BIM Brunch: David Southam

Credit: David Southam/FARO
Credit: David Southam/FARO

BIM Brunch is the perfect accompaniment to your dinner break. Featuring some major players from the #GlobalBIMCrew, BIM Brunch is an interview feature where industry specialists talk about their passion for Building Information Modelling.

Today’s interviewee is David Southam, Europe North Regional Manager at FARO UK. The self-professed BIM advocate talked to BIMcrunch about his favourite buildings, memories of his first-ever BIM project and the variety within his role that makes his job the best.

What is your favourite career related website/blog?

I’m a big fan of Fred’s work at The B1M and he’s a great guy to work with.

Do you have a favourite industry book, magazine or publication?

I have many but ‘Good to Great‘ by Jim Collins has some really good ideas. It’s not really BIM related but gives a real insight in how to grow your business in a practical way with the right people in the right positions.

The top industry event you have recently been to is?

BIM Show Live in Manchester was a good one. I really enjoyed meeting up and having a few drinks in the evenings! Also GEO Business in London had a real buzz about it; there was a real positive vibe with the attendees and we had a good amount of interest in our new handheld scanning solution.

Favourite Twitter handles to follow?

@CaseyRutland, @oatfedgoat, @becdecicco, @pambhandal and @maltbysurveys.

What is your all-time favourite building?

I’m old school so I will go for something local, Great Whitley Church. The scan data can be seen at

What is your favourite project you have worked on?

Alexandra Palace assisting Maltby Surveys with handheld remote capture technology to help document listed heritage features to be included in their BIM.

Alexandra Palace scan. Credit: FARO
Alexandra Palace scan. Credit: FARO

What is the best thing about the team at Faro UK?

We have a really close team, we work hard and play hard, we have created a great atmosphere and everyone wants to help each other it’s a great place to work and it’s something new every day.

What was the first BIM related project you have been a part of and what did you learn from the experience?

Grosvenor Gardens House, Victoria. BIM for existing buildings can be very challenging – the key to a successful BIM is spending time developing a realistic BIM execution plan which must initially encompass a carefully detailed measured survey specification. In this way, surveyors/architects/engineers and other interested consultants are all clear about the boundaries to using design-based parametric software to document existing structures. A huge lesson for me was the closer we can design within the accurate geometry of the point cloud, the more chance we have of realising those designs on the ground.

Grosvenor Gardens House SCAN. Credit: FARO
Grosvenor Gardens House SCAN. Credit: FARO

The most exciting possibilities Building Information Modelling can offer are?

For me it’s a natural progression of technology and software. Information and easy access to information is the key to saving money, rework and time. Everyone and every business should be evolving everyday otherwise you are going backwards and back to the swamp.

Who or what made you want to work within the Architecture, Engineering and Construction sector?

I started life as an engineer measuring parts and components for the aerospace and automotive industry. I joined FARO in 2005 and that’s when I stated to work with 3D laser scanners for architecture. What’s interesting is that the Automotive and Aerospace industry went through a similar “BIM type” change in the 90’s; collaboration and interoperability were top of the agenda you could have a wing constructed in Bristol and sent to France to go on a plane. It’s crucial that everyone is working on the same information and standards. We can learn a lot from these industries on how to implement and control change in a positive way.

What is your proudest career highlight?

I have recently been promoted to Europe North Regional manager which at 34 is a real highlight for me.

What is the best part about your job?

Variety – I can be on a crime scene one day, underground the next, on a movie set… the list goes on! It is never boring and the fact is that technology is always changing so I am constantly learning. I also love the sense of community that has been created as there are many people that I have met through work that are now really good friends!

For more information on David, you can tweet him @FAROFocus3DUK.

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