‘I am learning a lot at BAM’

Eline Fernández Alonso

A whole new sea lock? Just a year ago, senior site engineer Eline Fernández Alonso wasn’t sure if she was ready for a project this size. But her managers at BAM Contractors were able to convince her to join the Sassevaart consortium in Terneuzen. There is no doubt that the project is one of unusual magnitude, but with the support of her manager, Hendrik Nijland, Eline has taken to the project like a duck to water.

One of the reasons the project suits her is the pivotal role of safety, quality and digitalisation. ‘These are key topics of interest for me, and this project gives me every opportunity to delve deep into them.’

Eline (29) joined BAM six years ago, after obtaining her master’s degree in industrial engineering at Ghent University in Belgium. ‘I immediately felt right at home in this company. My first project was Total Optara in Antwerp. I learned a lot here, including how not to do certain things.’ Her best memory of this project is of the excellent team spirit.

A perfect learning opportunity

After a second industrial project and a short stint in procurement came the Terneuzen sea lock, Eline’s current project. ‘With no prior experience in marine works, it was hard work to find my bearings at first, but I’m fine now. The team I’m in is involved with the quay walls and maritime constructions. The sea lock itself is in the hands of another team.’

‘A large consortium like this one, that brings together BAM Infra, BAM Contractors, DEME and Van Laere, is a company onto itself. On a smaller project the team would act more independently and organise its own processes, but in the consortium we are part of a bigger whole. For me, this is a perfect learning opportunity. Not just in terms of the processes, but also because of the wide variety in construction technology.’

‘We have our own responsibility for quality control on this project. On our inspections we use BIM 360 Field, an app that is linked directly to our 3D model. As a key user of the app I’m now helping other teams within BAM Contractors with the implementation. What you see, is that some people are reluctant to start using this tool. I can help the teams set up the app. Ultimately, the main thing is to help the people on site who will be performing the inspections. That, for me, is most important.’

A good mix

‘I am happy to work for BAM, and especially on a wonderful project like this one, it’s really something to be proud of. Within my team I am the junior member, but nobody takes me any less seriously for it, and neither for the fact that I am a woman. The team is a cultural mix of Dutch and Belgian colleagues. The Dutch are known for being more direct, and I can honestly say I like them for it.’