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Wilkinson Coutts & Matthews Integrity Training

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WILKINSON COUTTS / MATTHEWS INTEGRITY HUB: an up-to-the-minute information mix designed to help you with your lifework and career development in the asset integrity, inspection and NDE industries.

Matthew Petroleum Notes


HERE’S THE ANSWERS to the questions about the differences between the role of the ‘small plant surveyor’ role and other inspection roles. Remember, there’s only one correct answer to each question.

Q1. Small plant inspections

Periodic in-service inspections of small pressure plant such as coffee boilers, autoclaves, industrial heating boilers etc in the UK are normally carried out because?

a) The equipment is particularly susceptible to serious corrosion
b) It is a specific requirement of the equipment’s insurance policy
c) It is a legal requirement
d) It is a specific requirement of the insurance policy for the building the equipment is in

Ans (c). It is a legal requirement? Correct. The Pressure System Safety Regulations (PSSRs), require periodic inspections of equipment within their scope. Contravention of these UK regulations is a criminal offence.

a) The equipment is particularly susceptible to serious corrosion? No this doesn’t have to be the case. Many equipment types such as dry air receivers or hydraulic vessels suffer little corrosion from the inert products they contain.

(b and c) It is a specific requirement of the equipment’s or building’s insurance policy? Generally, not. Most periodic inspections are unrelated to any insurance policies that are in force, although many small plant owners and surveyors think they are.

Q2. The small plant inspector role

When a small plant surveyor does an in-service inspection of, say, a 4-post vehicle lift, who performs any mechanical work necessary to enable the inspection to be performed e.g. bypassing any alarms and trips or making adjustments to brakes etc?

a) The surveyor themselves
b) A sub-contractor instructed by the surveyor
c) No-one; there is no mechanical work required as the inspections are just visual
d) The plant owner. The inspector has to persuade them to do it

Ans (d). The plant owner is responsible for any physical preparation work required. As a small plant surveyor, you’re not really supposed to get involved in any work at all. With equipment such as lifts and elevator controls and trips this can make things difficult.

Q3. The small plant inspector job

As a small pressure plant surveyor which published in-service inspection codes would you be expected to work to most?

a) ASME and API post construction codes (PCCs)
b) British or European (EN) codes
c) None
d) Those supplied by the plant owner.

Ans (c). In the world of ‘small plant surveying’ API and ASME PCC codes used for larger plant are rarely seen. It is more common to work to fairly simple procedures supplied by your employer. Associations such as SAFeD (Safety Assessment Federation) publish some guidance documents but they do not have the status of ‘codes’. It is also up to your employer whether you are asked to follow these or not.

Q4. The small plant surveyor job

As a small plant surveyor which of these will best describe the technical scope of your job?

a) You will gain experience in lots of different plant items
b) You will inspect very similar equipment, week after week
c) The job will push your technical capabilities to its limit
d) You will only be allowed to inspect one specific type of equipment

Ans (b). There are various different equipment types to inspect but they soon fall into a repetitive pattern. As a small plant surveyor, you will quickly fall into your comfort zone, which some people like. If the job tests your technical ability to its limit, then you have a comfortably low limit.

Q5. The small plant surveyor job

On average, as a small pressure plant surveyor how much time will you be given to spend on each inspection?

a) 30-60 minutes
b) 2-4 hours
c) 4-6 hours, with a nice break for lunch
d) As long as is needed to do the job

Ans (a). That’s a rough average figure, calculated from the time you get out of your car to the time you get back in again. Official employer-speak will be that you can take as much time to do any job as you need to do it properly. In reality however, you will probably have a visit schedule or ‘time unit’ targets to meet. This is a competitive price-sensitive part of the inspection business so there’s not a lot of room for time inefficiency. Many surveyors do 4-5 inspections a day with travel in-between

Technical Interview Questions

If you are interested in the technical scope of what a ‘small plant surveyor’ does TEST YOURSELF with some Interview questions for small plant surveyor roles

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