Young talent | John Brash


Young talent | John Brash

December 17th '19

A QA/QC inspector at Smulders has a varied range of tasks. John Brash is a contractor and specialist in this field. He has been supplying Smulders this service over the last 2 projects and is happy to share his experiences.

How would you describe your tasks as a specialist contracted QA/QC Inspector at Smulders? “The QC inspection tasks start from when steel arrives on site until the completed jackets sail away on a barge up the river Tyne. Initially we assist in checking that all the delivered steel items are accounted for and identify which fabrication area they need to go to for fabrication/assembly within the yard. During welding we carry out regular surveillance inspection on welders to ensure that they are working within the requirements of the latest procedures/WPS’s. Afterwards, the completed welds are scrutinized making sure that the welds meet the acceptance criteria of the project specification. Finally I am involved in the reviewing & approval of project documentation and assisting to have it all ready for the final MRB (Manufacturing Record Book with material test certs, welder qualifications, route cards etc.) just before the jacket sails away.”

What about your background, studies and previous work experience? “I left school in 1999 when I was 16 and then went on to complete a 4 year welding apprenticeship at a fabrication company in the north east. By the time I was 25 I had my inspection qualifications and I was a welding foreman/inspector for a company where I was responsible for up to 40 welders at any one time and with help from my chargehand we successfully completed numerous projects. It was roughly about 5 years later when I left to pursue my career as a contracting specialist QA/QC inspector and started my own Ltd Company providing a service to various clients including Smulders as a lead QA/QC inspector. 2016 is when my company first started providing Smulders a specialist QA/QC service on the Beatrice project!”

How do you find Smulders as a client? “A very exceptional company with big visions, they are always pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved when all areas of the business come together. Coming from an Oil & Gas background at first the start was difficult to be honest. The biggest change for me was adapting to the culture of how Smulders works and the pace of how the jackets were required to be built. At the beginning I was sceptical but as the project kicked off it was easy to see the bigger picture working together with other contractors & the client to make the project very successful. The QA/QC team is made up of very talented & professional personnel who each in turn bring many years of knowledge & experience.”

What are typical challenges for you, at Smulders? “With the yard being a fast production line activity the main challenge is continually maintaining the high quality workmanship like what is getting produced on the yard now, however if for any reason we have any issues with either a pre weld fit up or a complete welded butt for not being acceptable to the specification I like to approach the situation with a solution with the tradesman rather than walking away telling them it is not good enough.”

What is the most fun part of your job? “The fun part for me is that I get to be involved in the whole build of the project from start to finish and helping overcome any quality issues that arise. Interfacing with clients and auditors throughout the project phases and showing them how we work as a quality department and how everything is documented and controlled and to get positive feedback from clients/ auditors gives the whole project team a massive moral boost and urges everyone to try and raise the bar higher.”

As an individual, what are your ambitions for the next years? “My main ambition is to continue providing Smulders with a specialist inspection service and help to make the Moray East project as successful as the Beatrice project if not better and as a local lad I would like more projects to come on to the River Tyne as it is not only providing employment for local people but also contributing to the local economy which is always good. I live in a town called South Shields which is located roughly about 7 miles from the Smulders yard. It’s great for Smulders to keep the Newcastle yard filled with work and hopefully after the Moray East project is complete more work will follow! Thank you to everyone involved with the project it’s a pleasure working with them.”

Some tips for other young talent? “Do not shy away from any challenges that get given to you, take pride in whatever aspect of the job you’re involved in and be open minded to new ideas of working as it will be the younger generation that will help to keep the Smulders name going strong in the future.”