Meet the Insider: Alan Muse, Global Director of the Build Environment at RICS

Alan muse rics

The construction industry is grappling with several challenges today. Between labor shortages, sustainability concerns, and the need for digital transformation, it's more important than ever for AEC professionals to adapt and innovate. 

Alan Muse, Global Director of the Built Environment at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), is passionate about all of these things. Alan specializes in project and cost management schemes and has more than 40 years of experience in the construction industry. 

In his current role, he works closely with Chartered Surveyors and strives to develop better international standards and policies. Alan is also a strong believer in the importance of upskilling and education, particularly in today’s modern construction landscape. 

Leaders can look forward to learning more about these topics in Alan’s articles for our newly launched Digital Builder Insider program. He has an independent perspective on the construction sector and he hopes to spark conversations on how we as an industry can perform better. 

Keep reading to find out more about Alan and what he plans to write about as part of our Digital Builder Insider series. 

Tell me about yourself and what you specialize in? 

I specialize in the project and cost management of global construction and infrastructure projects, with over 40 years of experience in the industry. My present role is Global Director of the Built Environment at the RICS, where I develop standards for the profession and liaise with markets around the world to improve practice and educate professionals. New challenges for the industry centering around sustainability, digitalization and improving performance and predictability are of a particular interest.

How did you get into the construction industry?

When I was considering careers at school, a teacher mentioned that my interest in buildings, economics and mathematics might be well served by pursuing a career in construction economics and quantity surveying. Once I found out more, I was hooked and decided to do a degree in quantity surveying. From there, the immense variety of different projects and teams has continued to attract me.

Why are you passionate about sustainability and digital transformation in construction?

It has been said before, but I really do believe that the industry is now at a tipping point. A perfect storm of technological innovation, sustainability imperatives, and a real need to catch up with other industries in product delivery present both a huge challenge and a unique opportunity for construction. This will necessitate a change in culture in the industry, upskilling, and much better interdisciplinary working. I am passionate about working to achieve this. 

Is there a project or person in the industry that inspires you to build better or differently?

The industry has delivered some fantastic and iconic projects–such as the Sydney Opera House and the Channel tunnel. Unfortunately, they have (quite often) been synonymous with large time and cost overruns. The challenge for the industry is to build productively and efficiently even when the project is bespoke and unusual–and to close the performance gap between what is designed and how the building or asset performs in operation. We need to truly learn the lessons from previous projects and apply the new standards and technology that can improve performance. 

What can readers expect to learn about from you?

I have an independent stance. I have no axe to grind. I hope my thoughts will engender some genuine debate on the issues that are important in improving construction. 

What’s one “tool” you can’t live without and why?

Coffee. It’s warm and friendly and makes me think.

Lauren Ginsberg

Construction Content Marketing Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions