Ships Nostalgia banner
1 - 20 of 47 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
May not be the right section but Boiler Surveyors would be reading this section.

After leaving the MN did you become a Boiler ( Pressure) Surveyor, for an insurance company carrying out Statutory Surveys.

Leave your post - Company Name- Dates of Ssrvice - Geographical Areas covered- Other Disciplines like L&C, COSH, Power Press, Electrical.
What MN Company you came from or RN.

The companies recruited boiler surveyors from both MN & RN.
There must be a lot of us around.

Ajax /ACE 1993 -2000 parts of Berkshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire based around Newbury. M4 corridor and A34. Pressure / Mechanical - BSL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
With Port Line which became Cunard Shipping Services from 1969 through 1981. Mainly in the Moss Tanker fleet with two Brocks trips..

Travelers Insurance Company of Hartford CT. Employed in the Houston office August 1981. Inspected boilers, pressure vessels, etc. in the South East Texas area and also held a commission for Louisiana. Also qualified as an inspection supervisor.

1988 moved into the B&M specialist's program still inspecting boilers as necessary bu main function was to carry out risk control surveys of large plants, before insuring and afterwards. This included power plants, paper mills, refineries, chemical plants, meat packers, etc. Now the covered was from the Mississippi River to the Arizona/Nevada border and the Mexican to Canadian borders (17 States).

Retired from that position in 2013. Enjoyed it most of the time until the end when management changed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
May not be the right section but Boiler Surveyors would be reading this section.

After leaving the MN did you become a Boiler ( Pressure) Surveyor, for an insurance company carrying out Statutory Surveys.

Leave your post - Company Name- Dates of Ssrvice - Geographical Areas covered- Other Disciplines like L&C, COSH, Power Press, Electrical.
What MN Company you came from or RN.

The companies recruited boiler surveyors from both MN & RN.
There must be a lot of us around.




Ajax /ACE 1993 -2000 parts of Berkshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire based around Newbury. M4 corridor and A34. Pressure / Mechanical - BSL.
I am a little lost, Please what are you looking for/researching?
Are you challenging the roles and responsibilities of a Boiler Insurance surveyor, or life experience of one who has had this role and left the insurance industry? or and experiences in other employment experiences?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not challenging any one.
Just wondered how many Engineers on this forum when they left the sea went into this type of employment as I did. They would be reading this section of the forum.
If a moderator wants to move it to another section thats fine, just leave a note directing anybody interested where its gone.

I only emailed somebody today who had been a Boiler /Pressure surveyor in the South West of England. Spongebob in K1w1 was at Babcox and I came across another surveyor just last week. Its all grist to the mill we have all got technical stories to tell, which any Engineer will be interested in.
The first person to replay understood the post.

I believe Hartford had a company over here as well as the US, name escapes me. After the big shake up and mergers in the industry about 2000, 6 companies became 3, some of the redundant or disenchanted with the way things were going, started up as independants , became part of UKAS ( I think) and were recognised by HSE. These one man bands started to recruit
from the larger companies perhaps offering employees or self employed surveyors a bit more flexibility and also gave better and cheaper service to customers.
The work was interesting but the travelling/driving did tend to get a bit old after a while. I heard the very rural areas like East Anglia was particularly bad and perhaps the Highland and Wales. The bean counters and time and motion people also got involved- unqualified people trying to tell how an Engineer Surveyor how to do his job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
Not challenging any one.
Just wondered how many Engineers on this forum when they left the sea went into this type of employment as I did. They would be reading this section of the forum.
If a moderator wants to move it to another section thats fine, just leave a note directing anybody interested where its gone.

I only emailed somebody today who had been a Boiler /Pressure surveyor in the South West of England. Spongebob in K1w1 was at Babcox and I came across another surveyor just last week. Its all grist to the mill we have all got technical stories to tell, which any Engineer will be interested in.
The first person to replay understood the post.

