Q&A with Paul Smethurst - Engineer Surveyor at HSB Engineering Insurance Ltd
What typical traits do engineer surveyors have?
I think as well as sound technical knowledge of the equipment and applicable regulations, an ability to understand what the client requires, and finding a way to communicate what’s required of them, are important.
Does the variation of your job role appeal to you and your colleagues?
It’s a bit of a cliché in our industry, but every day really is different! Also, being a multi-disciplined engineer, I inspect minor boiler and pressure plant as well as lifting equipment. That means that over the course of a year, I look at a massive variety of equipment at a wide range of locations; from coffee machine boilers in restaurants, to high-rise lifts in apartment blocks, to excavators on building sites.
When you were a student at Tameside College, did you know which route you wanted to take in your career?
Yes, I’d chatted with various engineer surveyors about the role over the years and it seemed to be an interesting and rewarding job.
Would you recommend your profession to others? If so, why?
The in-depth training I’ve had, and continue to receive, has developed and continues to develop me as an engineer. Also, working alongside highly experienced colleagues down the years has given me a wealth of experience and skills.
What (or who) pushed you to become registered with the Engineering Council?
My manager and colleagues, although I wouldn’t say ‘pushed’ - more ‘advised’.
How has registration benefited your career?
I think having professional registration makes people regard you a little differently, and I feel professional registration leaves my clients with that extra level of comfort that their plant and equipment is in the hands of a knowledgeable, competent engineering professional.
Why did you join SOE?
Mainly because most of my colleagues were registered with SOE and its engineer surveyor sector - it seemed like it was the most relevant to my profession.
What are the main challenges facing you as an engineer surveyor?
I think working in a city centre most days - it’s the traffic! Also, I inspect a lot of high-rise lifts, and the constant upgrading of components and control systems certainly keeps you on your toes. But we do have a great support network here at HSB, with fellow engineer surveyors and head office engineers on hand to help out with most challenges. Plus, it’s always a bonus if you can get the mobile number of a friendly lift service engineer. Even if it costs you a cup of coffee, it can be more than worth it!