A Day in the Life of a Gas Engineer
By Ray Coleman, Gas Engineer at Squire Energy
Having never been one for the office 9-5 grind, my job as a gas engineer is perfect for someone who likes a new challenge every day. Each job is different, especially as I’m a ‘master of all trades’ – from gas disconnections, to mains laying or meter installs – my work is as varied as our clients. I’m a firm believer in ‘the early bird catches the worm’ so I’m often up and out before the sun has even risen, at about 5:15am. On my way, I pick up my colleague Matt, and we head on-site, usually in London, arriving almost two hours later – over the years, my commute has steadily increased somewhat!
Eschewing breakfast, I might grab a quick coffee whilst I wait in the van for the site to open. The day’s agenda is normally already planned in advance, but being on-hand in London means the possibility of getting called to attend an emergency job in the vicinity. If the job is a bit further afield, some careful scheduling cuts down travel time – it doesn’t make sense to go to Birmingham one day, then back up the motorway to Northampton the next.
There’s no standard time-frame for a job – it can range from a 20-minute meter installation during a one-day site visit, to a two-month project, like one we completed for Gatwick Airport. That job involved the installation of completely new gas mains and pipework for the South Terminal, and required 3.5 tonne lifting gear and a very detailed lifting plan.
My job pack for the day contains a description of the project, complete with detailed drawings to so I have knowledge of the site, and the expected result. It’s my job to build up the network, making sure that we meet the client’s expectation. Any on-site issues are dealt with through liaison with the site manager and ground workers, whilst non-practical matters (such as finance) are relayed back to Squire’s Head Office and handled by the highly-efficient customer service team.
I have to schedule lunch and other breaks to fit in with my daily activities. This flexibility means that I’m often off site by 3pm and home by 5pm, although I am sometimes greeted by materials which have been delivered during the day, which need unpacking, checking and sorting for the next day’s work.
After a hard, but satisfying day’s graft, I like to work in my paddock as the day draws to a close, before retiring indoors to enjoy a substantial evening meal to set me up for another busy day ahead.