Get to Know Hythe Marine Services’ Head of Welding

A conversation with Senior Welding Inspector, Paul Stone


Hythe Marine Services are dedicated to providing quality welding services on a local and national level. To find out more about the people and processes behind these services, we spoke to Hythe Marine Services’ (HMS) Senior Weld Inspector Paul Stone. 

Man welding pipework fabrication welding services Hythe Marine Services

When asked to describe his role Paul commented: “As well as developing weld processes and training our welders through Lloyds procedures, I’m here to control welding within Hythe Marine Services, kind of like the welding police – I’m on-site to inspect jobs and make sure things are done as they should be.”

Essentially, Paul is the Head of Welding at HMS. Within this role, he is responsible for weld quality assurance throughout the company.

Paul told us, “The quality side of welding is my background. Knowing about processes, developing procedures and testing welder qualifications. That’s my sort of expertise and that’s what I bring to Hythe.” 

Hythe Group’s managing director, Josh Mathias, added, “Hythe Group has strong values around developing our workforce, and Paul brings an essential capability to the business for in-house development around welding.”


Paul Stone’s Background and Experience 

Paul described himself as a “Time-served welder by trade”. He’s been a Senior Welding Inspector since achieving certification 3 years ago but has been a Certified Welding Inspector since 2004. Paul was actually the first weld inspector in the Naval Base when he was working for BAE Systems

Throughout his career, Paul has always been based in the naval base, whether it’s with BAE Systems or HMS. His experience with BAE Systems gives Paul added knowledge about their requirements on jobs. Another bonus is Paul’s close working relationship with their team, including some of Paul’s old apprentices. 

Paul started out as an apprentice from 1986 to 1990, before becoming a welder and, over the years, moving across various welding coordination duties. He then became a registered welding inspector allowing him to run and monitor the welding services at BAE. Paul then moved on to HMS and has been there for 13 years.

Paul reflected, “There’s been a lot of changes over the years, and all for the better. Hythe is a good place to be, with all sorts of characters, disciplines and trades going on.” 

When speaking to Paul it was clear that he is highly passionate about the welding side of things. His history with Hythe Group gives him a unique perspective, as he can compare the company now with 12-13 years ago and see how far things have progressed. 

Paul said, “We’re at a different level now. I consider ourselves to be the pride of the South Coast in marine repair with all we’ve got in place. We get repeat work from customers like BAE Systems because of the quality of work we do and the timescales we do it in.” 


What does Being an Inspector of Welding Services Involve?

Being a welding inspector relies on having excellent welding knowledge and experience.

A Senior Weld Inspector must be capable of understanding procedures, written guidelines and hold all-round knowledge on weld quality assurance. They also need to have integrity and be able to argue against people that are saying ‘just get on and do it’, and give the reasons why. 

When Paul first joined HMS he was still carrying out welding services as part of the small team. He had some great opportunities and even worked on Royal Naval aircraft carriers such as HMS Invincible, Ark Royal and Illustrious.

HMS Invincible Hythe Marine Services Welding Services Weld Inspection
Hugh Llewelyn from Keynsham, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Paul also went out to New York to represent HMS and has sailed on cruise ships around the world. “I’ve been over to America and sailed back on Queen Mary 2, I’ve sailed out on a vessel to the Baltics around Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia and Estonia. My favourite times with Hythe Group were when we’ve been sailing and working away.” 

As a Senior Weld Inspector Paul’s job is now mostly at the Naval base. Paul no longer embarks on long-haul projects abroad, but instead focuses his efforts on getting things right and making a name for HMS in the marine industry. 

Our article Lloyd’s Coded Welders: Why We’re Different… explains the processes of weld testing, including destructive and non-destructive testing, at HMS.

Paul explained, “The best part of my job is the satisfaction of getting things right and making a name for ourselves. That’s what gets me. It’s not the money, it’s the fact that I get a kick out of knowing we’re doing things right, as we should be. Customers come back to us time and time again. That’s what really gives me a buzz.”


Ensuring Safety and Quality in HMS Welding Services

Safety is a massive consideration for not just HMS, but anyone working in the construction trade and marine environments. 

To ensure the safety of HMS welders, all HMS welding operatives must have air-fed welding shades with filters on them, they must have fume extraction and full PPE – including wearing fire retardant overalls, safety boots and suitable gloves. 

Paul also explained, “For all the tasks we do at HMS, the welders have risk assessments and statements which are issued out by Team Managers. There are also additional considerations like fire essentials, and when working onboard warships there must never be only one person, and our team complete Confined Space training too.”

In a recent move by HMS to increase weld quality assurance, the company are putting all their welders, welding apprentices and anyone who’s doing welding for the company through a Visual Weld Inspector course. Read more about this project in our recent News article: Hythe Marine Services Welders Achieve Certified Visual Weld Inspector Status


What’s Next For Paul Stone? 

As we spoke to Paul he was currently up at the Welding Institute completing his European Welding Specialist Diploma. If that goes well, Paul will be looking at obtaining the technologist diploma too. 

Paul said, “I’m moving now more into the technical side of the company rather than the welding side of things. From my point of view, it’s not just knowing about the welding, it’s the knowledge of materials, weldability factors, how materials react when you’re welding them and different processes. It’s not just a weld inspection thing, and if we do have any welding problems it’s knowing how to get past those issues.”

To find out more about Hythe Marine Services’ commercial and local welding services, get in touch with our team below.

Hythe Marine Services Welders Achieve Certified Visual Weld Inspector Status

Welding is one of the only jobs that’s always inspected to ensure procedure and quality standards are adhered to, no matter how much experience a welder has. 

It’s fundamental to any marine engineering company that processes are not only in place but strictly followed, ensuring the safety and quality of any welding job.  

Visual Weld Inspector welding a flux core weld on fabricated seating

Hythe Marine Services (HMS) are investing in their staff to give customers, and the internal team, an extra layer of confidence that the in-house work being carried out is meeting the highest of standards.

Senior Welding Inspector, Paul Stone, explained, “Our plan is to put all our welders, welding apprentices and anyone who’s doing welding for the company through a Visual Weld Inspectors course.”

We spoke to Paul about the reasons behind this push on inspection training, and why it’s so significant for HMS as providers of marine engineering services in Portsmouth and the UK. 


What’s the Benefit of Visual Weld Inspector Training?

Paul told us, “Being a qualified Visual Weld Inspector means that you’ve completed a welding inspection course which teaches visual inspection procedures, relevant codes of practice and terms and definitions. Our staff will also learn about welding processes and defects, weld measurements, practical inspection and reporting, and the typical welding inspection documentation and requirements. As a result of this training, we can be confident that our workforce are carrying out procedures correctly and that the finished works are always to the highest of standards for our customers.”

By having this knowledge, a welder can carry out an initial visual inspection to catch potential issues before passing it on to the Weld Inspector. HMS welders won’t ever sign off their own work, however, this adds an extra layer of in-house confidence in the quality of the weld. 

Paul said, “There’s a lot more to welding than just going in and doing the job. It’s a process worth taking seriously and investing in the quality of the job, which is what’s done at Hythe Marine. This extra investment in our welders shows potential customers what welding means to us as a business.”


Why is Skill Development so Important in the Welding Industry?

Welders always have to re-qualify and their work is constantly inspected, whether it’s tested visually or using Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) like radiography. Continuous training ensures welding operators are sufficient in the job they’re going to do. 

Following British Standards and requirements laid out by Lloyds Coded Welding, HMS’ welders are prolongated every 6 months and retested every 3 years. 

Read more about the importance of coded welding at Hythe Marine Services here.

Hythe Group welder welding Inconel Gas shielding flow guides for Rolls Royce

What Does Achieving Visual Weld Inspector Qualifications Mean?

The purpose of inspection in welding is to ensure that the quality systems that HMS are working to are met. It doesn’t just mean you’re inspecting the weld itself, but staff are ensuring that the right materials are being used, the right personnel are working on the job and that the welding consumables are the same as what’s in the procedures. 

Once the team has their Visual Weld Inspector status, HMS know that their welders have the knowledge to make sure the welds are acceptable. 

Identifying defects, like slag and weld splatter or gas pores, is part of the course. After completing their training, the welder will know that these defects need to be removed before handing over to a welding inspector for sign-off.  

Welders removing defects before the final visual inspection reduces the amount of rejected welds that need to be redone, which additionally saves time for the team. 

Paul Stone told us, “These qualifications are an investment, but HMS is committed to investing in the workforce and the quality of their welds, to give customers confidence in what we’re doing as a company.”


Employee Development at HMS

Josh Mathias, Managing Director Hythe Group, and Luke Fitzgerald, Director of value Engineering for Hythe Marine Services, encourage and facilitate employee training at all levels within the company. 

Paul commented, “At Hythe Group we’re constantly developing weld procedures and qualifying our welders. It’s not a cheap thing, but customers require quality standards and traceability. People don’t just want it done, they want it done right – with full traceability and all the paperwork in place. Josh Mathias has never got any issues releasing funds to be able to do that.”

When working for clients like BAE Systems, Babcock and the Royal Navy where fully-certified traders are a priority, it’s imperative that all staff have up to date training. 

Paul Stone said, “You’re proving to customers that you can do the job by obtaining the relevant qualifications and taking the right training courses. It’s always better to set the standards than just adhere to them”

Click the button below to find out about our coded welding services, and how our team can help with your next project. 

From Pipefitting Apprenticeship to Full-Time Pipefitter

Meet Hythe Marine Services’ latest recruit Conor Green

10% of the workforce at Hythe Marine Services (HMS), a marine engineering company, is made up of apprentices. This means the growing workforce pass down decades of in-house knowledge and industry expertise, to pursue Hythe Group’s overall goal of continuous upskilling and development. 

Hythe Group as a whole promote and drive apprenticeships and training through all levels of the business and three Hythe Group companies.

One example of this is Conor Green, who recently went from pipefitting apprentice to full-time pipefitter with Hythe Marine Services. 

What Does a Pipefitter Do?

Usually starting out as juniors or apprentices, pipefitters are skilled tradespeople who install, repair, maintain, assemble, fabricate and test pipe systems. These piping systems will usually include pipework, valves and pumps.

Within the marine engineering industry, pipefitters are a crucial part of the workforce as they are responsible for ship piping systems on naval and commercial vessels. 

What Does a Pipefitter Apprentice Do?

A pipefitter apprenticeship program involves a combination of practical experience within an engineering company and theoretical study with a college or university. 

As well as working towards their certification, pipefitter apprentices gain hands-on experience in the relevant skills required to be a pipefitter. These skills include welding, plating and fitting pipes. 

Depending on the level of the qualification, the apprenticeship will be between 2 and 4 years. 

Meet Conor Green 

We spoke to Conor to find out what his apprenticeship involved, what it’s like to be part of Hythe Group and life as a pipefitter in the marine engineering world. 

pipefitter welding a pipe wearing full protective equipment in a workshop

What Does a Pipefitting Apprenticeship Involve? 

My apprenticeship was four years long and split up into different sections. The first year was in the dockyard completing the Level 2 part of the qualification. Year one was mainly paperwork based with four days in college and one day a week on placement. 

We had lecturers going through each module, and we had different tasks to complete in the workshop to learn the basics of engineering and hand skills. On Friday’s I was with Hythe Marine Services, where I’d get hands-on experience working on jobs with the tradesmen to learn the ropes. 

After that first year, I spent all of my time with Hythe Marine Services getting practical experience. Depending on what jobs were on at the time would determine who I would be working with. I’d go out on jobs with different teams, watching them work and help out, or I’d be in the workshop working on a set task to develop new skills. 

Alongside this, I was completing my Level 3 NVQ in pipefitting which meant I would complete tasks according to the certification requirements, take photos and complete write-ups to document what I’d done. 

In the fourth year of my apprenticeship, I’d completed all the necessary qualifications which meant I could spend my time solely gaining knowledge and getting hands-on experience with the tools and learning from my mentor. 

This was my favourite year of my pipefitting apprenticeship as I could focus on the skill of the trade rather than having to worry about the paperwork. 

Why Did You Choose to Be a Pipefitter? 

I wanted to carry on with further education but I didn’t like the idea of just going to college. I went to some open-evenings in colleges and at the dockyard to learn about the available apprenticeships. Hythe Marine Services were there and I liked the idea of learning on the job and getting experience whilst being paid. 

I chose pipefitting specifically because I liked the idea of getting to learn different skills like plating, welding and engineering. 

What Was Your Favourite Project You Worked on?

During my pipefitting apprenticeship in Portsmouth, I got to work on loads of different jobs. The one I most enjoyed was in the 2nd year of my apprenticeship at Southampton General Hospital. 

Myself and a group of pipefitters went to rip-out and reinstall a brand new piping system in the boiler house at the hospital. 

I got to be on the job from start to finish so I saw all the aspects that went into the project, such as getting the materials, planning the installation and the piping itself. 

The boiler house was still powering Southampton General Hospital, so we had to work to strict timeframes. If we needed to rip a pipe out, the boilers would get turned off so there were only certain windows we could work within. 

We had to plan the day to the exact hour. For example, we would only have about a 3-hour window to complete a task because that’s how long the boiler could be off for. We had to plan during the days leading up to it how the job would be done, and complete all the pre-fab to ensure the pipes are fitted. This was so when the boilers were switched off we knew we weren’t going to overshoot it and cause major problems for the hospital. 

I liked the aspect of planning and getting to see a long-term job from start to finish, and the tape-off of the project and the final handover.

marine engineer pipefitting and welding inside a pipe

What Advice Would You Give to Somebody Considering a Hythe Group Apprenticeship?

I would highly recommend it. When you go to college it’s all done by the book and it’s not real life. By doing an apprenticeship, you actually get to see what it’s like because you’re on the job. You might go to college and you might love it but when you get to the job it could be completely different. When you’re learning on an apprenticeship you see what it’s actually like and get to gauge whether it’s right for you. 

I chose to stay on with Hythe Marine Services because they’re a friendly company to work for and I know the procedures, rules and how things go. After four years working with the team, I get on with them all and know them really well. I feel like there are still things I can learn and experience to get and knowledge I can gain.

What’s Your New Role?

Now I’ve got my Level 3 NVQ diploma, I’m now a qualified pipefitter. In my new role, I’ll now be getting very hands-on with all the tasks, gaining more confidence and experience in my trade. 

I’ll be doing various different jobs in the trade, by myself and with others. Now I’m fully qualified it’s about getting more experience and tying everything together. 

In the long term, my goal is to cement myself as a valued member at the core of Hythe Marine Services. 

How to Become a Pipefitter Apprentice with HMS

Find out more about our apprenticeships, including pipefitter apprenticeship jobs, via our Apprenticeships page.

Or, you can read more about what it’s like to be an HMS apprentice from our interview with Hythe Marine Services apprentice Tyrrell Ford.

The Best Stories Are the Ones No One Thought to Tell

Meet Hythe Group Content Marketing Manager, Hannah Cotterell

woman passing sailing equipment to white boat with blue sky

Over the past year, you may have noticed that Hythe Group, which comprises of Hythe Building Services, Hythe Marine Services and Hythe HOSMU, has become increasingly vocal. 

