ACADEMICS and a new tech firm are developing a way to create a "digital trail" of how a building is built in an effort to make the construction industry safer and save millions of pounds a year spent in correcting mistakes.

Edinburgh Napier University is teaming up with Glasgow-based Hypervine Ltd following a series of industry scandals, such as the Edinburgh schools crisis, which have highlighted the need for strong audit trails for undertaken work.

Poor record keeping and monitoring were cited in Professor John Cole’s damning report into the disastrous public private partnership behind the Edinburgh scandal, when a nine-tonne Oxgangs Primary School wall collapsed shortly before children were due.

The plan is to develop blockchain solutions to the data recording problems which can jeopardise complex construction projects.

A blockchain is a growing list of records or blocks, secured using cryptography and resistant to modification; technology which can reduce the risk of problems like documents being lost or actions not followed up.

Hypervine focuses on digitising construction information to improve the reporting and recording of data, enabling companies to adapt to fast-changing economic, environmental and governmental policies.

The university’s collaboration with the company will investigate ways in which blockchain can incorporate security into complicated construction processes, create trust, build compliance and boost productivity.

Professor Bill Buchanan, director of Napier's Cyber Academy and Blockpass Identity Lab, said: “The nature of the construction industry is that there are many stakeholders involved, and making sure that each part of the process is working as it should can be difficult.

“A blockchain solution will aim to integrate digital signing into the key parts of the process.”

Paul Duddy, CEO and founder of Hypervine, said: “Digitising infrastructure, construction and facility maintenance industries through blockchain technologies will yield significant improvements across the sector that will have wide ranging positive economic and social economic impacts for both private and public sectors.”