A socio-technical framework to guide implementation and value realisation of distributed ledger technologies (dlt) in the construction sector

Li, Jennifer J. (2023) A socio-technical framework to guide implementation and value realisation of distributed ledger technologies (dlt) in the construction sector. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Construction is highly resistant to change. Its many challenges have persisted for decades rooted in a lack of trust, reluctance to collaborate and share information. New technologies offer increased transparency, efficiency, and collaboration. Building Information Modelling (BIM), while being the most successful to advance construction to date, has not done enough to combat the challenges. The aim of this research was to investigate the potential of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and smart contracts (SCs) to provide solutions for the sector. Through empirical investigations (systematic literature review, interviews, focus groups, survey), a framework to guide implementation and value realisation of DLT and SCs in the construction sector was proposed. A socio-technical approach was taken resulting in a framework encompassing four dimensions of technology, process, policy and society. This approach recognises DLT and SCs are not a panacea in and of themselves and should be used in conjunction with advancements across the four dimensions to de-risk any potential failure of these systems. The framework is made up of several conceptual constructs for use at meso and macro scales to support evaluation of the as-is to achieve a desired state and offers progressive roadmaps to reach the point of implementation.

The findings demonstrate the requirement for DLT and SCs to integrate with other systems (e.g., BIM, IoT, AI) to add value. Furthermore, technology alone is insufficient to solve the sector’s problems also requiring reform of outdated practices (e.g., procurement, payments, contract management). Contributions to knowledge include: the first known socio-technical framework for systematic and progressive implementation of DLT and SCs in construction. This places equal importance on society and technology for the implementation of these new technological systems and will facilitate their success to unlock benefits for the sector amid the myriad challenges it faces; through this socio-technical approach, the framework encourages active involvement of stakeholders placing importance on the realisation that engaging with users of the system is central to its success; the position of an organisation (or group) looking to develop DLT- or SC-based applications at the meso scale or the position of the sector with regard to how it wants to incorporate these technologies into its existing systems and processes at the macro scale can be evaluated using the framework’s progressive approach that considers every stage of developing and implementing an application; the constructs considering both meso and macro scales minimise any potential decoupling between policy and practice in terms of implementation; and the framework aims to provide a flexible set of tools to encourage the sector to create an ecosystem ready to support these applications as well as provide guidance in the development of applications.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: benefits pathways, technological roadmap, smart contracts (SCs), taxonomy of challenges, taxonomy of applications
Subjects: K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2023 13:15
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 13:30
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/51601

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