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Frontiers of Engineering Management >> 2024, Volume 11, Issue 1 doi: 10.1007/s42524-023-0275-z

Smart contract applications in the built environment: How prepared are Nigerian construction stakeholders?

Received: 2023-06-21 Accepted: 2023-12-27 Available online: 2023-12-27

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Studies have demonstrated that advanced technology, such as smart contract applications, can enhance both pre- and post-contract administration within the built environment sector. Smart contract technology, exemplifying blockchain technologies, has the potential to improve transparency, trust, and the security of data transactions within this sector. However, there is a dearth of academic literature concerning smart contract applications within the construction industries of developing countries, with a specific focus on Nigeria. Consequently, this study seeks to explore the relevance of smart contract technology and address the challenges impeding its adoption, offering strategies to mitigate the obstacles faced by smart contract applications. To investigate the stakeholders, this research conducted 14 virtual interview sessions to achieve data saturation. The interviewees encompassed project management practitioners, senior management personnel from construction companies, experts in construction dispute resolution, professionals in construction software, and representatives from government construction agencies. The data obtained from these interviews underwent thorough analysis employing a thematic approach. The study duly recognizes the significance of smart contract applications within the sector. Among the 12 identified barriers, issues such as identity theft and data leakage, communication and synchronization challenges, high computational expenses, lack of driving impetus, excessive electricity consumption, intricate implementation processes, absence of a universally applicable legal framework, and the lack of a localized legal framework were recurrent impediments affecting the adoption of smart contract applications within the sector. The study also delves into comprehensive measures to mitigate these barriers. In conclusion, this study critically evaluates the relevance of smart contract applications within the built environment, with a specific focus on promoting their usage. It may serve as a pioneering effort, especially within the context of Nigeria.

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