Category Archives: Facilities Management

M+E Asset Surveyors with experience.

Experienced and competent M+E Asset Surveyors can be difficult to find. I myself have been in the business for a decade and prior to surveying the maintenance and FM industry for over 20 years.

The biggest problem in the industry is the assumption anyone can do it. The reality is its often too late when people realise that its certainly not that simple. But often you will find budgets have been wasted on incompetent surveyors as well as poor planning which can often result in the survey being done again by competent M+E asset surveyors.

A good M+E Asset Surveyor will have the following :-

  • Experience and knowledge of M+E equipment as well as the maintenance regimes involved.
  • The ability to identify all plant and equipment and if not immediate, having the ability to source the information and identify equipment in an organised manner.
  • Organised and capable of working on their own with good communication skills to deal with onsite staff and clients.
  • Ability to read drawings and create sketches if necessary.
  • Intermediate level Excel knowledge.
  • Ability to adapt to problems that can develop due to remote working (e.g. Asset gathering Apps for a tablet failing they automatically fall back to pen and paper or a laptop for data gathering).
  • Understanding the scope of work required and confirming and resolving anything that may become an issue (E.g. if a client is requesting that all light switches are added to the asset list confirming why they are needed. But also explaining that the switches may not be needed as a costing can be made on the lighting itself or based on the power distribution).
  • Being able to follow tasks, methods, procedures, specifications and terminology required for the survey.

Many people in the FM and maintenance industries have no interest in working as an M+E surveyor due to working away from home, excessive amounts of paperwork, lone working to name but a few reasons. Which is why the skill set required is broad but also people actually willing to do it is fairly limited.

However if you are currently seeking experienced M+E surveyors I recommend getting in touch. Myself as well as the surveyors I am associated with are all experienced and have worked with and for many of the larger Facilities Management and construction companies.

M+E Asset surveying globally we are also interested in. Myself I have experience of working and living in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. With many of the surveyors I work alongside having similar experience.

Interim management on difficult contracts.

Matt WilkieIt may be many years ago that I started dealing with difficult contracts, often brought in at the last minute to cover for contract mobilisations, changes in structure or a contract that is failing.

But still today I find that I get the biggest buzz from putting contracts on the right path. Although working Interim in Facilities Management or managing Social Housing is often seen as a short-term role. The affects and solutions we implement are long-lasting and create the foundations for contracts to run on. Bringing our knowledge and experience into a role that can be demanding, at the same time its because its demanding that it excites us.

Knowing at the end of the contract that a job well done is recognised and our next contract is based on ability and merit we earned on previous contracts completed.

Many of the problems on contracts are better with fresh eyes as sometimes issues have become too engrained and accepted. A problem may exist that has always been there but nobody has looked to resolve it, because its always been there. Fresh eyes come with an Interim manager who will look to resolve as many issues as possible. Fresh eyes come from mobilisation managers and Facilities Managers who are there primarily to get things moving in the right direction.

In social housing many of the contracts I have worked on have been due to inefficient working, backlogs of work generated and people leaving because of stress. Yet as an interim manager you can enter the contract fresh and aggressively look to get the contract back on track. I remember one housing association where I had completed 56 hours a week for a 2 week period. It had been raised as a concern due to a 37  1/2 hour work week policy. Yet at the same time I was praised for it being the first time there had been zero complaints from tenants. A good interim manager will adapt to his surroundings and in this case 15 key members of staff had been allocated leave at the same time. Something that shouldn’t have happened but was also something I had no control over. Which left me managing all locations and all properties for the 2 week period.

This could have been seen as an impossible task, but instead I took it in my stride by seeing the positive. It was a time allocation where I could re-organise the workloads into sizeable chunks that dealt with multiple issues at the same time.  Finding job allocations had been raised multiple times, collating properties to specific surveyors instead of 3 surveyors visiting on different dates for different repairs. Ultimately bringing outstanding work down significantly and getting everyone on the same page when they returned. As its very common to hear people are busy, but what isn’t so common is finding what everyone is actually doing as many tasks are being repeated.

As an interim manager I turned the contract back into profitability giving excess of £12,000 per month  from a loss of £500,000 on the previous year. Having the vision to create change comes with fresh eyes but also as a good interim manager seeks out new techniques, experience and training picked up due to the diversity of the role. Each contract is slightly different but also meeting new people on a regular basis keeps an interim manager alive and with new found knowledge.

Currently seeking FM Management role.

Matt Wilkie - Interim FM ManagerWith over 22 years in Engineering and maintenance I am currently seeking a new challenging role. Although currently employed full-time my current role doesn’t have the flexibility I require for my weekly commute.

I have recently moved my family from the Philippines to Spain to allow me to be with them more often. With Murcia and Alicante Airport not only having regular flights to the UK but also to multiple UK destinations, I was hoping the flexibility within my current contract would have been flexible enough to offer vision of upcoming work to pre-program and pre-book flights. As currently we work nationwide but often contracts are for months at a time. Right now though I haven’t got this visibility and as such has given me the opportunity to seek out employment elsewhere.

Ideally I am seeking a role that can be regional or nationwide. But does require me to be back to an international airport on Fridays for the commute to Spain. Although I am flexible in my working and as such normally accumulate over 50+ hours in a normal week not including travel. Traveling to Scotland last year would add another 12 hours to that 50 hour total.

If your looking for an experienced FM Manager who has worked on and operated at a national level, as well as managing asset survey teams internationally. With a strong engineering background and hard services then please get in touch.

For a full breakdown on my work history please visit my LinkedIn profile via the link below.


View Matt Wilkie's profile on LinkedIn

What information can you get from an asset list?

An asset list isn’t just about a list of equipment or properties, the asset list itself offers up a lot more use depending how you use the data. I for one have seen it getting used in many ways but also I do believe there is a misunderstanding within the FM industry of the value of asset data.

Bidding on contract –

With an up to date asset list you can actually use it to bid on contracts. But also if you have the maintenance regime that went with it you can also identify where you can generate cost savings and where the contract has risk. You can identify risk in several key areas, risk of loss of life, financial risk to FM company and financial risk to client.

But further more having historic data you can get an idea of hours, number of engineers, problematic equipment and if an initial asset sample is taken identification of assets missing which should be identified and removed from bid cost.

Staff Numbers –

If you know what assets you have you can identify the maintenance regimes required and thus generate the hours needed. The output from that being an accurate estimate of staffing levels to meet contract obligations. If there is historical asset data relating to helpdesk calls you can generate an estimated out of hours figure from the old data but also what assets are generally the problem on the contract and if they are actually on the asset list.

Monthly targets –

For maintenance with all asset captured you can generate your maintenance regime and break it down into monthly maintenance patterns. Using the data you can generate targets for the month from the 1st allowing your maintenance staff to carry out pre-programmed tasks and timescales. This also identifies if there are certain periods with excessive maintenance and as such adjustments can be made to allow balancing of maintenance throughout the year to make sure all targets are met.

Statutory and Mandatory obligations –

As the maintenance is carried out with specific maintenance regimes inline with SFG20 this allows for updating of changes inline with requirements. E.g. Fan Coil Units may have a legislative maintenance regime change or requirements. But having the Asset data and maintenance regime running through a CAFM system (Computer Aided Facilities Management) if you update one you can update all with the changes. If this is managed externally the company providing the CAFM support would update all contracts that it handles (if written into contract).

Downsizing or increasing maintenance –

Environments can change maintenance regimes significantly. E.g. working in the desert means condensers need extra maintenance due to fine sand getting into bearings. But at the same time if you have an occassional use office you may find most assets in that office could be downgraded to bare minimum. Identifying your assets individually allows you to adjust the maintenance per item. But also with the condensers in the desert you could group the assets by parent and child to carry out more maintenance.

Running reports –

There are many processes that can become fully automated once time is invested in understanding what you can get out of the asset data. For example you could run a monthly report on compliance, energy usage, equipment coming to end of life, upgrades, environmental and energy impact as well as recommended changes due to phasing out obsolete with new technologies.

Forward programming of budgets –

Understanding assets allows for forward programming of changes, upgrades, phasing out and new equipment. Not only for this year but the ability to program for the next 20 years even. Also the replacement savings tied with it for possible increased budget ability. E.g. showing lighting upgrades in year one would have an increased energy saving. The money saved by the upgrade could assist in supporting upgrading more lighting throughout a building or contract. In the same way adding things like power invertors, although there is an initial cost its the ability to show a saving over months, a year and years that supports requesting the upgrading. But also gaining the upgrade work adds value to the contract and increased opportunity both financially and with client relationships.

This list may seem fairly extensive but the fact is there are many more things you can do with asset data. The FM industry needs to embrace more what can be achieved but also working with asset integrity specialists you can also aim to ask questions that have not yet been asked or actioned within your contracts. As the more asset management comes into its own the more you will find it can assist in your daily tasks to improve your efficiencies. As well as automate many tasks that are currently time consuming.

