Today, apartment building flaws are not unusual, but the NSW government has been working on new solutions that include AI and blockchain to combat this.
Speaking at the 2021 digital.NSW event, Office of the NSW Building Commissioner digital director Yin Man explained how the state government collaborated with KPMG, Microsoft, Western Sydney University, and Mirvac to establish a trustworthy index for its building assurance solution.
The solution, built on ASX’s blockchain technology, is intended to trace a building’s provenance – from the materials used, the plans for the structure, and the people involved in its construction – allowing industry participants to compare and assess trustworthiness of multiple buildings.
“You, as a consumer, can now see one building differentiated from another and that helps the insurance companies and the financiers as well, because at the moment, they do not want to be in the market because all the buildings look the same to them, everybody has an occupation certificate, but why are some buildings still defective as we find in our audits, and some are not,” Man said.
The trustworthy index will be tested for the next six months in a brand new Mirvac building, along with over 200 buildings where combustible cladding is being replaced, according to Man.
“This will allow us to actually combine three things. It combines the certification process, but we’ve got an assurance framework that sits behind this, which looks at who has provided that evidence, what evidence, and against what standard,” she said.
“It is almost like a 3D model itself … we’ve mapped out all the critical elements that make up a building, and now we’ve got a network of nodes that if you take one node — or actually look at the weakness of one node — you can actually see the ripple effects on the rest of the building. You can actually see the fault lines now of a potential building, and we collect this information as the building is being built.
“It will also at the end allow you, if there are issues with material in the past, to actually just click a button say, ‘Where does this material sit in all the buildings within New South Wales?’”
The Australian government has also positioned the state as a center for AI research and development, with an aim to turn Australia into a global leader in this field. In addition, the NSW government has implemented an AI-based “digital worker” to scan and extract information to assist verify those who are working on construction sites.
“We’ve got a new licensing New South Wales register [and] we wanted to make sure that the people working is actually registered and validated at the point of the time they’re actually nominated to actually work on the project,” Man said.
“So, we’re actually getting in front now of some of the issues that we’re finding with dodgy players working on dodgy sites … we’re actually now finding out at the beginning of the design stages, and that’s feeding into licensing and the whole process of potentially suspending practitioners.”
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