Universität Bochum, this research project is highly innovative from a technological point of view: “For the first time in Germany, we will combine BIM 5D models with blockchain technology and smart contracts. This means that every entrepreneur involved in the construction project has access at any time to an audit-proof building information model and the transactions generated for this purpose. BIMcontracts can therefore act as a real enabler for innovations in the construction industry.”

The planned BIMcontracts prototype will be tested as part of the project on specific application cases for its suitability for practical use. The Dortmund-based construction company Freundlieb is involved in the project as a commercial partner. The result is to be made freely available to the market in 2022 as a basic version in the form of a public “federal government BIMcontracts” solution.

Partners in the BIMcontracts project

  • adesso AG, consortium leader
  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum, chair of computing in engineering
  • University of Duisburg-Essen, paluno – The Ruhr Institute for Software Technology
  • Freundlieb Bauunternehmung GmbH & Co. KG
  • Kapellmann und Partner Rechtsanwälte mbB

Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
Funding code: 01MD19006A

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