Hythe Group has historically not been one to shout too loud about the fantastic projects they’re involved with, the cool charities they support or the awesome team they retain. However, that all changed a year ago when content marketer and storyteller Hannah Cotterell joined the team. 

Hannah commented, “It’s incredible to see what the Hythe Group of companies get involved with, from bespoke building and construction projects through to the essential service and maintenance of Royal Naval vessels. The team have been doing this for years and think nothing of it, whereas I’m blown away by all the things they get involved with!”

As Hannah reaches her first anniversary of working with Hythe Group, we talk content marketing, the power of story and how Hythe is evolving. 

Introducing Hannah Cotterell

In perfect harmony with the mould-breaking and dynamic character of Hythe Group, Hannah’s not one to follow the ordinary.

After a career in various marketing roles, Hannah quit her day job in 2016 to focus on telling the stories of amazing brands around the world. Having previously worked at Harken Yacht Equipment in PR and Sponsorship, her first job as an independent storyteller was perfectly apt.

Hannah told us, “My first job was as an onboard reporter for yacht racing Team Maverick, the radical Infiniti 46R with Dynamic Stability System (DSS) foiling technology. This was a perfect opportunity as I love anything to do with water and sailing.”

woman on mast with birds eye view of sail boat and ocean

Whilst working with Team Maverick, Hannah made the team website, managed socials and built a brand that made people want to “Be a Maverick.” From there she became a focused Marketeer, with the sole mission of eradicating boring content, offering content marketing as a service and telling the stories of amazing people and brands around the globe. 

But that’s not all… 

After this project, Hannah got herself a CAA drone licence and started doing aerial filming at events such as the SB20 Worlds and Surfing spots in Nazare, Portugal.

One year after deciding to quit the day job, Hannah was travelling around the world with the Volvo Ocean Race (now called The Ocean Race). Hannah recalled, “In 2017-18 I travelled around the world with the Volvo Ocean Race, telling the story of the team behind the hardware of the incredible Volvo 65 Yachts. I never got the chance to be an onboard reporter for that one, but a girl can dream!”

Racing sailing boats in colourful dock with mountains in the background and white yachts behind

After completing a rather hectic year of travel, Hannah was back in Europe looking for her next great brand to work with, and along came Hythe!

Hythe Group Marketing – Where it All Began

A year ago, Hythe Group managing director Josh Mathias decided to start promoting all the great work his team were doing behind the scenes. 

Josh began looking for someone creative to help with the content side of life and received a recommendation from shipbuilding engineer Dave Monks, who’d previously worked with Hannah. They had a meeting to see whether it would be a good fit, and both saw the value of collaborating.

Hannah explained how she started working with Hythe Group, “In September 2019 I received an email from Josh who had been given my name from one of his shipbuilding engineers, Dave Monks. It turns out it really is a small world. Back in 2015, I went to Turkey to help out with the build of Yacht Maverick. Dave taught me how to make a fuel bracket out of carbon fibre in a random shed in Turkey. There is nothing quite as odd as drilling seemingly a billion holes in someone else’s brand new boat!”

What’s it like working with Hythe Group?

welder welding in the dark with blue sparks flying and smoke

Hannah commented on the super friendly nature of Hythe Group and the team. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve just joined a team that have known each other forever because if you’re helping out, then you’re part of the family!”

Another key factor that comes with working for Hythe Group is the impeccable standards everyone in the team strives for. Hannah told us, “There are standards, and then Hythe standards. If you work for Hythe Group then you better bring your A-game, they provide nothing but the best service to their clients and expect nothing less from their team.”

Hannah commented on how Hythe’s dedication to excellence is fantastic to work with.  She told us this striving for perfection comes from everyone’s willingness to do whatever it takes to make a job great, no matter how small the task. 

These positive feelings are mutual with MD Josh Mathias, who told us, “Hannah has been a joy to work with. The content, websites & social media speak for themselves when it comes to describing her capabilities. She has picked up on our industries very quickly, can talk to anyone and seems to make everyone smile when she speaks to them.”

The Marketing Challenges of Hythe Group’s Industries

Since Hannah started with Hythe Group, the Group has moved from a largely marine focus to including Building Services and HOSMU bespoke storage and distribution solutions within their main offering. 

We asked Hannah about the unique challenges that come with working in the Hythe Group company industries.

She told us, “After the re-branding of Hythe Group as a parent company, I guess you could say one challenge is working out how to keep a Group look and feel to your content whilst specialising enough to talk to the right buyer persona for each company.”

Another challenge for Hythe Marine Services specifically is that they work on some highly confidential projects, which is tough for marketers to utilise!

Hannah deals with this by learning the terminology that is generally accepted or rejected and building up a network of people that need to be contacted for approvals.

Hannah said, “The worst thing in my books would be to release an article or image that is supposed to be kept secret. I make sure our content plan is reviewed by numerous personnel before we ever go live!”

How has Hythe Group Evolved in the past year? 

The most significant change this year was bringing together Hythe Building Services, Hythe Marine Services and Hythe HOSMU all under one roof as Hythe Group. In addition, Hythe has released new woodworking and composites workshops!

