The role of the Engineer Surveyor

The Engineer Surveyor role is ‘hands-on’ job, requiring practical experience, technical ability, strong customer communication skills and the confidence to make professional judgements.

Most of the major inspection companies across the UK cover thorough examination and inspection on the following classes of plant

  • Lift Equipment
  • Crane Equipment
  • Pressure Equipment
  • Power Press/Hazardous Machinery
  • Electrical equipment/Installations
  • Local Exhaust Ventilation.

Most thorough examinations and inspection are undertaken as a requirement of legislation or code of practice.

Engineer Surveyors are usually home-based and are provided with all of the equipment needed to operate effectively within the role, such as a company car, computer, mobile telephone and personal protective equipment. Daily duties require Engineer Surveyors to travel to client sites and carry out thorough examinations within an allocated geographical area.

It can be a physically demanding role that may require working at height, lifting and climbing in both hot and cold environments. It involves exposure to noise and dust, so you need to be happy to get your hands dirty! In contrast to this, there is a requirement to work from home, compiling reports and planning your workload.

As an example the following text is a real life Engineer Surveyors experience after a 33 year career in the Royal Air Force, these are the Engineer Surveyors words.

After 33 years of aircraft engineering in the Royal Air Force I decided it was time for a change. I emerged pretty much at the top of a very successful career to wonder what job could possibly follow. My past experience opened lots of Management opportunities, but managing others had lost its appeal some time ago. Aeronautical engineering is a thriving industry in my area so going ‘back to the spanners’ was always an option. I searched for something in between where I would not be responsible for the actions of others and an engineering job that required some thought and carried some responsibility. I wanted to be able to plan my activities and be responsible for both the quality and output of the product, but it had to be engaging and interesting too.

The end of my service coincided with the completion of my HND and it was in those latter stages that I heard about the job of Engineer Surveyor, which had instant appeal. Following some brief research I found one of the major companies to be prominent in the field. I submitted my application and was successful at interview. The training and testing was comprehensive and the endurance paid off when in July 2007 I graduated as an Engineer Surveyor in the Lift and Crane discipline. The real learning begins when you are released on the streets to start your “Thorough Examinations” as a “Competent Person”. I found it refreshingly scary at first, but things are gradually taking shape and I am slightly more relaxed in the job. I am comfortable working alone, but sometimes issues pop up that I need advice about.

The network of Engineer Surveyors out there has been unswervingly supportive of me, even though I may have telephoned them at slightly inconvenient times. Topically, I had an issue with a lift in a church recently that gave me some concerns. After speaking to other Engineer Surveyors and exploring the on-line Technical Library I was still not happy so I rang head office to speak to the Standards Engineer responsible for lift, for guidance. My call was actually answered by the Principal Engineer responsible to my discipline. We discussed my concerns over a 20 minute conversation during which time he spoke to me as a peer, such is the level of support and advice that is constantly on offer. Despite 33 years of accumulated engineering know how, this job requires me to continually think about what I am doing; it exceeds my expectations.

That is the words of an actual Engineer Surveyor who is still working in the industry. To conclude the most enjoyable aspects of the job are meeting many different people within a wide diversity of industries and organisations including mines, quarries and utility services to name just a few. Another enjoyable aspect, whilst at times challenging, is being able to manage and organise your own area. The extensive range of plant examined requires the role of an Engineer Surveyor to be technically and physically demanding at times.

Vince Sharpe CEng FSOE FBES, Chair of BES Professional Sector Council