KPMG supports blockchain ratings index for NSW building industry

16 January 2022 2 min. read

KPMG has co-launched the innovative ‘Building Trustworthy Index’, a blockchain based platform that allows stakeholders such as property buyers, banks, insurers and regulators to review the provenance and quality of materials and contractors used in the construction of buildings. Developed in partnership with the NSW government, the index is the first launch on the ASX’s new distributed ledger platform Synfini.

First announced by the NSW Building Commissioner last year in response to a recent string of high-profile apartment block defects, KPMG was selected for the Building Assurance Solution project alongside consortium partners Microsoft, the University of Western Sydney’s Centre for Smart Modern Construction (c4SMC), and property developer Mirvac, the latter which has contributed a brand new building for the six-month pilot.

The resultant Building Trustworthy Index is based on a ratings system which takes into account a range of factors, from the source and quality of the construction materials to the past history of the builders and subcontractors and the methods used in construction.

KPMG supports blockchain ratings index for NSW building industry

More than just a glorified form of certification, which has had its obvious limitations, the solution has been described as effectively creating a ‘digital fingerprint’ for buildings.

“You could have two buildings, both safe to live in and compliant, that might have completely different ratings due to the materials and the participants who did the work and the checks done,” said Laszlo Peter, KPMG’s head of blockchain services for the Asia Pacific. “The Building Trustworthy Index is a global-first platform that will create a clear distinction between compliant, resilient buildings and non-compliant problematic buildings.”

Peter, a KPMG Australia partner, also pointed out that the index would help avoid costly regulation by working as an incentive. “By helping regulators focus on the riskiest players in the building and construction industry, and enabling insurers and financiers to offer innovative products to reward the most trustworthy players, we can avoid some of the issues that have plagued the construction industry both in NSW and across Australia.”

The index will initially cover apartment buildings in NSW, but the expectation is that it will quickly expand to infrastructure and be rolled out to other Australian states. There is also much talk of the technology’s global potential. Speaking previously, Yin Man, digital director with the office of the Building Commissioner, said there had been fragments of the project incorporated elsewhere, but nowhere else in the world had they all been included at once.

“The Australian and global construction markets are worth approximately $270 billion and $12 trillion respectively,” concluded Peter. “Every building now contains material from many markets around the world. This system is designed to be a multi-jurisdictional solution to meet today’s global supply chain eco-system. Future applications could also include a carbon registry based on embodied and operational carbon accounting.”