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:


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, 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.

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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”

Cross-species organ transplants set to increase

By Catherine

Written by Catherine Bolgar*
Augmented reality heart

Almost 115,000 solid organs were transplanted in 2012, which was less than 10% of global needs, according to the Global Observatory on Donation and Transplantation. In the U.S., 18 people die daily while waiting for an organ transplant.

Xenotransplantation, or transplants from other species, could provide an unlimited supply of organs and cells. Huge strides have been made in this area in the past decade, but challenges remain.

After initially focusing on primates such as baboons and chimpanzees, researchers have turned to pigs, which grow quickly to the appropriate size and which are in abundant supply. However, the human immune system reacts more strongly to pig organs than to human organs.

If you put a human organ into a human with no anti-rejection treatment, it will survive about a week,” says David K. C. Cooper, professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh’s Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. “If you put a pig organ into a human, it will last five to 10 minutes. There’s a much stronger immune response.”

Sugar molecules, called galactose oligosaccharides, on the surface of cells in the pig organ provoke human antibodies into action. So scientists have been genetically modifying pigs to knock out the genes that produce the offending sugar.

That helps, but it isn’t enough. Researchers are trying to delete other genes responsible for major antigens recognized by the human immune system and to add protective human complement-regulatory proteins. Complement proteins are part of the system that destroys cells that the body has identified as being foreign. Differences in how pigs and humans control blood coagulation also is a challenge—too much coagulation and you get thrombosis, not enough and you get bleeding. Now some pigs have been modified to express human anticoagulants. A number of pigs have different combinations of added or deleted genes.

It’s becoming much more precise the way you can genetically modify the pig,” says Peter Cowan, scientist director of the Immunology Research Centre at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne and president-elect of the International Xenotransplantation Association. “The thing with xenotransplantation that you can’t do with humans is you can keep modifying the donor. You can identify new problems and can keep adapting the pig to the human recipient. In that respect, pig donors might be as good as, if not better, than human donors in the long run.”

Heart valves from ordinary pigs have been used in humans for years, with best results in older patients whose immune systems are less robust. The valves are treated with agents that protect the pig cells, and therefore injury to the cells is slow, Dr. Cooper says.

Some of the biggest hopes are transplants of pancreatic islet cells, which produce insulin. Pig islets transplanted into nonhuman primates have successfully reversed diabetes.

Sixteen humans with Type 1 diabetes received pig islets in a clinical trial in New Zealand, eight in Argentina and eight in Russia, according to Living Cell Technologies, the Australian biotech company conducting the trials. To protect against immune response, the islets were encapsulated. The patients were able to reduce, but not completely stop, their insulin doses.

The World Health Organization estimates that 347 million people worldwide have diabetes. One day, successful transplants of pig islets could let diabetics regulate their insulin levels without the need for insulin injections.

Successful pig organ transplants are farther in the future. Two baboons at the U.S. National Institutes for Health currently have pig hearts transplanted into them. One has been beating for more than a year and the other for more than two years. “That’s a big step forward,” Dr. Cooper says. However, the baboons’ own hearts are still beating alongside. “We are now asking the question of whether, if you replace the baboon heart with a life-supporting pig heart, will you obtain the same result?”

Next in order of difficulty come kidneys, livers and lungs, all of which present coagulation challenges in addition to rejection.

One of the big concerns in using animal donors is the transfer of diseases to humans. The genome of any pig individual is unique, so each pig has a different set of porcine endogenous retroviruses, or PERVs. These PERVs aren’t transmitted by infection, like other viruses, but instead within cells, from mother to child. “This is the inherent risk that pig cells realize,” says Ralf R. Tönjes, head of the “non-vital tissue preparations, xenogenic cell therapeutics” section at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute in Langen, Germany. “We have the tools and diagnostic techniques to screen the pigs for the presence or absence of infectious PERVs.”

