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Modelling the blockchain adoption barriers in the AEC industry

Yongshun Xu (School of Management, Jilin University, Changchun, China)
Heap-Yih Chong (Construction Management, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Ming Chi (School of Management, Jilin University, Changchun, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 18 October 2021

Issue publication date: 27 February 2023




In the era of digitalisation, blockchain has the potential to fundamentally change the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry's workflow, trust and procurement environments. However, few studies have investigated blockchain adoption barriers in the AEC industry in detail. Therefore, the study aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of these barriers and their interdependent relationships in the context of the AEC industry.


Based on a review of the literature, industry reports and expert feedback, 11 barriers towards adopting the blockchain were identified. Then, the authors investigated the interdependencies amongst the factors by adopting a two-stage integrated interpretive structural modelling (ISM) and decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) method.


The findings show that the lack of information technology infrastructure (BC4) and legal and regulatory uncertainty (BC11) are the most prominent barriers towards blockchain adoption in the AEC industry.

Practical implications

The research contributes in providing a clearer understanding of related barriers and potential solutions for practitioners in this area. Subsequently, the identification of adoption barriers can enable an important knowledge foundation and suggest possible solutions for adopting blockchain techniques successfully and effectively in the AEC industry.


The study lays an essential research foundation for the effective adoption and use of blockchain in the AEC industry.



The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their encouragement and guidance throughout the review process.


Xu, Y., Chong, H.-Y. and Chi, M. (2023), "Modelling the blockchain adoption barriers in the AEC industry", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 125-153.



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