Alongside the growth of Hythe Group has been the journey of content and marketing, establishing a well-known and trusted brand digitally. There are four main pillars Hannah has been developing, to show the world what Hythe Group can do and to build relationships with clients, charities and potential sponsors. 

Content marketing

In short, Hythe Group got social! Each month Hannah takes the information the team feeds her and turns it into a bespoke content marketing plan that we use to map out our social media activities for the month. Hannah told us, “We are working solely with organic content at the moment and it’s great to see the content grow and the followers increase in engagement.” 

Brand guidelines 

2020 saw the creation of brand guidelines to bring Hythe Group and the Hythe Group companies under one branding umbrella. 

Hannah explained, “This has given us a much more recognisable, uniform and consistent look that our customers can associate with, whilst retaining the spirit of the team.”


When Hannah joined, there were a few different websites for Hythe Building Services, Hythe Marine Services and Hythe HOSMU. During this year, Hannah and the team revamped the sites to bring them all under Hythe Group, making them easy to find, with a tonne more content for clients to explore. 


Managing Director Josh likes to help support charities and groups wherever possible, so Hannah decided to bring in a more structured approach to activating those sponsorships. Hythe Group is no longer modestly hiding in the shadows as we now actively shout about the amazing teams, charities and groups we sponsor. Head to the sponsorship page for the full list. 

Check out the latest stories from Hythe Group of companies via the links below!


Hythe Marine Services Signs Armed Forces Covenant

On the 24th July 2020, Josh Mathias, Managing Director of Hythe Marine Services, signed a commitment for his company to honour the Armed Forces Covenant.

We recognise the value Serving Personnel, both Regular and Reservists, Veterans and military families contribute to our business and our country. Through this covenant we dedicate ourselves to help those that have served or are serving our country, in any way we can.

An Enduring Covenant Between

The People of the United Kingdom Her Majesty’s Government and all those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown and their Families.

The first duty of Government is the defence of the realm. Our Armed Forces fulfil that responsibility on behalf of the Government, sacrificing some civilian freedoms, facing danger and, sometimes, suffering serious injury or death as a result of their duty. Families also play a vital role in supporting the operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces. In return, the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, together with their families. They deserve our respect and support, and fair treatment.

Those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved.

This obligation involves the whole of society: it includes voluntary and charitable bodies, private organisations, and the actions of individuals in supporting the Armed Forces. Recognising those who have performed military duty unites the country and demonstrates the value of their contribution. This has no greater expression than in upholding this Covenant.

Hythe Group sign armed forces covenant

1.1 Section 1: Principles Of The Armed Forces Covenant

We Hythe Marine Services Ltd will endeavour in our business dealings to uphold the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, which are:

  • No member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen
  • In some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved.

2.1 Section 2: Demonstrating our Commitment

Hythe Marine Services Ltd recognises the value serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to our business. We will seek to uphold the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, by:

  • promoting the fact that we are an armed forces-friendly organisation;
  • seeking to support the employment of veterans young and old and working with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), in order to establish a tailored employment pathway for Service
  • Leavers;
  • striving to support the employment of Service spouses and partners;
  • endeavouring to offer a degree of flexibility in granting leave for Service spouses and
  • partners before, during and after a partner’s deployment;
  • seeking to support our employees who choose to be members of the Reserve forces,
  • including by accommodating their training and deployment where possible;
  • offering support to our local cadet units, either in our local community or in local schools,
  • where possible;
  • offering a discount to members of the Armed Forces Community;
  • any additional commitments Hythe Marine Services Ltd could make (based on local circumstances).
  • Offer additional training to all personnel who are interested in our skills & want to pursue a trade

2.2 We will publicise these commitments through our literature and/or on our website, setting out how we will seek to honour them and inviting feedback from the Service community and our customers on how we are doing.

I you would like to know more please contact our team via the button below.

Lloyd’s Coded Welders: Why we’re different…


To ensure the highest welding standards are consistently met, all Hythe Marine Services welding procedures are developed in accordance with the recognised British/ISO Standards, using Lloyd’s rules and regulations and with the aid of Lloyd’s surveyors as witnessing authorities.

Our team of Qualified Welders carry out testing against Lloyd’s code-compliant processes using various welding methods including MMA, FCAW, MIG, MAG, TIG on many different materials, like carbon steels, stainless steels, Inconel, aluminium and CuNi. The final independent review is from a surveyor, tasked by Lloyd’s Register. The review process monitors and improves the safety and quality of construction requirements for shipbuilding, marine engineering, structural steelwork (BS EN 1090) and any general welding activities.

Lloyd’s Register Foundation is an independent global charity that helps to protect life and property at sea, on land, and in the air.” – The Lloyd’s Register


What is Lloyd’s Coded Welding?

Coded welding refers to those with official certification, whose welding work is traced and recorded to maintain the required quality standards. 

