Why did you first get into BIM and digital design?
It started way back, when I was 16 and was talking to the guidance counselor at school. I loved drawing and making designs and was wondering what I should study to be allowed to draw. I started a technical education with teachers who loved working in CAD and by then I was hooked. This was more than twenty year ago, and at that time CAD was the future. This later evolved into BIM. I was also one of the first people in Sweden who was exposed to Revit, in 2002.
An important milestone was the project The New Karolinska Solna University Hospital. It was that project which gave BIM its big boom. We started back in 2010 where we together developed all the methods and processes that we currently use in Sweden when working with BIM.
If you ask me, BIM is the only way forward. Maybe something new will show up that works even better, but right now BIM is what everyone should strive towards. It is obvious to me that we all should work in the same model, with information that doesn’t have to be passed around and be interpreted. All of us aren´t there yet and there lies our big challenge: to get everybody up to speed.
What do you think will happen when fire safety design becomes BIM integrated?
First and foremost, when we look historically, fire safety design has been completely seperated from the design process. If we´re lucky, fire information is sent in a scanned PDF, and this at great risk of being misintepreted. For me this is completely incomprehensible and not acceptable when dealing with such things as fire safety. I am sure there are faults in constructions today because we didn´t have our “ducks in a row”, because the data wasn´t in order.
There is also another aspect. Not only are the designs overloaded with information that could easily be misread, they also marked with different colours. This means that we´re loosing the people who are colourblind. So there is an accessability dimension to this as well.
Next, information has to be traceable, BIM makes it so. Traceability is difficult to achieve if we have to print new PDFs everytime a change is made. If we instead have processes and methods designing becomes programmatically governed and we have tools whish allow us to keep the data in check.
Lastly, it will be clearer who is the owner of fire safety designs. Traditionally, fire safety designers send their reports to the architects who then draws fire protection information into their drawings. Who is then accountable if something should happen? Today, the architect´s design is signed by the fire safety designer, but at the same time it is the architect who owns the design. It is both about who owns the process, or the model itself, but it is also about claiming responsibility. There is a lot to work to be done here.
What do you see as the single most important benefit with BIM and digital design?
Two things, we will do less rework. We´ will able to reuse information on a much higher level and we will make less mistakes. By coordinating data at a much earlier stage possible misunderstandings are already cleared up when we enter the constuction phase, instead of realizing it on site.
Looking into the future, BIM will open up for an industrialized building process. What if we could prefabricate the different parts and simply put it together when we go into construction. I think we will see an intertwining of our construction industry with the manufacturing industry. We actually have to act more like manufacturing industry to reach our future goals. We shouldn´t have to have specially made solutions every time we wish to build something, and I mean, all major contractors want to be more industrialized. To reach this we need to better quality data.
To have designers that are not involved in the BIM process is not sustainable. Everyone doesn’t have to work with CAD but they do need to work in our information management systems. For me, BIM is the only way forward.