Consultancy, Eastern Europe
Based in Belgrade, Miroslav travels around south-east Europe overseeing Mace's construction projects across the region. From managing the challenges of different planning laws to negotiating client's varied expectations, Miroslav uses his extensive experience to ensure consistently high standards across multiple projects at any one time.
- How did your career lead you to Mace?
- I graduated in civil and structural engineering from Belgrade, Serbia, mainly doing design and structural technical work, rather than project management. My first professional experience involved designing bridges, residential developments and offices. In 2003 I set up one of the first project management companies in Serbia, but when Mace appeared in the south-east European market I jumped at the chance to join them.
- How has your career progressed since joining Mace?
- My first role was as a cost manager on a hotel in Stara Planina, Serbia. Afterwards I was appointed as project manager for three major projects. Then I became the region's director of construction, currently overseeing 20 Mace sites.
- What do you find most challenging about your role?
Working in construction in different countries is very tough as the projects are subject to different planning and procurement regulations. You need to work with different government authorities and require different permits depending on where the site is.
When starting a project in some parts of south-east Europe, clients have different expectations from clients in countries where there is a more established market. You’ll get a large Japanese company that wants to build its first factory in the region. Its expectation is that you can build it at a very low cost in some parts of south-east Europe. We have to manage these expectations and explain the reality of applying for permits and different procurement systems.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace?
- A company in Hong Kong that makes electric motors wanted a 20,000 square metre factory in Serbia completed in less than a year. We did the planning, permits, procurement, construction and testing in eight months, ahead of time – it was the fastest factory build in Serbia. Just the permits alone can sometimes take a year. The client chose it as a benchmark project and all its developments across the world now need to meet the same quality and timings. We also won two further phases of work from the same client.
- What do you see as the big trend for your specialism in the next five years?
- The whole construction industry is very traditional and has been building in the same way using the same materials for 50 years. Increasingly, new tools will give us the ability to run projects more efficiently and faster. On some projects there can now be 20 consultants in 20 different countries. The designer might be from the UK, the project manager in Serbia and the design manager in Holland. We can already share information, connect all the designers through one server and collaborate remotely in real time to develop drawings. I see this happening more and more in the years to come.
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
- When I have spare time I really enjoy rock music. I look out for when my favourite local and international bands are playing concerts. I saw Nine Inch Nails play in Vienna. It was 900km drive from Belgrade, but I had to go!
“When Mace appeared in the south-east European market I jumped at the chance to join them. ”