BIM Brunch: Etienne Le Roux

Credit: Turner & Townsend
Credit: Turner & Townsend

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.

Sitting down with us this week is Etienne Le Roux, Technology – BIM & Analytics Project Manager at Turner & Townsend. He talks serving in the British Army for six years as a Royal Engineer, standing atop of the Burj Khalifa, the importance of open, structured data and more.

What is your favourite career related website/blog?

I enjoy keeping up to date by browsing social media; Twitter is especially great for finding the latest developments and news. BIMcrunch, BIM+ and The B1M are particularly good websites.

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

Infrastructure Intelligence, Building and Construction Manager magazines are some of my favourites.

The top industry event you have recently been to is?

I really enjoyed the last RICS BIM Conference. It’s great to see that most industry events are no longer focused on ‘What is BIM?’, but rather ‘how to do it’. There is still a lot of up-skilling and educating to be done, but at least we’re starting to DO and not just talk about the benefits of BIM. I still haven’t managed to get to BIM Show Live, so that’s next on my list.

Favourite Twitter handles to follow?

I couldn’t mention all my favourites, but it would have to start my team at @turnertownsend – five of them made the #BIMTwitter50! Those on Twitter are @GeorgeMokthar, @noscalerule, @ShaunF1969, @AlexLStrachan, @AlexDNesbitt, @BIMatron, @LauricePev, @itsBIMupNorth, @Athompson00, @dwilksonson88 and @kimvanrooyen. I would highly recommend following the #UKBIMCrew hashtag too.

What is your all-time favourite building?

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai remains top. I remember standing on the top viewing platform overlooking the city, mind-boggled that we’re able to build skyscrapers towering over 800m into the sky. I believe the Kingdom Tower in Jedda will be over 1km tall – surely we are starting to defy physics?!

What is your favourite project you have worked on?

Unfortunately most of our projects are highly confidential, so I couldn’t talk about my favourite ones. It is however fantastic that our clients are starting to see the importance of having open, structured digital information about their assets. They are starting to think about their information needs in 10/20/30 years time and asking suppliers to deliver what they will need to make intelligent decisions throughout the lifecycle of the project.

What is the best thing about the team at Turner & Townsend?

I’m surrounded by some of the most talented and professional people I’ve ever met and it’s an inspiration working alongside them. Turner & Townsend are focusing particularly on using technology to deliver great outcomes to our clients. This means that we’re constantly looking at ways to innovate and improve processes – not something that traditional construction companies are known for! I recommend having a look at our latest company publication to see where Turner & Townsend is heading.

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

My BIM journey started at a Main Contractor where I was working as Design Manager and company BIM Champion. It was there where I realised that the biggest barrier to BIM is behavioural change and getting people to adopt better ways of working. The technology is here, but our mind-sets have to change when implementing these new standards and protocols. Luckily the younger generation are questioning our out-dated inefficient ways and looking to disrupt our industry through technology-driven collaboration.

The most exciting possibilities Building Information Modelling can offer are?

I don’t think I can predict that. Every day I see new emerging technologies and realise that we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible. Hopefully in the near future we won’t be talking about BIM anymore and just build great information-rich assets.

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

I served six years in the British Army as a Royal Engineer, where I initially trained as a land surveyor. Following promotions I led a team of combat engineers, developing and improving infrastructure in war-torn countries. It made me realise what a great industry construction is, as we are responsible creating the places that people depend on to live.

What is your proudest career highlight?

During my last tour of Afghanistan, we built a six mile bomb-proof road between two isolated towns in the Helmand Province. Upon completion it formed the live-blood between these towns and it was extremely rewarding to see locals using the road to visit families and trade goods which was previously too dangerous.

What is the best part about your job?

The fact that I’m part of those who are making construction a more efficient, less wasteful and better industry. A very exciting time to be involved!

Follow Etienne on Twitter here. More information about Turner & Townsend can be found on Twitter or via their official website.