What is Building Lifecycle Management (BLM)?

By Marty R

Building Lifecycle Management (BLM) is the practice of designing, constructing, and operating a facility with a single set of interoperable data.

BLM puts into practice a BIM Level 3 approach that enables a highly efficient Extended Collaboration process based on Manufacturing industry best practices.

BLM is operationalized via a robust Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)* system, which creates an efficient environment for coordinating complex AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) data.

[*The traditional Product Lifecycle Management term commonly becomes Project Lifecycle Management when applied to AEC.]

Adding BIM data to a PLM system creates a BLM system:

BIM + PLM = BLM

Benefits of BLM

BLM enables BIM Level 3 and can increase construction predictability, long-term value for project owners, and profitability for AEC project contributors.

The core benefits of employing BLM are improved productivity, sustainability, and quality, and reduced waste, risk, and cost.

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These advantages are achieved through BLM’s ability to eliminate rework, reduce RFIs (Requests For Information), centralize data, contextualize information, and more accurately predict outcomes.

Improve Productivity

Centrally managed data helps remove version control issues, chances for human error, and even the need to manage files.

With all users accessing a single live database via web services, rework (e.g., redundant drawings) and iterations can be drastically reduced.

As users proactively resolve issues in real-time using a BLM system, inefficient RFIs, submittals, and change orders can be reduced or eliminated.

Increase Quality and Value from Suppliers

Designers can make better decisions within a richer data context and maintain greater control over the quality of the finished product with BLM.

Collaborating in a BLM environment can help construction firms and building systems manufacturers develop a greater understanding of project requirements. With reliable data, builders and suppliers can improve coordination, execute more quickly, and accurately realize the design intent.

BLM also offers built-in governance and traceability, improving accountability across the disciplines.

Reduce Waste, Risk, and Cost

Regular cost overruns of 15 to 30 percent and standard risk margins of 20 percent or more illustrate the expected waste caused by traditional construction processes. By contrast, repetitive manufacturing processes typically yield only 2 to 3 percent waste.

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BLM is designed to reduce waste by more accurately predicting outcomes, identifying potential points of conflict, and optimizing processes.

By the same methods, BLM also reduces risk to the project schedule, worker safety, and overall construction budget.

Gain a Competitive Advantage

The potential opportunity for AEC firms to gain a competitive advantage is to embrace BIM Level 3 early, before the market calls for further mandates.

Getting ahead of the curve with a BLM system enables a team to become more efficient than competitors, deliver higher quality, gain the loyalties of owners and design partners, and retain a healthier profit margin.

Example: Manufactured Systems

Manufactured systems such as curtain walls and façades are often the most complicated and costly elements of a construction project.

The façade often accounts for 15 percent of a construction budget. Façade models traditionally do not include data on the fabrication process, but manufacturing time can be reduced significantly — by up to 50 percent — if the fabrication process is defined in the design stage.

Close collaboration between the designer and the façade manufacturer is enabled with transactable BIM data and a BLM system.

When designers work with building product manufacturers to ensure the design intent is realized and improve supply chain efficiency, the entire project benefits.

Example: Identifying Conflicts Between Fabrication Models

During the Design Review process, modeled fabrication detail of a structure designed in CATIA® is imported and integrated with a pipe model created in a different system.

BIM data from a range of systems are reconciled within the BLM environment, where issues are identified and tagged for follow-up.

AlignmentFabrication models of multiple building systems in a single environment.

Case Study: Swire Properties One Island East Success Story

One_Island_East_201302-Image-Source-Wikimedia-Commons-courtesy-of-WiNG

One Island East, Hong Kong | Wikimedia Commons image courtesy of WiNG

Swire Properties Ltd. applied BIM Level 3 processes and technologies for its One Island East tower in Hong Kong.

The 70-story, 1.75 million square foot project was delivered on time and with zero cost overruns. 3D clash detection became a primary vehicle for enhancing the coordination process.

Over 2,000 issues were identified and resolved prior to tender, but the One Island East project team issued just 140 RFIs, a 93% reduction from traditional 2D drafting processes.

This project won the 2008 AIA Technology and Practice Award.

BIM Level 3 Project Outcomes

  • 70 stories
  • 1.75 million sq ft
  • On schedule: 24 months
  • On budget: $450 million
  • Greater than 2,000 clash issues proactively addressed
  • 140 RFIs: Greater than 90% reduction vs. similar projects

Manufacturing Industries Have Blazed the Trail

Manufacturing companies and their technology partners have been refining PLM for decades, and investing heavily in advanced systems.

Case in point, the first plane ever built without a physical prototype, the Boeing 777, was mocked up using a Dassault Systèmes application in 1994.

With today’s BIM data standards, proven PLM practices and technologies are now readily available for AEC to leverage — in the form of BLM.

Digital Mock-Up Process at Airbus

 

AirBus, model section

Airbus and its partners collaborate around a virtual model of an airplane. The model provides a Single Version of the Truth for 3D information and all data related to the designed airplane and its usage throughout its lifecycle.

