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Meet Sakari Lehtinen: Simplebim’s co-founder 

06.10.2022

Simplebim’s co-founder and marketing manager, Sakari Lehtinen, recently sat down with Construction Tech Podcast’s host, Laura Jane Olsen, to discuss how Simplebim came to be, the problems Simplebim solves, and traits he looks for in his colleagues and partners. 

Here’s an overview of what they discussed: 

Tell us about Simplebim? 

Sakari Lehtinen: Simplebim is a software product that transforms BIM data – making it unified, consistent, and enriched so that it’s fit for purpose.  

Formed in 2009 with co-founder Jiri Hietanen, we created our BIM software Simplebim after spotting a gap in the market. 

Jiri and I collaborated for several years, including developing the IFC for Building Smart, working for a software company, which developed quantity take-off and cost estimate software, as well as authoring BIM requirements and guidelines, before we discovered that BIM data didn’t work as well as it could.  

We realised that there were technical/software tools missing, which nobody wanted to build, so we decided to create it ourselves and so Simplebim was born.  

After a few years, whilst slowly developing the software, we found some brilliant customers including a big construction in Scandinavia, NCC.  

They have a very progressive BIM team and the close cooperation we had with them, as well as with some other construction companies, lead to the product we have today.  

Read our NCC case study for more details. 

What problem does Simplebim solve? 

SL: Our customers typically come to us struggling with, or even frustrated by, BIM data, because they don’t know how to get the value out of it.  

BIM data is created in multiple different places, comes from different sources, and from different design disciplines, using different applications.  

In order to use all that BIM data together, and get insights from it, the BIM data needs to be unified and made consistent. To make it scalable, it needs to be done in an automated and centralised way.   

Who is using Simplebim? 

SL: Lots of companies around the world are now using Simplebim. For example, in the UK, Bylor Joint Venture is using our technology in the Hinkley Point C build. 

Its digital team has taken models from the designers and transformed them automatically using Simplebim.  

The Bylor team have connected that transformative BIM data to other data sources for more accurate forecasting, budgeting, and resource planning.  

See our Bylor JV case study for more details. 

However, you don’t have to be a big company like Bylor to use Simplebim. You can be a single user, for example, a quantity surveyor, site surveyor or even an energy analyst.   

In fact, anyone wanting to transform BIM data and automate it can use Simplebim. Take a look at how Simplebim can be used by Site Surveyors as an example.

Simplebim is a Finnish tech company, yet can anyone use its solution? 

SL: We are proud to be a Finnish company. However, our solution is being used in 40 countries around the globe including in Australia, Baltic countries, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, USA, and as mentioned above in the UK. 

We partner with local resellers to sell, deploy and train companies how to use our technology. 

Are you looking for new partners? 

SL: We are always looking for new partners to join our distribution network. Forward-thinking forerunners, who want to make a difference in how BIM is used.

We look for partners who have expertise in applying BIM, OpenBIM and IFC in construction projects, design or consulting and/or those who provide OpenBIM consulting and/or training services. 

We can see a growing interest in software solutions like Simplebim and can offer our partners an innovative software product to sell and a growing service business opportunity too.

Plus, we provide partner management and product support – enabling partners to tap into our vast expertise in applying BIM, OpenBIM and IFC in construction projects, design or consulting.

The benefits of partnering with us include:

How big is Simplebim?  

SL: We currently have five thousand users, in 40 countries and 10+ Simplebim partners across the globe, as well as our team of five working full-time for us, but we’re growing. We also have external collaborators and development partners, and as mentioned above, a distribution network of partners. 

What is the culture like in your in your company? 

SL: We are a small group of innovative experts in our field. We are passionate about trying to create a new category within the construction industry.

One of our founding principles is “this needs to be fun”, or else we won’t do it. We don’t mean fun as in “ha, ha”, we mean the work we do has to be interesting and cutting edge. 

So, our culture is one of constant learning and failing of course! 

What do you look for in team members or partners? 

SL: We’re at the forefront of our industry and collectively we’re working towards transforming one of the biggest industries in the world.  

We’ve managed to solve complex issues between us, which nobody else has managed to do. So, we are in a very unique place.   

The people we’re looking to work and partner with are those who are excited by that opportunity and want to spearhead change. 

It doesn’t matter if they’ve had years and years of experience or are just out of university. We want people who can demonstrate their passion and expertise. 

They’ve got to be forward-thinking pioneers who aren’t afraid of pushing boundaries within the construction industry. 

For the full interview watch or listen to the podcast.

*** 

Want to join a pioneering team? Or want to become a Simplebim partner?

We’d love to hear from you.

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