Is maintenance a false economy?

I remember years ago being at a furniture making factory that when I explained maintenance I was told it was a false economy and it was cheaper to replace equipment. A simple shrug of my shoulders and I left it at that.

Wasn’t a case of me not wanting to argue my point but simply there was no point arguing with people who’s minds were already made up. But I remember that summer when the owner of the factory was away and a spindle moulder broke. His assistant (can’t call him a deputy manager as he was more of a sales clerk) requested we fix it. At which point I explained it was a pointless exercise as several parts had shattered due to no maintenance being carried out. Basic maintenance in fact where things simply needed oiled and greased to keep them in running condition. As the assistant lacked the authority to buy a new machine or order the parts needed to replace the damaged ones the factory swiftly ground to a halt for 2 weeks. He also didn’t want to call the owner to disturb him on his holiday so here we were watching the production line stack to the ceiling in front of the spindle moulder. As every piece of furniture needed this part and every item couldn’t leave the factory until the spindle moulder had completed its tasks.

Who was right or wrong in maintenance? Answer is its ok running to fail but the expectation of replacement needs to be immediate not “what do we do now?”. But also the calculation of cost should not be based on a machine but on its financial impact on the business. In this case I would estimate at around £50,000 on orders that didn’t get completed and didn’t leave the factory. This also has a longer impact as customers didn’t get furniture on time and thus its negative impact could be as much as twenty five times that of one negative customer. E.g. one unhappy customer tells twenty five other people either directly or by third hand. An uncountable amount of damage for a machine costing less than £1,000. But even more so when you consider grease,oil and a monthly check on all mechanical equipment would have identified worn parts as well as extended the life of equipment.

Was there any point arguing the point of maintenance now after the company had seen the cost of not maintaining equipment? Answer was no but simply offering to implement a maintenance regime that did the basics at least. This way they didn’t lose face and I didn’t go “I told you so”. As there is no winner in this or many of the scenario’s that occur due to poor or no maintenance. The loser is always everyone be it financial, jobs or risk to life.

The key to it all though is working together and as part of an asset integrity team its where I and others specialise. Not because we have all the answers but simply we have the answers relevant to our skills to keep things running in an efficient and safe manner that is also legally compliant. Meeting both statutory and mandatory guidelines.

Free Facilities Management Training

Free Facilities Management training

I am a strong believer in investing in education, but also I believe if you can’t get the company to invest you should invest in yourself. In this case its Facilities Management training courses which could be extremely valuable to your career path.

Is it real you may wonder well I am about to start a course that is normally valued at £1,500 which has come completely funded. This isn’t going against the grain with my current company as they have invested in other training and membership I have undertaken this year. But would say getting on courses like the BIFM ones may often be overlooked within many businesses due to the costs involved. Yet I have managed to get my course fully funded in the UK and at the same time wanted to offer the ability to do the same for those interested in Facilities Management training. All courses are industry recognised and there is a long list of courses available.

What I will say though is I am not currently listing them as I wanted to see the response from those interested in undertaking training courses. Your commitment will be home study working online. At the same time being aware that you need to complete the course within a 12 month time period. Currently looking at the BIFM level 4 I am doing I expect to be completed much sooner. Not because I am super smart but I have a break coming up shortly where I can do 20 – 40 hours a week. But some people do these courses with 2 hours a week, which you can see why I would be finishing it much quicker than most.

So you need to commit to doing the course and at the same time being a UK resident in full-time employment. It won’t cost your company a thing and if you are a company interested in training for your employees, you can actually have it labelled as a company course. As I have said already I am a strong believer in training but also if you invest in people it adds value to the employees, but also retains them for longer periods of time.

If your serious about getting on in the Facilities Management industry please drop me a private email and we can discuss your interests. But would also like to add its not all for FM managers I have spoken to several people already who are now starting courses as stepping stones on their career path to becoming FM managers or Technical FM Managers. As often people have the ability and skills but need some paperwork to back it up. Or simply looking to gain the processes and understanding to make the next leap in getting on the career ladder.

If you have any questions or want to know more please email me at

What are the top 10 things that reduce productivity in the workplace?


Working on many contracts you get to meet many people but at the same time get to see the common problems people are facing. I wanted to list the problems I believe are some of the most disruptive in the  FM industry currently within businesses.

Outsourced IT

We rely more and more on technology yet we only need a handful of skilled people to keep things ticking over. So why is it we outsource one of the most critical things within a business? I have experienced it first hand and it doesn’t matter which company or which country I am in, you dread calling IT as you know its going to be a long winded conversation where its lucky if you have a 50% chance of getting your problem fixed.