In addition, “all the exogenous germs have to be excluded from any donor pig used for xenotransplantation,” Dr. Tönjes says. “This is the law. Any bacteria, viruses and fungi we know that could be harmful for the recipient have to be excluded by the proper screening program realized by the preclinical breeding facility. We’re talking about bacteria like staphylococcus and viruses like herpes. It’s a real, real effort.”

Pigs offer advantages in terms of germs. “You’re actually less likely to get a virus going from pig to human than from chimpanzee to human because of the distance between the species,” Dr. Cowan says.

The donor pigs can be raised in controlled, clean facilities, and constantly screened for pathogens. With human donors, “in many cases you don’t know what the donor has. There are some viruses that if you just recently got infected won’t show up in tests before an organ is transplanted,” he says. Except for cases where someone is donating a kidney or part of his liver, human donors are dead, and doctors can’t ask about medical conditions.

Working on multiple fronts—genetic modifications to donor pigs, new immunosuppressants and anti-inflammatory drugs—researchers hope to get to a point where transplants from pigs survive as long as transplants from humans.

If we resolve the remaining problems, the impact of xenotransplantation would be immense,” Dr. Cooper says. “Xenotransplantation could offer cures for millions of people world-wide with conditions like diabetes, Parkinson’s or corneal blindness, as well as organ failure.”

*For more from Catherine, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join The Future Realities discussion.

How to Foster Open Innovation: The 5 Things You Need to Know

By Estelle


Open Innovation by Dassault Systèmes

It was a little more than a decade ago that Berkeley professor Henry Chesbrough started developing the concept of Open Innovation at the Center for Open Innovation, where he was also a director.  Back then, Chesbrough’s idea of Open Innovation relates to pooling platforms or tools to help foster innovation and share ideas.  And because businesses experience more collaboration today, Open Innovation is much more relevant in the current business climate.

It is no secret that business environments have become increasingly complex.  You do not only have to work with scarce resources and tight budgets, but you also need to keep up with changes in technology – with new ones emerging every day.  You also have to foster sharing of knowledge and intelligence while also facilitating collaboration when you are co-innovating or co-creating.  And collaboration and co-creation are no longer limited to employees, but now includes other parties such as customers, SMEs, suppliers, associations, startups and other entities in the business ecosystem.


How do you promote Open Innovation in your organization?


  1. Bring together your internal and external projects. You can use just one platform that will enable you to get ideas from outside your organization while also letting outsiders test out the ideas of your employees.  Not only will you be able to share ideas and intelligence easily, but you also get to test ideas more quickly, as well as get new ideas from everyone.


  1. Use both offline and online methods when you are co-creating. Efficiently getting new concepts for your products will need the use of both offline and online methods.  For example, you can get employees, experts, customers, developers and/or designers to help you design your product. As such, you would need to ensure that your offline and online campaigns complement one another.


  1. Run better and less risky contests. Run contests to help you generate ideas as well as getting around challenges.  Moreover, contests are also a good opportunity to develop Open Innovation for your company.  To lessen the amount of work, the risks as well as to make it more successful, it is best to work with a non-competing company or a group of companies.  You would be able to spread the work while also establishing a collaborative mindset, while also learning to protect your intellectual property and remaining agile.


  1. Manage your ideas effectively. It is very important to manage your ideas every step of the way.  When you allow everyone to contribute ideas, it will be very easy for some people to monopolize the entire process.  Early on, you should be able to pinpoint the key people who are qualified to contribute ideas at different stages of the project.


  1. Collaborate with others from different industries with different specializations. The thing with Open Innovation is that it naturally lends itself to disruptive innovations.  To be more competitive in today’s business environments, your innovations should not only come from or pertain to your core business.  You should be able to manage complex collaborations with people and companies from different industries.  For example, Smart City needs to bring together different players that belong to different industries, such as architecture, transportation, telecommunications and other urban infrastructure companies.

These are the 5 most important ways to foster Open Innovation in your organization. Follow these key tasks and your enterprise will be on its way to simpler business processes.


Visit  Ideation & Concept Design for High Tech Web Page   or download the article about Open Innovation in the new edition of Compass Mag.

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