Big data, and the technology driving it, are promising huge leaps forward for the real estate industry. These technologies will drive new levels of transparency and efficiencies to the purchase/sale of property and land. Furthermore, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are changing the way assets and buildings are instrumented and serviced. From carbon waste (collection) to air quality (maintenance) to occupation (permitted usage), the use of sensors and smart appliances form the sources of data for computable contract technology. It is anticipated that this emerging technology could support the feasibility and reliability of many of the legal underpinnings of both construction and management of real estate.

The purpose of the Accord Project Real Estate Working Group is to produce specifications, open source models and code, research, and guidelines and other deliverables to support the adoption, operation, and growth of smart legal contracts in real estate and related industries. Key to this goal is to digitise, automate and standardise the processes that govern these transactions, and work with our members on developing a coherent adoption strategy.

The key benefits of smart legal contracts include real-time incorporation of data into business systems and relationships, automating a wider range of activities and processes to lower costs, risk, inefficiencies, improving transparency, and safeguarding assets. This will involve integrating and working with regulatory bodies and other participants to determine key data, best practice and impact on registration and purchase/sale of land and property by individuals and companies.

The Real Estate Working Group will seek to develop and establish a compliant and secure framework, and build upon existing practices with new use cases, studies, and specifications applicable to the implementation of smart legal contracts. For construction, the development and integration of primary and secondary agreements, with a consistent upstream-downstream of contract terms between participants. We will also work with central authorities in development of these specifications in a manner that complies with applicable practices and legal duties.

The Real Estate Working Group is chaired by Philip Freedman CBE, QC (Hon). Philip is a Partner and Chairman at Mishcon de Reya LLP, an industry expert on all aspects of property development and leasehold work and a senior member of numerous key UK property bodies.