I believe Hartford had a company over here as well as the US, name escapes me. After the big shake up and mergers in the industry about 2000, 6 companies became 3, some of the redundant or disenchanted with the way things were going, started up as independants , became part of UKAS ( I think) and were recognised by HSE. These one man bands started to recruit
from the larger companies perhaps offering employees or self employed surveyors a bit more flexibility and also gave better and cheaper service to customers.
The work was interesting but the travelling/driving did tend to get a bit old after a while. I heard the very rural areas like East Anglia was particularly bad and perhaps the Highland and Wales. The bean counters and time and motion people also got involved- unqualified people trying to tell how an Engineer Surveyor how to do his job.
lovely, just curious, I just wonder if the 'frame' can still slip into the water spaces of a 'scotch boiler' and pass all those intriguing bits, between the shell, and fire/combustion chambers, or whether getting slightly older, one became more robust for the likes of a 'scotch or watertube boiler' or that old boiler in skippers strasser window?? Dream on Macduff, we all age! Not with reverence? But in this period of virus lockdown, mischief caused by the lack of communication with an old sea dog?
Please enjoy, I meant no harm, just curious???
Is it now the tea boiler in the local cafe, that is desirous of your time, and inspection, at the annual visit???
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Yes I think I can still slip into the water space on a firetube boiler, one of my white boilersuits given to me by Ajax I still wear for gardening and car maintenance.
We used to inspect "Stills" boilers that were an under counter 2 gallon copper boiler with a stand pipe through the counter having fitted a steam pipe (for making frothy coffee and superheating the tea) and a water valve.
The name Stills comes from the Stills room in the kitchens of country mansions.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Still_room
These were yearly inspections as all boilers are. Once the Hobart Stills man had dismantled and descaled in lots of cases , some of which were full of scale I would have a look , break up the old klinger joint and pocket all the 5mm screws , throwing them to the winds so they had to be replaced. Invariably a new safety valve was fitted and a pressure gauge.
These boilers slowly got replaced by the Italian Gaggia (or other makes) of coffee machine, which had a steam boiler heating the water and also providing steam for heating milk.
Some of these looked as if they were full of concrete, being the type of water in the area. I always recomended they fit an inline Brita filter which reduced scale to a teaspoon instead of a replacement boiler.
I would think boiler surveyors are inspecting more of these than Robeys or B&E's.
I used to inspect the stills boiler in the kitchen of Windsor castle, this was huge, more like your hot water tank in size, so about 35-40 gallon, but gas fired instead of an electric element.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
Long time ago in 1960's I was a shift engineer in a maternity hospital in Liverpool with three coal fired scotch boilers. A survey was due and the Insurance surveyor turned up and I couldn't believe the size of him (huge to say the least). No attempt was made to enter the boiler which he couldn't anyway. After a cursery inspection he asked to float the safetys. I threw in an off the cuff question about the cheese weights and it was obvious he hadn't a clue what I was on about. That was the moment I stopped the survey and asked for a "certified" qualified surveyor to attend. Talk about jobs for the boys!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Those are interesting Bill. I only inspected one rivetted boiler and that was made in 1800's with a deadwieght safety valve. It was a forrunner of the Lancashire boiler but quite small, you could just get down the water space to the furnace front. Replaced a few rivets in that. It belonged to a steam society and used to run a couple of steam engines at a saw mill originally. The engines used tomrun, but no saw attached. They only fired it twice a year.
What some companies didn't realise was they were employing us to inspect to make sure the plant is safe for another year. If we passed something that later failed, the client would say we should have caught it. If somebody dies from the failure, neither the client or the surveyors own company backs up the surveyor. Our Chief Engineer always said to new surveyors, " If you are ever in court, you need to be there for the prosecution" ,then they will back you up, but if you are defending your actions, you will be hung out to dry. I know of a surveyor it happened to and he became a nervous wreck afterwards.
So an Insurance Surveyor is between the Devil and the deep blue sea.