“Our value lies in our experience and reputation for quality inspection. We were there as shipbuilders went from using wood to using iron and steel. Today, we inspect that steel and qualify the welders and welding procedures that fabricators use to weld safety-critical equipment and structures.” – The Lloyd’s Register Foundation

Particular to the marine industry and Hythe Marine Services, the Lloyd’s Register provides the industry standard in coded welding. Originally Lloyd’s Register started out as a marine classification society in 1760. They are now a leading provider of professional services for marine engineering. The missions of Lloyd’s Register are improving safety and increasing the performance of critical infrastructures for clients in over 75 countries worldwide.”

Within shipbuilding and maintenance, welding is one of the most critical operations. If a weld was to fail, the entire structure is at risk of being compromised. Current quality expectations of welding have never been higher and are the central factor in the rules of all ship classification societies. The Welding Institute states, “Rules for shipbuilding are all written with the expectation of achieving safe shipping, including Lloyd’s Register.”


The importance of Coded Welding at Hythe Marine Services

When manufacturing fabricated components and systems, welding certification is critical to the assurance of structural and pressure integrity. All Classification Societies, such as Lloyd’s, ABS and DNV, require welders to be properly qualified for the task in hand and to hold official certification. Lloyd’s Register requires the inspection and subsequent NDT and mechanical testing to be witnessed by an approved third party, as well as witnessing the weld procedure qualification and welding of the test piece. Luke Fitzgerald, Director of value Engineering for Hythe Marine Services, explained the process of Lloyd’s inspection. 

We weld a test piece in our workshop as authorised by our company welding department. Lloyd’s witness the process ensuring it is welded in accordance with the given Weld procedure specification. On completion, it gets sent away for the required testing as defined in the relevant standards. When Lloyd’s confirms the test piece qualifies within the required acceptance criteria, we are given the go-ahead to be able to weld on the ship/site. Each time we do a job we are required to submit evidence that then gets sent to a third party for non-destructive testing, to prove the welding quality is in accordance with the relevant acceptance criteria.”

The official Lloyd’s Register Welding Certification Guide states, “Welding qualifications used for the construction, conversion, modification or repair of ships, other marine structures, offshore units and associated machinery which are classed or are intended for classification by Lloyd’s Register are to be manufactured, tested and inspected in accordance with the appropriate Lloyd’s Register Rules.”

We spoke to Hythe Marine Services’ Senior Welding Inspector/Head of welding, Paul Stone, to find out more about the weld test inspection process. “We carry out rigorous testing using  British Standards as well as EN ISO standards. These give us the guidelines to follow when developing Weld Procedure Qualification Records or carrying out welder qualifications.” 

All test pieces are visually inspected. If the piece is acceptable, the necessary NDT is carried out and mechanical testing when required. If the test piece passes, the welder qualification certificate is issued, signed and stamped by the Lloyd’s surveyor.

Hythe Marine Services bespoke welding services

When to use Coded Welding and Welding Inspections

Hythe Marine Services’ Director of Value Engineering explained, “Not just any welder can carry out the work we do, as you must have specialist qualifications. Any of the welding undertaken on these vessels requires you to be a Lloyd’s registered welder before you’re even permitted to step onboard.” 

When asked about specific projects that involve coded welding, Paul told us, “all welding carried out by Hythe Group involves using qualified welders and approved procedures. We can use it on not just warships for the MoD but also external customers on pipe systems or any pressure vessels or structural steelwork, which we now have accreditation for. Anything like that we will always be using qualified welders. We are very lucky here at Hythe Group as both our Director of Value Engineering and managing director appreciate the need to offer customers the highest quality of welding, which makes my job so much easier. Our welding department has always been backed, which means we can continually push to develop new procedures and bring in the suitable welding talent which we need. By achieving this I have found that we consistently get repeat work from customers every single day, who are pleased with the quality and also deadlines being met.”

Another priority that Hythe Marine Services stipulate is that all welding is visually inspected. Throughout the company, there are inspection personnel qualified for various levels. There are Visual Welding Inspectors CSWIP 3.0 who visually inspect the external welds, and another Welding Inspector CSWIP 3.1 who deals with materials, types of materials and assess any defects they may find. Finally, there’s the Senior Welding Inspector who has the extra knowledge and experience for both internal and external welding assessment along with welding quality and increased job knowledge. We are currently in the process of allowing all of our welders to become CSWIP 3.0 visual welding inspectors. All welding apprentices will also complete this course once they have finished the first 2 years of training.


How to become a Lloyd’s Coded Welder

Achieving the status of Lloyd’s Coded Welder requires the witnessing of a successful test weld by an external examiner, surveyor or testing body. The test examines the skills of the welder and their ability to produce a weld of satisfactory quality in accordance with supplied procedures. There are limits given on flaws associated with the shape of the weld bead, such as excess weld metal and concavity, to assess the welder’s true competence and skill.

After completing a weld following Lloyd’s approved weld procedures and materials, Hythe Marine Services’ arrange for a Lloyd’s surveyor to come in and carry out their external assessment. The Lloyd’s surveyor will witness the testing carried out by Hythe Marine Services’ welding inspectors, to ensure everything has been completed in accordance with the official weld procedure. Once the Lloyd’s witness and Senior Welding Inspector are satisfied with the assessment, the weld is then sent away for Non-Destructive Testing (NDT).
Paul Stone explained to us what these tests might involve. “NDT could be in the form of radiography, dye-penetrant inspection or surface crack detection.” depending on the type of weld configuration or material. 

