HSB Engineer Surveyor
© Getty Images/Julian Elliott Photography

Blog: A day in the life of a HSB Engineer Surveyor - Scottish Highlands

David McWilliam

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    "I've always had a compulsion to be at a customer’s premises before they open in the morning. So if that means a three to four-hour drive across the Scottish Highlands to get there, then it’s an early start for me. It also allows me to cover all necessary engineering inspections in as timely a manner as possible. This means work days can comprise of long days at times, and shorter days with less travelling at other times; with both balancing each other out.

    As my work area can cover the more remote parts of Scotland, journeys can often require the use of ferries and flights, along with hotel stays and hiring cars; so there's often quite a bit of planning to arrange customer site visits and the logistics involved with getting to site on a specified day or time. Summertime can sometimes be challenging when arranging travel and accommodation due to the popularity of Scotland’s islands and Highlands with tourists and the ensuing traffic.

    During my almost 20 years at HSB, I've been able to work with many interesting and varied customers. From malt distilleries and the handling of spirits (before it becomes a dram in your glass), through to grass-root farmers and agricultural businesses handling grain. I also inspect ski tows in the Cairngorms and hilltop windfarms at renewable energy plants; with my inspections extending to the oil and gas industry and port authorities, to name a few others.

    The locations of the customers I service are just as varied. From John o' Groats in the far north, through to Acharcle and the Knoydart Peninsula in the far west. The Shetland Islands and remote locations like Foula or The Skerries are included, through to the Summer Isles off the west coast of Scotland: Skye, Lewis and Harris, and Uist.

    Some of the biggest challenges I face are around planning, as you need to commit to visiting certain islands and locations at specific periods during the year. From the lack of accommodation and ferry availability at times, through to there being certain parts of the Highlands where you wouldn't particularly want to be during winter!

    David McWilliam - HSB Engineer Surveyor
    © HSB Engineering Insurance Services Limited/David McWilliam
    David McWilliam - HSB Engineer Surveyor
    HSB Engineer Surveyor
    © HSB Engineering Services Insurance Limited/David McWilliam

    A highlight of my role is the curiosity that comes with learning about new and unfamiliar plant and equipment; having to learn or understand something new. Another highlight, and probably like most Engineer Surveyors out in the industry, I enjoy that feeling when I've left a customer with equipment that’s in a safe condition; making them aware of any issues I’ve discovered, if any, during the examination. The feeling that you've contributed towards the safety of the everyday working person when you do find a serious defect – that can often be rewarding on its own. 

    I also truly enjoy meeting our customers and visiting their locations, particularly because if I wasn't there for business reasons, then I probably wouldn't have been there at all; witnessing their often-stunning locations. I often make a mental note to remember to stop at times and just take in the beautiful scenery!"

    How HSB can help

    HSB Inspection Services: Our network of competent, multi-skilled Engineer Surveyors help customers throughout the UK and Ireland to maintain workplace equipment safety, optimise the efficiency of plant and equipment, and comply with applicable health and safety legislation; covering boiler/pressure, lifting, electrical/mechanical, dust and fume extraction, power press equipment, and fixed wiring installations.

    HSB Risk Management Solutions:  We can help businesses to reduce risks, costs, and deliver compliance via improved analysis of their equipment and health and safety practices. Consisting of three services, each service is further split into modules, allowing customers to build them to fit their business.