Even as a child, Rupert understood that the world was bigger than his home town – he spent parts of his childhood living abroad, first in Italy and later in Germany. He took his BSc in physics and astrophysics at Sussex University, with a 6 month period in Uppsala, Sweden. Then he met a young Norwegian student, and for the last 17 years he has lived in Norway with his wife and two children.
He started working with computer aided design (CAD) and other digital tools in the late 1990s, first in oil and gas and later in the pharmaceutical industry. Quickly he became fascinated by the latent potential of moving information from enormous quantities of paper distributed across organizations, to the digital world, enabling us to share and coordinate information efficiently across large groups of people.
"In most industries, getting the right information to the right people at the right time is an important success factor. If your organization can do this, it is part of the competitive edge. I believe that BIM is key to achieving this in the construction industry."
BIM pioneer in Norway
He brought this interest with him when starting at Skanska in 2008 and joined Skanska Norway's first BIM support group.
"Back then, an inspiring vision pervaded Skanska's Nordic operations – of substantially increasing the use of BIM and working together across the Nordic region," says Rupert.
The first years had a steep learning curve comprising both setbacks and successes. In 2010, he was tasked with leading the group. Currently, the Norwegian BIM team comprises 10 people supporting all of Skanska Norway.
From local to global
Even during his first years at Skanska, Rupert was able to build an international network at the company, first a Nordic network and then internationally when he joined the BIM Council and the BIM Global Expert Group. He has now moved on from leading the Norwegian BIM group to leading the Global Expert Group.
"When I decided to join Skanska, the international perspective was not the key factor but, now, it is definitely one of the elements that make me really appreciate my job."
Knowledge-sharing in the international network has repeatedly provided him with crucial and tangible professional help. And today, it is often the Norwegian BIM team that helps other Skanska colleagues around the world.
In parts of Skanska's operations – and in some geographies – Skanska is at the forefront regarding BIM, but substantial scope for improvement still remains. Perhaps the greatest potential of all exists in extremely complex projects and he rounds off by saying:
"It's a real inspiration when a previously skeptic colleague says, 'After exploring this BIM model for three hours I understand more about the true complexity of this project than I normally would after three weeks poring over drawings and specifications.'"
The future is so bright you will need 3D shades!
One of Rupert's main global tasks this year is to arrange the BIM Summit - a global Skanska conference for BIM experts from all markets in Latin America, USA, Northern Europe and Scandinavia. This year's Summit, titled "the Business of BIM" focuses on integrating BIM into Skanska's business, including what customers want from BIM. The summit will inaugurate the advanced visualization center/cinema at the new head office in Stockholm. With 3D glasses on, the audience will be able to walk through realistic buildings and constructions long before the first excavations are made.