I had a Brewery Chief Engineer try and make me reverse my decision on a retube. I told him no and he accepted it, he was ex merch himself. Had I changed my mind then we would have lost that site and perhaps others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Long time ago in 1960's I was a shift engineer in a maternity hospital in Liverpool with three coal fired scotch boilers. A survey was due and the Insurance surveyor turned up and I couldn't believe the size of him (huge to say the least). No attempt was made to enter the boiler which he couldn't anyway. After a cursery inspection he asked to float the safetys. I threw in an off the cuff question about the cheese weights and it was obvious he hadn't a clue what I was on about. That was the moment I stopped the survey and asked for a "certified" qualified surveyor to attend. Talk about jobs for the boys!
Never heard the term 'Cheese Weights' but would assume it was the weights on a dead weight safety valve, as they have a slot in.

I trained with an older surveyor who they say never went in boilers as he always had somebody he was training who he sent in the boiler. He would have struggled in some water spaces. I' ve got stuck a few times and just had to stop still calm down and work out how to turn round and get free.
"Don't panic Mr. Mannering". And I was reasonably slim.
I wouldn't say it was a 'job for the boys' but you obviously got a bad one there. Hope you got one that knew what he was doing.
 

·
Spongebob
Joined
·
9,421 Posts
We called them manholes, 15" x 11" and 16"x 12" , hand holes, 7" x 5" and mud holes 6" x 4".
Those 15x11 manholes were often the breaking point for many a surveyor that was a bit chubby .
The door frame design played a big part in the ease of entry and the early forge rolled frame in end plates made entry easier but exit no better .
Being claustrophobic , I was glad when I did not have to do it any more and at a relatively young age .

Bob
 

·
Spongebob
Joined
·
9,421 Posts
Boiler surveyors , safety valves , things that bring back memories good and bad.
We had installed a new coal fired fire tube boiler designed to produce 20,000 pounds of steam per hour at 160 psi and with a superheater fitted in the combustion chamber to impart 100 degrees F lift for no other purpose than to ensure that dry saturated steam arrived at the main process point some hundred yards away .
This was at a Freezing works built in the 1920's and subsequent badly planned expansion had put the process point a hundred yards or more away from the boilerhouse .
The main safety valve on the boiler drum was a Hopkinson 3" double spring high lift unit vented up through the roof to atmosphere but the 2" single spring safety valve fitted to the superheated steam outlet was vented within the high stud boiler house building and about five feet below the roof underside. The Plant engineer , a younger graduate , had decided that the old roofing iron was too fragile to make penetrations through at that point and after all a 2" vent would not do any harm so high up.
OK , we are ready to go, Arthur, our Commissioning engineer was steaming the boiler up to full load , the district Surveyor was up on the boiler platform as he wanted to observe the open/ shut behaviour of the main valve and the plant engineer was with him. I was downstairs as Babcock's man
The blow off pressure of 165 psi was reached and snap bang , roar and shut every thing was OK.
Then came the test of the superheater safety, the old hands including me stepped well clear while the intrepid pair stayed up top to closely watched the SH safety lift.
It did, with a snap and a roar and a black sky descended on the observers covering them donkey deep in crud rather like huge chunks of wheat-a-bix cereal .
This was a deep ac***ulation of dust , soot, grit , grime, whatever, that had ac***ulated over 60 years or more as the cold roofing iron attracted the rising steam and coal dust and ash that arose from the once hand firing of the oldest boilers on cold mornings and this muck had coagulated and stuck firmly to the corrugations to slowly build up to a thick but light weight fibrous mass .
That hot, high pressure steam striking the roof underside had cleaned the iron for miles around and had brought heaps of the stuff down on to the hapless pair !
Surprisingly the underside of the roofing iron showed it to be as clean as a whistle and clearly showing the original 'ORB' manufacturers sign after all those years.
The whole episode had repercussions as the company were about to update and up rate the works facilities to meet the up and coming ECC standards for such plant but after installing killing floors that Christian Barnard could have done transplants in plus huge improvements to the energy centre etc , NZ lost its export rights to the UK and Europe and
the company went under.

Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Good one Bob, you must have dined out on that one for many a year.
It must have been snowing black snow from the heavens. Just goes to show being a Marine Engineer has its amusing incidents compared with say being a bean counter. Superheat steamed cleaned roof.

Maybe once Boris has sorted out the EU we will be trading with Kiwi again, though don't know what general we will be shipping in return.

The Snap, Bang and Roar was dependent on the correct position of the seat in the valve body. Too often it would be too low having been ground away over the years, so you never got the lift and snap.
I learnt this one at sea when the safety was sluggish for Lloyds and he told us how to fix it, then he came back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Myself and three friends went through college together, and we all spent time at sea, around 15+ years each. We all came ashore within a couple of years of each other. Two of the lads got jobs as boiler surveyors, one with National Vulcan, the other with Eagle Star. The third one became a lift and crane surveyor with National Vulcan.

I was the only one to follow a different path, but a common one for ex MN engineers, the works department of the local NHS health authority.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
After redundancy I did three years with Eagle Star, 89 to 92 then returned to sea. The training was very good, 13 weeks, each week in a different area with a different surveyor, good company in their car driving from site to site, saw a lot of different boilers and pressure systems. When you arrived at a place run by ex MN guys everything was opened up ready to inspect, soon learned that was not always the case, some not open or just the smoke doors open and the excuse usually was “that’s how the other surveyor did it”, new appointment made but sometimes never called back they just changed their insurance company and tried the same trick with them.
The oldest boiler I did was a riveted 1936 Paxman with dead weight safety valve in Lucas furniture factory in Hackney Wick, they had a newish Hamworthy and this one was their emergency back up, they burnt the old wood off cuts for fuel.
Remember commissioning a new gas fired boiler in a Chemical works, attended by the works engineer and the Sakke burner guy, came to do the ac***ulation of pressure test, the safety valve lifted and i told the Sakke guy to leave it on full firing, could hear the steam roaring and the ground vibrating, turned round to tell him he could stop it now and no one there they had legged it outside.
Returned to sea with an agency got a job as 2/E on a tanker, because it was tax free if you followed the HMRC rules I was earning three times my Eagle Star take home pay but no company car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
I left the merchant navy back in 1980 when all the general cargo ships were being sold and replaced by the new generation of container ships. I got a job as a boiler surveyor with National Vulcan and over the next 30 years worked for them, Ajax, Cornhill, Allianz Haughton Engineering (which became HAB Haughton) and Zurich. Initially training as a pressure vessel surveyor I inspected everything from a large power station water tube boiler to a small stills boiler and everything in-between. Redundancy forced a change to a lifting surveyor and inspection of everything from dock side cranes to patient hoists in private houses. The work has taken me into nearly every avenue of manufacturing and service industries, couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable or varied career.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Henry1,

Yes, heard " Thats how the other surveyor did it " a few times, which I don't believe, but they were trying it on. Told them, " I'm not the other surveyor, we do it this way, read the Pressure Regs. So if they won't play, they got a "Not Available " letter sent by the company. Your in the clear, if anything happens to the vessel, then its their problem. It may come back up in a year or two years depending what plant it was, or as you say, they cancel and try and trick another company's surveyor.
Went to one garage for the air receiver, one man band repairing Jags in a country village. He had AMI Motor Engineers under the Company name.
Go round the back to the receiver, large brass plug in the end all grunched up with numerous applications of 24 "stilsens. I asked him to remove the plug and got the old story. Told him if I cannot look inside then he cannot use it as it was overdue then, being a transfer from GRE. He eventually called me, the brass plug had been destroyed trying to remove it and replaced by a steel one.
Never did return there, he must have gone elsewhere.
Went to a nursing home to look at the CI sectional, it was the old type safety valve with the wedge through the top. Turned it to make sure it was free, well it was eventually. Full bore hot water out the sv pipe. Couldn't stop it leaking.
Told the contact to call a plumber to replace the valve, he got a bit uppity and I left.
When I got home, my boss called me and gave me third degree and asked what happened and what I told them. They had been on the phone soon as I left and my boss told them they needed a new sv, so backed me up. Later bosses who weren't ex merch would have dropped you in the khasi taking the clients side.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It was surprising how many 'boiler attendants' didn't know how to run their boilers. I asked one chap to blow his gauge glasses, his hands moved that fast I thought he was juggling.

