Stacey Desborough: Celebrating Women in Engineering

23/06/17

Name: Stacey Desborough

Job Title: Engineer Surveyor – Crane Discipline

Location: London, SE London


Becoming an engineer

I went back to studying when I was 20 years old, choosing to undertake an introductory course into Mechanical Engineering at Aberdeen College.The course included maths, mechanical science and professional engineering techniques. After finishing, I progressed onto studying HND Mechanical Engineering and on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Mechanical and Offshore Engineering at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.

I then became a Service Engineer for an independent oilfield services company, whilst being there I worked an ad-hoc role taking me to various locations both offshore and to land rigs. This included working with down hole tools that used inflatable and swellable packer technology to achieve various outcomes such as plug and abandoning a well and obtaining reservoir optimisation. It was a variable role and with it being ad-hoc, I never really knew where I was going to be from one day to the next.

My next challenge

In 2014 I got married, moved to London and started a family, so when Bureau Veritas contacted me in November 2016 for an Engineer Surveyor role, it was a great opportunity for me.

I was looking for a job here in London that would provide training due to my background and Bureau Veritas was just the place for that. I undertook their surveyor training course before going out into the field on my own, I have been here for six months now and I am definitely still developing my skill set and learning more about the different machines and variations by manufacturers.

I work within the Engineering Technical Services (ETS) Team, as an Engineer Surveyor in the Crane discipline. As a surveyor I have what we call ‘authorities’ to inspect various pieces of lifting equipment, I mainly work with Scissor and Articulated mobile elevated work platforms (MEWP). My role is very customer focused as I work within the dedicated Mobile Plant Team delivering on-hire inspections.

One of the main key responsibilities is safety; making sure the piece of equipment being inspected is safe for continual use. We do this by carrying out periodic thorough examinations, which are compliant with the current regulations and statutory requirements (LOLER & PUWER). We also work to SAFed standards and to our own technical guidance notes which are created by our technical specialists. We must also keep up to date with any changes to these regulations and ensure that Bureau Veritas engineers are prepared to carry out inspections accordingly.

I inspect safety systems, structural integrity and limit switches, which all take into consideration the load path. I also assess where it is used and how often, this usually means speaking to the operator as they are in regular operation of the kit.

Working in a high risk environment requires continuous risk assessments; I am responsible for my own safety so must constantly evaluate the risks on the various sites. The risks can be anything from burst hydraulic hoses to being stuck at height on a MEWP and needing to be lowered, which hasn't happened to me so far.


No two days are ever the same

On a day-to-day basis I work closely with my planner in order to organise the upcoming work; it is essential that we complete the work before the due date which requires flexibility, especially if any urgent work comes in.

I take note of inspections that are scheduled, paying particular attention to postcodes and due dates. This allows me to organise my time and enables me to be as efficient as possible. I receive contact details for the sites and arrange a visit, once on site I inspect the machines. Afterwards, I write up the reports and complete any documentation that the client has requested or is required and move onto the next site. It sounds straight forward but it usually isn’t.

Once inspecting the machines, I’m happy. I find what they go through interesting when being used by the different clients and what issues could arise. I see the process as a troubleshooting exercise, in which the affecting factors are always changing and try to spot any trends in defects with specific machines in certain scenarios.

I enjoy the diversity of sites that this job has taken me to, one day I could be at the platform level in an underground build and the next I could be 26 stories up in central London looking over the Thames. It really is different every day, and I get to see some fantastic views that I can say not many people get to see.

Working on sites in central London can be difficult, some sites require bag searches and finger print access, and getting in touch with site contacts is sometimes a challenge in itself. The role can be quite frustrating as there are many uncontrolled variables which can affect the job, even down to wind speed which can make it unsafe to carry out a full examination, so I would say a part of the job is accepting that some situations are out of your hands.

The support Bureau Veritas offer is second to none

Although I do not see my team often, I know that I have the backing and support of my colleagues. As I am field based, in a role that I am predominantly on my own, to know that there is someone at the end of the phone willing to help out is very important to me. There are not many companies that offer this kind of support. I also keep in touch with the Engineer Surveyors that I trained with, they are based in Scotland and Bristol so we come across different issues in our roles and it is good to share and hear their experiences.

Another benefit of working for Bureau Veritas is that progression is available if you work for it. My role has presented endless opportunities for training and development, which will enable me to gain authorities to inspect more equipment and thus progress forwards.

I have my own ideas about where I would like to be in the company and I am lucky enough that my current position is directly linked to where I wish to be in five years' time. It is important to me to keep moving forward and being in a company like Bureau Veritas where you are encouraged and supported to get to where you want to be is fantastic.

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