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3 Questions: Nicholas Alvén

Published: 2020-05-28

Nicholas Alvén has a background as a construction engineer and BIM -strategist, department manager and previously he worked at the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket) as an expert inon digital construction. Wanting to do more, and to be closer to the construction projects process, Nicholas started founded the tech -company Nikolai Development where he is CEO. With the help of AI -technology, Nikolai Development aims to solve small as well as big problems in the construction sector. Lastly, he runs Malmö Contech (together with Per Danielsson) and in BIM Alliance he runs the new group “Software”.

Why did you first get into digital design and digitalization processes?

From my designing background I often felt we worked with digital solutions without actually using all the possibilities. It was as if the different parts of the process didn´t fit together, there was a lot of passing information back and forth, correcting misunderstandings and doing the same work over and over again. A lot of work was spent on unnecessary tasks, which in turn led to not only more expensive projects but also a lot of stress for the people involved.

Sometimes we could find ourselves almost solely putting out fires. If we instead worked with a structured work- and information flow, I think we would find that the industry, with our traditional work methods, are making things more difficult than they should be. This is what drives my engagement.

By working digitally, we could see a lot of positive effects on time, money, and quality, especially by looking at the overall construction process, from early model to facility management.

What do you think will happen when fire safety design becomes BIM integrated?

I think by adapting a digital workflow, the fire safety discipline could help push digitalization forward. The collaborative role would help other disciplines get a greater understanding of digital processes.

Then of course, fire safety design is something that needs to be fully functional. We want this to be correct. If air flows aren´t 100% exact it is one thing, but if fire safety isn´t 100% functional it could go downhill quickly. This is what should be top of mind as we work with digital design – how could we make the design even better?

What do you see as the single most important benefit with digital design from a societal perspective?

The Swedish National Board of Housing, Building, and Planning reminds us every year that not enough residential buildings are being built. Let´s say that every construction project, every building, should take a certain amount of time and cost a specific sum to build. With all changes, mistakes and corrections, a construction project that should’ve cost one building actually costs up to one and a half, and in some specific cases even the double.

What if we could make it right from the start? Then we could actually build two buildings instead of one. Basically, we could get much closer to fixing the housing problem. Or that´s what I hope, and this is also why I´m doing what I do. We have a sector that could be taking responsibility for its own problems as well as providing affordable housing for those who need it.


We loved talking about BIM with Nicholas, and we hoped you enjoyed reading it. If you´re want to know more, please contact us!

Want to know more about Nicholas? Check out Nikolai Developments!