Some very good, had already floated the safeties to make sure they snapped open, Bang and Roar before you attended, so your working exam was a breeze as everything worked when tested.
Whilst in training attended a working exam of a narrow tall boiler at a refinery on the South Bank of the Humber, ( No not Flixborough, that had already happened) and the surveyor removed the magic eye, nothing happened, covered it , boiler still kept going. So he shut it down with isolator and told them to sort it.
 

·
Spongebob
Joined
·
9,421 Posts
Another safety valve drama,
We had installed a 15,000 lb/hr SBC 'Steambloc' boiler at Auckland Airport to service Air NZ's new main hanger . The new free standing boiler house was alongside the hangar and adjacent to the airport staff car park .
A pre commissioning chemical boiler out of the boiler vessel internals was in progress using a cleaning and degreasing formula consisting mainly of trisodium-phosphate, a highly alkaline chemical .
It was usual to carry out this exercise on low fire and at a pressure slightly above atmospheric to ensure good turbulence and cleaning effect within the drum . The commissions engineer was standing nearby talking to an
ANZ staffer when he heard a hiss and a roar as the safety valve lifted and before he could punch the stop button a fair cloud of corrosive vapour escaped into the atmosphere and drifting over the car park.
Absolute pandemonium broke out, there was a DC8 Airliner parked on the Tarmac about 50 yards up wind and it seemed unharmed but it was hurriedly towed down to the aircraft spray wash pad for a thorough wash down and inspection which proved to be all OK .
Had the aircraft been down wind the corrosive effect of the chemical fog on the alloy hull might well of written it off!
Not so flash on the car park though, as some cars close to the fallout were well wetted .
The reason for the valve premature lift was that they were supposed to come from the Hopkinson Huddersfield works already tested at set at the pressure nominated on our order but in this case the spring had been eased off for a reason never known to us. Our mortified engineer had failed to make any checks but had no reason to do so until then.
We got the panic call at our city office, the boss phoned our insurer, Bowring ? Rings a bell, and I set out to the site.
A fire hose was being used to wash down many of the affected cars and by them the assessor had arrived, summed up the situation and asked that anyone that had a valid claim see him in the car park the next morning.
Now this was in the late sixties when NZ was still famous for its fleets of aged car cars, some pre war , due to import restrictions so a fair portion of the cars damaged by the spray were already rusting as they readily did in those days and after taking this into account our assessor came on site with a bag full of Money.
As he walked around the complainants' cars he was able to settle most paint blemish claims the with say offers of $50 to $100, a bit of cut and polish would fix the problem and leave Plenty over for a beer or two.
The later model cars were agreed in need of paint shop attention but one car stood out , an almost brand new bright yellow Fiat 500 Bambino along with this fired up , little blonde girl owner . She had saved for years, waited as long , for this little car and her anger knew no end.
The car had taken corrosive spray all over and the paint was bright enough to show the difference the damage made . In the end the insurer replaced the car with a new one , put the damaged one through a good paint shop and on sold it for little loss hence a happy lady.
All in all the damage payout amounted to something like $20000 to $30000 if I recall correctly , a lot in the late sixties but a pittance compared with the outcome had the wind wafted the spray on to that DC8!
This was the talk of the office for ages and our service engineer took a long time to shed the self guilt but all ended well.

Bob
 
1 - 20 of 47 Posts
Top