Previously Director of Digital Design & BIM at White Architects, Nina Borgström is today Digitalization Strategist at Tyréns. One of the more prominent names in the construction industry, Nina believes in realizing values using technology with a transformation approach in all aspects and most importantly the human which is essential to create sustainable growth. With many years in the business, she comes with a broad perspective on the digitalization discussion, and we in the Bimfire team were happy we got to exchange a few words.
Why did you first get into BIM and digital design?
First of all, it was a good looking salesman who charmed me into it. It was right at the beginning of my career and I was simply trying to find my way. I fitted their profile, and the charming salesman convinced me. This was in the 90s, before BIM was a thing, but CAD and digitalization was up and coming and I was young and naive.
A few years in, digital design truly became current and even pressing. The train was leaving the station even if we were ready or not, and I felt it was important to help people join the ride.
Early on I came to an important insight, that should prove to be the red thread in my professional career; namely that technical advancement has no great value on its own, value comes from how we adopt to it. Again and again I experienced that business values and human aspects don´t contradict each other, which is sometimes believed. Rather, keeping a human focus helps drive business forward.
Lastly, but crucial to my choices was the fact that the way this small bubble of an industry, CAD/BIM for the construction industry suited me, it allowed me to work as I wanted and at the same time have a big family.
What do you think will happen when fire safety design becomes BIM integrated?
First and foremost, all disciplines need to contribute into the same digital information model in order to create an unbroken chain of information in the process. As long as we allow imports and exports of different file formats, we drive costs and amount of errors. However, we have several challenges where I believe the two crucial ones are the current work processes being based on analogue work methods and the present business models that doesn´t create incentives for optimization.
Every discipline should be responsible for their own information. Changing work processes comes with consequences and fire safety designers will have to understand that the way they have worked before is not always going to work in the future. They will have to take ownership of their part they play in the design process and contribute with their information in a way that adds value to the end result, the client and other stakeholders.
What do you see as the single most important benefit with BIM and digital design?
The life cycle perspective, with especially human safety and sustainability in focus. To achieve this, it is vital that we change our work processes and business models. To really reach the full benefits of digitalization our approach, contracts and work methods dramatically need to change.
I´d like to add; the fire safety discipline will need to look at their own business models and work processes, like many consultants in the construction sector. What happens when large part of their work is automated, when technologies like generative design and AI are implemented? Which specific skills and competences will they contribute with, and how should their business models look like? What skillsets are needed in the future in a fire safety organization? These kinds of questions are what the fire safety discipline need to face. Not until this is figured out will we be able to reach the full potential of digital design and BIM.
Do you want to know more about BIM and digital design? We would love to hear from you