Locally IT people work within the business long-term, as such they understand the software, they understand the equipment and productivity wise they save money. I have yet to see someone in a business plan factor in how much time is wasted by the people within the business trying to get things fixed. Where someone locally would do it in a shorter period of time and with reduced frustration.

Not being listened to

A major problem can be and often is a disconnect between managers and the people they look after. It often gets worse the further the people on the ground are from the people at the top within a business. This means that problems that are occurring in the business can often be ignored, yet at the same time may be noticed by the client.

But its something easily rectified with good communication, when someone feeds you information on a problem actually look into it rather than say you will. The people with the most knowledge on the contracts we face are those people on the ground dealing with everything on a daily basis. If they feel they aren’t being listened to your ignoring one of the most important assets to any business. But also it reduces self worth of the people working within the teams.

Poor recognition

Although its something that often isn’t mentioned its something often felt. Yet it isn’t hard to say “thank you” or praise someone for doing a good job. If they have done something above and beyond what they were required to do putting them forward for a mention in the company magazine or some kind of award is always appreciated.

Excessive paperwork

It isn’t just paperwork but processes as companies become bigger they introduce more and more paperwork. But is anyone actually assessing how much time is wasted and how much value is being created? Because I know myself I may get asked to present documentation on lessons learned or improvement plans. Yet I know many of the things I have written over the years doesn’t even get read. Was it worth doing? It would be if the notes were put into action but if they aren’t or nobody even bothers to write back mentioning the documents it was literally a waste of time and resources.

We are aware that some processes need to be there for legality, health and safety and other reasons. But at the same time do we need them all? can some things be customised from a template covering 180,000 people to contract specific to remove a lot of irrelevant questions and documents? Answer is very likely yes and to the benefit of all.

Nobody asks me!

People know their jobs better than most, if they don’t we are the people that should be finding out what they need for the role. Yet does anybody ever ask the people on the ground what it is they need? Because as companies expand they start to generalise things such as equipment and training. But the people on site may not need either or may need something completely different. Although nobody asks them and yet I could give an example of a site where a single engineer visited once a week for servicing. Who eventually took the contract to 180 buildings on the same site with 12 full-time staff. What support did he need?

Answer is he did it on his own with very little help from the company he was working for. In the end he didn’t even make supervisor for the buildings he brought on board on a contract worth several million pounds a year. He got no recognition and not even a pat on the back. Do you think he would do the same again? Because he could have added multiple other sites to the portfolio but moved from being positive to “why bother”. Not because of his inaction but that of poor management and recognition. He wasn’t after a pay rise but would have liked to be the supervisor (something he was very capable of doing) on the sites he brought into the business. To this day he still works there and still not a supervisor, the contract however has not grown since. Communication is key to business growth but also cost cutting and increasing productivity.

Nobody cares

A social disconnect between shop floor and management can be extremely toxic and something I do try to stamp out where possible. Its often been historical issues when we take over a contract but its something best resolved quickly. I find that people may not even want recognition for anything as they may have worked in the same job for over a decade without anyone bothering them. But is this how a company should be working? The outer rims of a business may be the route into new business but also those people represent us on a daily basis. Injecting value and taking the time to listen to people is something that not only adds worth to people but also creates an environment people want to work within. A company they are proud to be part of and at the same time when they have a grievance you may need to take it on the chin as you are the representative above them within the company, at the same time its good management taking the rough with the smooth.

Silo working

Even I feel like banging my head off the wall sometimes as people move to stop themselves getting involved in tasks that they see as not their problem. But these same people would call you up when they need help with something that you specialise in, more importantly we are one business and as such should aim to stomp out silo working. HR doesn’t deal with Payroll, Payroll not dealing with Fleet, Fleet not dealing with out of hours etc. etc. there will always be overlap and as a good company and professionals we should look to find a solution and not look to create more problems.

Getting paid

I have never heard one person complain about not being paid enough. What I have heard is people complaining about not being paid on time. I for one am a strong believer in making sure people are paid what they are owed when it was promised. Because I know myself I don’t get paid one month I wouldn’t be there the next, so why would I expect others to? Making sure peoples pay is sorted at day one is extremely important and not left for payroll or whoever deals with it to sort it for you. As a good manager you need to keep on top of it and make sure there is no issues especially at the beginning or changeover of contract.

