Asset Management, Building Surveying, Buildings and Places, People Spotlight

Our People Spotlight series gives you an inside look at our technical experts around the world. This week, we are highlighting a technical director in asset management from our Buildings + Places business in the United Kingdom and providing an insight into their inspiration and work. 

Michael Smith has over 35 years’ experience, including 27 years as an asset manager and building surveyor. He has led several complex asset management improvement projects resulting in a range of benefits to the organizations involved, including reduced costs, reduced risk and improved operational performance. He also has extensive experience of delivering large scale building surveying projects. 

Michael has worked in various sectors including nuclear, defense, higher education, rail, healthcare, commercial and both local and central government. He is endorsed by the Institute of Asset Management, both an assessor and trainer

Tell us about what inspired you to join the industry.

After finishing school, I served an apprenticeship as a plant mechanic. This involved fixing all types of construction plants from small pumps right up to large excavators. The next logical step for me was to move on to fixing the buildings themselves, so I went to university and gained an honours degree in building surveying. I then moved onto asset management, as clients were not just asking the question about how to fix the building, but if they needed the building in the first place. Ultimately, asset management is about adding value over the whole life cycle of an asset base and this really attracted me to the profession. 

What is your favorite AECOM project that you’ve worked on and why?

I have worked on so many interesting projects that involved working both at home and abroad.  This has included delivering large scale survey projects in far flung places such as Gibraltar, Brunei, Falklands and Ascension Islands   

However, I think my most favourite project was being the technical lead on Glasgow City Council’s first ever Corporate Asset Management Plan. The plan was produced in 2009 and 2010 during the period of austerity in the UK and was aimed at reducing operational costs whilst still delivering the required level of services for the people of Glasgow. 

The project involved surveying all operational property within the city, including museums, libraries, sports facilities, parks and offices. We also seconded several of our team members to the council to fill asset management roles, provide sustainability advice and to identify sources of third-party funding. 

Tell us a story of how your work positively impacted the community.

The Glasgow City Council project mentioned above saved over £70 million and identified a number of opportunities to generate capital receipts. Ultimately, the project reduced the running costs of the asset base but still allowed the council to deliver the level of service that the people of Glasgow deserve.

Share a piece of career advice .

In a world where we are told we can be anything we want, be kind. 

Originally published Feb 21, 2024

Author: Michael Smith