The entire façade of a multi-storey building in Melbourne has been tracked through the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain.

In its latest announcement, Australian construction firm Probuild said it has deployed a system which tracks the entire façade and automates key processes and payments through blockchain at its Melbourne West Side Place Tower 2 project (pictured above) on Melbourne’s Spencer Street.

The system – which was developed by Probuild in conjunction with IoT startup Ynomia and uses CSIRO’s Bluetooth Low Energy Aware Tracking technology, is being used to track more than 7,000 curtain wall panels as part of the construction.

Under the system, each panel is automatically tracked through eight ‘milestone’ stages without the need for people to physically scan each material and asset at each stage.

Image supplied

The technology has also enabled the trial of a contracts and payments system administered on a private blockchain hyper ledger run by US technology company BRIQ, which aims to complete partial payments at critical milestones of the supply chain.

This means suppliers are instantly paid for their completion of the work at each stage rather than needing to wait for up to sixty days.

Probuild Managing Director Luke Stambolis said the technology has reduced the level of supervision which was required across supply chain management, contract administration, site supervision, QA, safety, project management and executive management.

“Previously, supply chains for high value materials, especially those manufactured internationally, were characterised by long lead-times, lack of flexibility and frequent communication and data discrepancies between stakeholders – issues which are significant contributors to project delays,” Stambolis said.

“Traditionally, high value materials were manually tracked via large, complicated spreadsheet systems where the manufacturer was the single source of truth, reducing supply chain transparency and accountability. These traditional workflows also hindered the capture of accurate, reliable historical data, for project performance monitoring and future bid planning.

“With this technology, we’ve reduced the manual supervision on the facade, which has resulted in our supervisors being able to have a greater focus on quality and ensuring the work is completed to our high-quality standards.

“There is now virtually zero lost time to the facade supply, even through COVID-19, because the technology is completely transparent and live, and shows where there may be challenges in the supply chain. Every stakeholder knows what is expected to ensure the facade panels arrive to our construction site on time and there is greater forewarning to make adjustments to ensure the supply continues as planned. When COVID hit us, our dependence on this tracking technology was invaluable to have traceability and reliance on our supply without having to fly overseas.”

(Probuild facade tracking technology by level)

For the West Side Place project, Probuild has also extended the technology to include a digital twin of the tower that shows the status of each panel in the manufacture, delivery and installation process in real time.

The graphical, colour-coded representation is accessible by stakeholders via a secure website.

Stambolis says Probuild is now using bot the application of the BLEAT Technology and the digital twin on other projects within its portfolio.

(Probuild facade tracking) (image supplied)