If this is all that’s required for the specific qualification, then the Senior Welding Inspector writes up the welder qualification, which is then sent off to Lloyd’s who will review, sign and stamp it. Some welded plates may require additional testing using a laboratory where mechanical testing is carried out. Unlike NDT, mechanical testing is destructive, so the test weld won’t be returned. The test plate is cut up into sections so the relevant tests can be carried out. If the weld plate is satisfactory then the Senior Welding Inspector will complete the welder qualification to be signed and stamped by Lloyd’s. 

These qualifications will then be uploaded to the Hythe Marine Services’ system where it can be circulated to customers should they need to see it. Hythe Marine Services also ensure that our welders are prolongated every 6 months up to a 3 year period. Once the period has elapsed then we re-qualify them.

Lloyds register approved ship welding

The advantages of Lloyd’s Coded Welding 

For Hythe Marine Services, holding Lloyd’s Coded Welder status assures customers that they are meeting relevant quality standards that are recognised worldwide. Paul said, “The main benefit for customers is that by HMS using Lloyd’s Coded Welding they are stating they supply a quality process. This assures customers that the standards we operate to are proven to work. The main factor is that an external surveyor comes in and makes sure we are using the right materials, that the welders are testing in the correct positions, and that we’re using the right consumables against the given weld procedure specification.”

In essence, the customer is guaranteed a process that is quality assured and can be backed up with full traceability on all materials used.

Looking for a Lloyd’s Coded Welder? Contact us.

Hythe Group Introduce a New Joinery and Carpentry Workshop

Meet Peter Barker and Mike Budd

Hythe Group have opened up a brand new workshop specifically for woodworking projects. To find out more we spoke to experienced carpenters Peter Barker and Mike Budd, who recently joined the Hythe team.

Peter and Mike first worked with Hythe Marine Services (HMS) in May 2019, as contractors on a project for the Royal Navy’s Hunt Class minesweepers. After seeing their skill and work ethic, HMS offered them permanent roles within Hythe Group and in September 2019 they joined the team full-time.

The new joinery workshop

Hythe Marine Services’ shop floor previously focused solely on metalwork and fabrication. Metal welders and fabricators often work in cold environments, whereas woodwork requires a warm, dry workshop. Combining these two crafts under the same roof would have posed a potential fire hazard (between the sparks of welding and the wood shavings of joinery work) and so the decision was made to keep the two workshops apart. 

As a result, Hythe Group built a brand new workshop designed especially for woodwork, which is spacious, warm, clean and well-lit.

New team members Peter Barker and Mike Budd

Both Peter and Mike obtained their NVQ Levels 1,2, and 3 in Carpentry and Joinery whilst completing apprenticeships at shipyard companies. Throughout their careers, they have worked for numerous businesses within the marine engineering industry. 

Since his apprenticeship, Mike built a wealth of experience and skill working for A&P Shipcare, Sunseekers, Harris Pye Marine, Trimline, and BSA building and maintenance. During Mike’s time at A&P Shipcare, he worked on deck heads and bulkheads, built cradles for the ships

 to sit on, was part of the team dry docking ships and was involved in stripping out cabins.

Whilst working with various businesses, such as BAE Systems, Peter gained invaluable industry knowledge which he brought to HMS. Peter also spent time working for luxury yacht companies like Oyster and Compass Tenders. Throughout his time at Compass Tenders, Peter built and moulded high-end superyacht tenders from scratch, such as the Jupiter tender for their superyacht ‘Alisail’.

Prior to joining Hythe Group, Peter and Mike were working at the same company. Peter told us about a fantastic antique yacht he worked on during his time there. “I worked at a classic boatyard in Germany where we re-planked an antique boat from scratch. We used American cedar inboard plank and mahogany exterior plank, and the joinery consisted of old school scarf joints or for oak frames we used brass screws. It was traditional boat building in a very prestigious boatyard. A great project to be a part of.”

Through their previous company, Mike and Peter worked for Sunseekers on interior subfloors, roofing and decking. Interior fit-outs were always to an impeccably high standard. They recalled being in awe at the sheer size of the superyachts, and their unbelievable features like gyms and even cinemas! 

“The work that we do is really rewarding because ultimately, the end result is on display for everyone to see. Having worked with superyachts and other high-end clients, the standards are extremely high and the finishes must be top-notch. It’s great to finish a project and see all that hard work on display,” Mike Budd.

Joinery operations at Hythe Marine Services

What does this mean for Hythe Marine Services? 

With the new workshop, Hythe Marine Services can now provide custom high-quality joinery and carpentry services to the marine industry. This is a new in-house capability for Hythe Group, and they look forward to the different nature of projects it will bring. 

Since starting with HMS in September, Pete and Mike have been busy working on some exciting woodwork projects. These will usually begin with a drawing, cutting list and edging and finish with bespoke, handmade items that meet customer’s exact requirements. These projects include custom wardrobes with built-in beds, radiator covers and bathroom utility units. After drawing up designs for one customer, they built a bespoke kitchen suite using tongue and groove vertical lines. 

