Building model
Digital sealing of building models

Innovation in the construction planning phase – how to prevent building models from being subsequently modified

Digital transformation is also gaining momentum in the construction industry. At Renggli AG, innovation in buildings is a top priority right from the planning stage. Swisscom Blockchain’s Electronic Seal is now being used to subsequently verify that already approved models have not been modified.
Nicole Sigrist
Nicole Sigrist, Head Customer Success & Projects
03 February 2022

Renggli AG is a Swiss family business that is fully committed to innovative and sustainable construction with wood. Innovation is not only the key focus during construction, but also right from the planning stage. This involves creating 3D models that are now electronically sealed to verify that models approved by the client or architect have not been subsequently modified. In the following interview, Jeremias Burch from Renggli explains to Swisscom Blockchain exactly how this works and the benefits.

What exactly does Renggli do?

Renggli AG develops and realises sustainable construction projects using state-of-the-art timber structural elements, and has been doing so for almost 100 years. With around 230 employees, we are a leading partner in the field of timber construction in Switzerland.

You've launched a blockchain-based project with Swisscom Blockchain. Tell us all about it.

Innovation is very important to Renggli, and we are currently investing heavily in the company’s digital transformation. Today, we are able to handle construction projects exclusively using digital means, up until the point at which the data is transferred to the machines and thus into the real world.

If you work with digital processes, sooner or later the question arises as to how you can guarantee that the data can’t be altered. So we were on the hunt for a solution to this and found the right partner in Swisscom. 

When planning a building, you create 3D models that are part of the contract. These now come with an electronic seal. Why?

There are already a number of technical solutions that enable digital signatures and thus ensure that documents can’t be tampered with. This means that we can now digitally sign and freeze the same contracts that used to be printed and signed on paper. 

What is new, however, is that we want to go beyond solely including documents in the contract, and start including three-dimensional data from building models, for instance. This requires solutions that can seal and freeze all kinds of data formats and volumes, and this is where Swisscom Blockchain comes in. 

How does this process work?

We have a digital twin of the building we want to realise. This twin contains the geometrics and all the information required for the building’s construction. The file containing this model is then sealed using the Electronic Seal, a solution provided by Swisscom Blockchain, and made available to all contractual partners for digital signing. As soon as everyone has added their digital signature, the digital contract can be archived individually with each of the contractual partners.

If you need to prove that the model in question is included in the contract, this can be verified through the Electronic Seal. 

What are the benefits for the customer?

A building’s digital twin is superior in quality and precision to conventional 2D plans and service descriptions, which makes it much easier to understand the service being provided. This reduces the risk of misunderstandings and thus the risk of any disagreement regarding the services included. 

«The digital twin of a building reduces the risk of misunderstandings.»

Construction is becoming more transparent and open, which is entirely in the interest of all parties involved, including us. We set high standards in our work and therefore have nothing to hide.

Are you planning to expand the service?

We operate in a rather conservative environment in the construction industry. We therefore won’t press ahead with technical developments in the digital space over the next one to two years, but will instead focus on further establishing already developed solutions in our projects. The focus is on training our employees to implement the new processes and tools in their day-to-day work, which is something we also support our external partners with. 

Renggli

Renggli

Renggli AG develops and realises industrially manufactured, high-quality and eco-friendly buildings using structural elements and modular construction in Swiss quality. The aim is always to achieve the highest possible level of living comfort with the lowest possible energy consumption. Environmentally-friendly timber construction enables architecturally challenging construction projects – from single-family homes to multi-storey residential or commercial buildings – to be of high quality and cost-efficient at all times.

We are building for a future worth living.

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About Jeremias Burch

Jeremias Burch is responsible for the process and project management of timber construction projects at Renggli AG. An interdisciplinary team comprising employees from across the entire process chain identifies digital needs and potential in the projects and optimises them for practical use.

As a trained carpenter and industrial engineer, he appreciates both the visions of the future of digital construction and the tangible realisation of timber buildings.