YouTube Preview Image

 

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Cover: END-TO-END COLLABORATION ENABLED BY BIM LEVEL 3 An Industry Approach Based on Best Practices from ManufacturingExcerpted from End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3 (Dassault Systèmes, 2014).

Related Resources

Download the Dassault Systèmes whitepaper, “End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices”

Adapting Manufacturing Industry Best Practices to Improve AEC Outcomes

By Marty R

The following is an excerpt from End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices.

Download the full paper here.


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Extended Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3

An Extended Collaboration model synchronizes productive interactions between designers, suppliers, and builders.

Extended Collaboration proactively addresses errors and omissions, reduces rework, enables predictive process simulations to reduce risk, resolves issues in real-time to drastically reduce RFIs (Request For Information), and improves quality and safety.

Extended Collaboration improves project outcomes.

Innovative projects delivered by industry-leading design and construction teams have shown that collaboratively planning a building’s structural, façade, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), electric, and interior systems can provide significant productivity gains over siloed processes, which depend on RFIs to reconcile issues.

A full-spectrum collaborative workflow ties all parties together (owners, designers, contractors, suppliers), such that each discipline can provide relevant data in the context of other disciplines’ data.

Extended Collaboration in design, construction, and operations is made possible by BIM (Building Information Modelling) Level 3, where liberated data is transactable among authorized project contributors during each design, construction, and operations phase.

BIM Level 3 creates an environment where Extended Collaboration is possible.

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Extended Collaboration Model for Design, Construction, and Operations

BIM Level 3 Benefits Are Realized throughout the Building Lifecycle

Extended-Collab-venn-diagram

High performance teams apply efficient processes proven in Manufacturing
industries, leveraging integrated data to support the entire building lifecycle.

The following processes make up the Extended Collaboration model, based on proven Manufacturing industry best practices:

Digital Mock-Up

More than: 3D Models, BIM Models
Contributors: Owner, Design Team

The Digital Mock-Up (DMU) process takes a data-rich, model-based approach and produces a representation of all systems within a building. A DMU sets the stage for a clear manufacturing context in which the team can make better design decisions based on the overall project.

Design Review

More than: Shop Drawing Review
Contributors: Design Team, Supply Team

In a Design Review, parties use the DMU to compare detailed, coordinated BIM data on a single platform. For example, a BIM model from the architect, a BIM model from the structural fabricator, a piping model from the systems designer, and so on, are checked to ensure they fit together. This is an integrated system review that is more than a shop drawing review.

The most complicated systems—those that tend to cause errors—are coordinated using Design Review at the beginning of an Extended Collaboration process and continuously resolved throughout. This approach reduces the number of issues that must be formally clarified by RFIs and submittals during project delivery.

Design Review is an iterative process and establishes a Single Source of Truth as the baseline for comparing and managing changes across multidisciplinary teams.

Process Simulation

More than: 4D Animations, Top-down Schedules
Contributors: Supply Team, Construction Team

Construction is a process. Much of what happens in construction happens around the building itself, for example, logistics, equipment, crew optimization, truck queuing, etc. Process Simulation enables project teams to make knowledgeable construction means and methods decisions, and helps produce an optimized work breakdown for construction.

Such bottom-up simulations can reveal even minor integration errors, illustrate which processes are the most cost- and time-effective, demonstrate how prefabrication will affect a project, and generate highly accurate sequence data.

Project Management

More than: Scheduling, Project Coordination, Document Management
Contributors: Construction Team, Operations Team

In the Project Management phase, the DMU containing the source BIM data is tied to resources, tasks, issues, and documentation needed to complete the project. More than just scheduling and site coordination, Project Management synchronizes BIM data with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to accurately monitor the project status versus the detailed plan, issue invoices based on milestones, track labor costs, and manage purchased materials.

The current, as-built data model used to deliver the facility is shared with the Operations team.

Facility Management

More than: Operations Manuals, Equipment Lists, As-Built Drawings
Contributors: Operations Team

Facility managers and owners benefit from having a virtual building for streamlining maintenance and operations. BIM data is synchronized with facility management systems to create a living data set with a history.

The integration helps ensure that equipment is maintained and operated for maximum energy efficiency and optimal performance, to reduce time spent searching for key facility information, and to simulate scenarios for facility reuse and alterations (moves, adds, and changes). Compounding, long-term benefits of BLM (Building Lifecycle Management)-enabled processes are often reaped in the Facility Management stage.

Summary

When BIM data is unlocked from a proprietary system, it becomes available for use in the five Extended Collaboration processes: Digital Mock-Up, Design Review, Process Simulation, Project Management, and Facility Management.

A BLM system (using BIM data within a PLM system) manages information and formalizes Extended Collaboration with built-in governance, traceability, electronic approvals, and version control, holding all parties accountable.

The key to solving the Construction industry’s productivity crisis is BLM.