Lack of investment in people

Although its not something pushed forward too much by people I have met over the years there are many people who would have progressed in career with help from companies. But its not always about what people are currently doing but looking at what they want to do in the future. I know working with the Ministry of Defence that may of the people I worked alongside had a broad selection of skills and education backgrounds engineering was the obvious one, but also nuclear energy, chemistry and other courses that weren’t directly work related. But does everything have to be work related to invest in people? For example if someone was studying TESOL which is for teaching English to non English speakers. Would it mean that if time or the course was funded by a company they would be a worse engineer? Answer is no in fact they may be wanting to travel the world and be an English teacher for the next 2 years. But you would by putting a small investment in the person manage to retain them while learning and once they returned from overseas would be the first employer they would look to work with.

Told rather than asked

Something even myself can be quite fussy about, if someone asked me to work late I would probably say yes. If someone demanded I stayed late I would very likely quote my T+C’s and tell them I would see them tomorrow.

Its all about how you treat people as the more respect you give to people the more they give back. I always try to treat people as an equal and well aware its not always  possibly but as the saying goes “we can but try”. Because part of getting people to work better together is breaking down barriers between management and workers. But also being extremely approachable. Doing it this way makes everyone’s problems everyone’s allowing solutions to be found within the group or organisation.

Matt Wilkie in Downtown Doha,Qatar

What value is there in facilities management?

Facilities management adds value by adding specialist people you may not already have in your organisation.

Matt Wilkie in Downtown Doha,Qatar

A prime example of this is where a company may have multiple locations such as a supermarket chain or high street business. You may have a handy man on location most of the time or full-time. But legislation constantly updates, keeping logs and maintenance visit schedules as well as making sure all contractors are up to standard can quickly become a full-time job in itself.

Facilities management offers tried and tested methods due to access to national and international contractors they are already working with on other contracts. Also the management and training is dealt with as well as able to deliver tailor made packages for your business. For example health and safety guidelines and training methods and procedures are laid down by law in the UK but implementing them can often be time consuming. E.g. method statements for tasks such as changing a light bulb. Everything from the person being a “competent” electrical person down to the environmental disposal of the bulb itself has to be taken care of. Facilities management companies have been dealing with these things for some time already. Its why Facilities management is often done by large and small organisations as it simply removes the headaches of the facilities themselves leaving the business to get on with what it needs to be doing.

The value comes in the fact that the facilities are managed well which reduces replacement and maintenance costs as well as reduces any legal and health risks. Adding to that specialist equipment is often already within the contract meaning that if a “lift” for access to heating boilers is needed for example its made mobile so that its moved to where its needed within its maintenance schedules of the boilers.

I have been in facilities management as well as service and maintenance for most of my life and have seen it develop over the years. From the days where people were responsible for their own health and safety to today where everyone and everything seems to be responsible for someone else’s safety. Environmental issues have become part of the norm and more importantly learning to deal with them and find solutions. Back when I started I remember the solution for the wood skip was letting the local farm houses come and collect their firewood from it. Worked pretty well but wouldn’t be compliant these days. But that’s partly why facilities management has evolved into a business from initially being tasks that have simply grown over time out of things that were often just acceptable.

Not all mind as many of the other routine tasks have been absorbed into centrally organised facilities management that were once localised or left to an as and when basis. Prime example of that is refurbishment programming where it may be that an office would just get painted when it was seen to need it. But sometimes nobody ever noticed it needed doing. A rolling maintenance schedule would now see the painting done every 3 – 5 years or sooner if needed on a scheduled budget. Its costed and built into the maintenance regimes as well as other maintenance programs being adapted to suit. E.g. if there is a new central heating system being installed next month then its painting regime should be delayed until afterwards.

I do however remember working on government contracts with poor scheduling especially during the requirements for “safety glazing” which involved the installation of plastic film to make glass shatterproof at a certain height. Many of the buildings we were programmed and pre-paid to do had actually had their budgets cut and some had even been programmed for demolition. There hadn’t been any facility built into the contract to reallocate the funds or refund. But this is partly down to the way those contracts were written. Most of the facilities management contracts I have worked on in the private sector are based on “annual budgets” that can be allocated or reallocated to other facilities if needed. Internal politics often played its part with governmental work where specific people had allocated specific budgets. Rather than reallocate or pass back to central government they would rather see it spent as it stopped their budget reduction on the following years.

The value in facilities management comes with working out these issues and actually assessing if that budget needs to be spent or not. Rather than leaving it 100% up to people who’s main concern is budget reduction which should happen anyway if they actually lost some of their buildings to demolition.