Finland meets Holland at FIMBLE

FIMBLE took a step towards internationality last December, when I joined the team as the first non-Dutch-speaking employee. I also happen to be the first woman working at the office, so I did not only force the men here to speak a bit of English, but I also prevented the place from transforming into a man cave.

My name is Hanna Raatesalmi, and I am one of the BIM modellers at FIMBLE. Initially, I came from Helsinki to Amsterdam in the spring of 2017 for only one semester of exchange studies. At the time, I was studying my third year to become Construction Architect in Finland. I heard many jokes about why I would go to study in Amsterdam, but I was actually drawn here due to the high level of both architecture and my beloved sport kickboxing. As I fell in love with the Netherlands, I came back for more studies and stayed here working after my graduation.

My last fight in Heerhugowaard in 2019, photo by David Meulenbeld

Atmosphere for innovation and new developments

Big reason behind why I stayed in the Netherlands after my studies, is that the atmosphere here feels somewhat more receptive for innovation and new developments in how things can be done. Finland is also a country that is known for high use of technology, and we certainly share the aim to do things as efficiently as possible. However, it feels that the Dutch have a bit more open-mindedness, and probably the dense population and lack of space simply forces to think more creatively. For instance, the idea of Circular Building – applying principles of circular economy in construction and real estate, was very unfamiliar in Finland, when I came to write my Final Thesis on this topic in 2018. Also, the use of BIM model is not quite as common in Finland yet, and to my knowledge there is no company that would be dedicated simply to that.

Since my studies, I felt I want to be part of the progress and unavoidable changes in the building industry. The use of Building Information Model throughout a building’s life cycle, is part of the progress that is taking place. From new building projects to renovation and maintenance, BIM-models are having a more and more important role, when it comes to tackling challenges related to energy and material use, while increasing cost and work efficiency. FIMBLE being a house of experts in the topic, I am firmly taking a part of this BIM-revolution.

Point cloud projects

A 3D-model can be built based on drawings/design of the building, or even more accurately on a point cloud that is created by laser scanning an existing building. During my first months at the office I have worked with both kind of projects, point cloud projects being the more challenging yet more rewarding ones. Laser scan and a photo viewer, together with a well-built BIM-model serve as highly accurate basis for instance in renovation projects – I have worked with projects that have a very low tolerance less than 20mm. How useful this kind of model would have been while I was working as Foreman Trainee at a renovation site in Helsinki? No need for the architect to come visit the site to check how the radiator covers are and if they can be re-used, or no delay due to a column that was on the way of a planned new ventilation duct.

Other than creating a 3D-model, managing the data of the building components and the building itself is part of BIM modeller’s work at FIMBLE. Depending on the client’s wishes and needs, different type of data is inserted in the model, or an existing model is upgraded. As an example, thermal resistance values or fire rating can be specified for each wall in the model. I am only starting to understand how and which kind of information can actually be stored up in a BIM-model and I have some way to catch up, since FIMBLE is also constantly progressing and learning more as the field develops.

As I continue learning about Building Information Modelling and taking up new challenges here at FIMBLE, I am also working on my Dutch language. I am already starting to understand a lot of what is said, and my colleagues know they must pay attention to their jokes. However, for now I only understand the most simple ones (you know who you are). One day the circle will close and I will not be the non-Dutch-speaker of the office, hopefully also not the only woman. If you are interested in joining the team here in Amsterdam or just curious to know more about what we do, I would like to encourage you to reach out by phone or email: +31 20 261 6432, info@fimble.nl. You can also take a look at our Instagram account FIMBLE.amsterdam.