 

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Related Resources

END-TO-END-COLLABORATION-ENABLED-BY-BIM-LEVEL-3
End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices

Contact Dassault Systèmes for a consultation: Our experts can help you design the most effective BIM Level 3 deployment strategy for your organization

How Traditional AEC Processes and BIM Level 2 Reinforce Silos

By Marty R

The following is an excerpt from End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices.

Download the full paper here.


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Siloed Collaboration with BIM Level 2

Construction project contributors can be categorized into teams:

  • Design Team: Architects, engineers, and special consultants
  • Supply Team: Building product manufacturers, fabricators, and suppliers
  • Construction Team: General contractors, sub-contractors, and trades
  • Operations Team: Owners, operators, and facility managers

Feedback loops, task management, design coordination, and other limited collaborative elements certainly exist within each team; however, the ambiguity, rework, and RFIs that persist between teams are symptomatic of broken collaboration across the extended project delivery team.

Research by the U.K. Construction Industry Council indicates the benefits sought by owners—reduced costs, increased value, increased sustainability—are not achievable by BIM Level 2 only.

The inherent handoffs and rework processes prevent integration among the teams and lock value within silos:

Traditional Design, Construction, and Operations Process

BIM Level 2 Benefits Are Locked in Silos

Traditional-Design-Construction-and-Operations-Process-BIM-Level-2-Benefits-Are-Locked-in-Silos

Collaboration on documentation and deliverables exists within each silo, but a lack of collaboration between teams causes errors, rework, RFIs, and inefficiencies.

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Siloed Collaboration: Weaknesses of a Broken Process

In a BIM Level 2 framework, construction projects suffer from a lack of data integration, disconnected documents, and insufficient data for process simulation—three root causes of unforeseen project delivery issues.

No Data Integration

Siloed collaborative approaches require data to be exported and files to be exchanged. Exchanging files is an inadequate solution, creating massive version control problems as multiple parties provide key data at various points in the process.

Because there is not a Single Source of Truth mechanism, contributors are missing meaningful, contextualized data that would help them make better decisions. Architects make decisions based on design intent, but are missing construction and manufacturing data that could impact the end result. Contractors receive incomplete, ambiguous design information that causes RFIs and change orders.

No Document Continuity

The design team creates permit drawings. The systems manufacturers and fabricators then redesign the drawings for their own purposes. The construction team, in turn, creates sequence documents based on top-down estimates, and spends significant resources processing RFIs, submittals, and change orders.

Permit Drawings ≠ Shop Drawings ≠ Sequence Drawings

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The differences between the drawings required at various stages in the process create vast productivity challenges.

Ultimately, the project delivery process resolves most document inconsistencies, but by then the changes are costly and disruptive.

No Process Simulation

An animated 3D model (also known as a 4D model) is an insufficient imitation of how a project is built. Process-based means and methods cannot be represented accurately without adequate process information and integrated design data.

Most of the considerable waste that occurs during a construction project happens within the project delivery phase, when steep material and labor costs are incurred. Without a bottom- up simulation process to predict points of conflict and sub-optimal work sequences, a project team is making an educated guess at how the building will come together.

The inherent limitations of the siloed collaboration model that persists with BIM Level 2 are preventing the industry from moving forward.

Barriers to Effective Collaboration

Change is difficult, and a number of obstacles have stood in the way of the industry evolving its practice of collaboration.

Definitions

Each team has traditionally defined “collaboration” differently, focusing on its individual need:

  • The Design Team tends to think of collaboration as working on a single BIM model.
  • The Supply Team tends to think of collaboration as a review of shop drawings or other supplier-produced documents.
  • The Construction Team tends to think of collaboration as using a structured project management system.

Legal Implications

Contractual relationships and interactions between parties can create indemnity insurance issues. Insurance objections and legal concerns are occasionally raised when parties are unfamiliar with modern collaboration technologies. Reliable governance and traceable workflows create accountability and mitigate legal risks.

Point Solutions

Standard industry tools facilitate coordination within each team, but unfortunately, not effectively across teams. End-to-end collaboration is made impractical with a patchwork of proprietary systems, causing version control problems and opportunities for human error.

Point solution providers position BIM Level 2 tools as collaborative, despite the evidence that they offer limited collaboration support for project contributors outside their application suite.

These challenges—varying definitions of collaboration, presumed legal implications, and insufficient point solutions—contribute to the difficulty of inter-team cooperation, reinforce silos, and cause massive inefficiencies.

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To continue to the next section, ADAPTING MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY BEST PRACTICES FOR DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION: Extended Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3, download the full whitepaper: “End-to-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Industry Approach Based on Best Practices from Manufacturing.”


Cover: END-TO-END COLLABORATION ENABLED BY BIM LEVEL 3 An Industry Approach Based on Best Practices from Manufacturing

Related Resources

End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices

Contact Dassault Systèmes for a consultation: Our experts can help you design the most effective BIM Level 3 deployment strategy for your organization



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