Mike commented: “Hythe Marine Services do exceptional work but it’s usually behind the scenes and hidden once the end product is completed. Our work is the final product, minus the finish, so it has to be perfect before leaving the workshop.” 

In the future, Pete and Mike are looking to do more woodwork for Royal Navy carriers, such as their cabin refits, bar tops and workspaces and are also hoping to expand within the building side of the business. Their diverse careers have given them a wide-ranging skillset which enables them to adapt to anything. Their skills go beyond woodwork to mechanical fitting and installations, with Mike and Pete often helping out with bulkheads, tracks and deckheads. They also spent a lot of time last year working on the HMS Queen Elizabeth adding hinges to fire doors. 

The new joinery workshop is now up and running within Hythe Marine Services. A great benefit to Hythe Group is the new workshop can also assist Building services on their projects where required. The new team with Peter and Mike is there to support the turnkey solutions HMS require. This gives customers the added ease of a one-stop-shop for their projects.

To find out more about how our bespoke woodworking services can help your next project, contact us here!


Bespoke storage and distribution solutions


Who and what is HOSMU?

HOSMU is a Hythe Group company which was introduced to support the mass production of custom metal fabrication projects, providing innovative solutions to customers’ storage and distribution challenges.

The HOSMU concept was developed in partnership with Heathrow Airfield Operations, the safety and workplace supplier, Our Soles Ltd. and proven engineering specialists, Hythe Marine Services (HMS).

The resulting turnkey solution is a concept driven, manufacturing business capable of designing, delivering and implementing consolidated and organised storage of essential resilience equipment.

This process has been designed to give customers the highest quality solutions, based on Hythe Marine Services knowledge and experience from the marine sector, including cost efficiencies and speed of a production line.


The Heathrow Airport project

Hythe HOSMU was installed airside at Heathrow Airport in readiness for winter 2019/20. The installation provided a new solution for a consolidated, single point of collection, for essential winter resilience operating equipment.

Operational efficiencies are instantly improved by placing all equipment into one modular system (situated in multiple locations airside) which ensure self-help snow and ice clearance equipment is organised and readily available. By providing a clear focal point for organistaion and storage HOSMU ensures operational equipment is returned, reducing the likelihood of trip hazards whilst lowering the need for tool replenishment.

The HOSMU for each stand or airside location is assembled depending upon the footprint and operational requirements of the area. Each unit can contain a number of functions such as:

  • Winter operations locker
  • Winter media distribution hopper
  • FOD (Foreign Object Debris) and POL (Polluted waste) wheelie bin storage

What was the problem Heathrow Airport’s winter resilience team faced?

You might be wondering what winter resilience really means? Heathrow has a team specifically dedicated to winter operations and they are entrusted to plan, prepare and manage robust strategies and resources for effective winter resilience. This may concern the shocks and stresses of winter weather, such as snow and ice, which impact airport operations.

Heathrow provides a number of useful tools and consumables which are kept in strategic areas of the airport for use by stakeholders and contractors as ‘self-help’. This ensures the safe passage of working areas in the event of ice or snow.

Heathrow had previously been using open mesh steel cages to house self-help equipment (brooms, shovels, scoops and buckets) and HDPE bins for the storage of winter media (grit and prilled de-icer) for in-situ distribution when required.

The open mesh steel cages offered no protection from the elements, nor did they provide any dedicated space for each of the self-help items to be kept in an organised fashion. Items were routinely being tarnished by exposure to the elements or lost in use.

In addition the HDPE bins were proving inadequate to store bags of prilled de-icer, especially when they had been partially used due to the products requirement to be kept dry at all times. Therefore a solution was required to enable safe, dry storage of the prill and grit allowing for accessible dispensing without any deterioration of the media or risk of manual handling issues – as grit or prill were lifted out of the bins in bulk, or scooped out from the bin whilst bending.

During a routine meeting with the Heathrow Winter Operations team to discuss the provision of PPE and safety workplace supplies (specifically related to the self-help clearance of Snow) Neil Robinson, managing director of Our Soles, was asked to provide concepts for robust self-help equipment that could develop innovative solutions to enable the safe storage and distribution of the items.


Why was Hythe Marine chosen to solve the problem?

Neil has been servicing Hythe Marine with safety kit and uniforms for almost a decade. During this time his relationship with key personnel within Hythe Marine Services has grown, as has his understanding of their capabilities related to turnkey projects. Neil’s experience watching HMS work made Hythe Group the perfect partner for this task. The project was reliant upon Hythes Marine’s metal fabrication and engineering skill set, and familiarity with bespoke problem solving, to ensure delivery of a robust, elegant and effective solution.


How did HMS solve the problem?

The brief was as follows:

  1. Manufacture a storage unit whereby all self-help tools could be safely stored and easily accessed.
  2. Design a hopper capable of dispensing prilled de-icer and grit without jamming whilst ensuring the disposal of media doesn’t involve any unnecessary bending or lifting
  3. Design a bin clamping mechanism to keep wheelie bins located airside and locked into one location
  4. Make the component parts modular

Following a number of meetings between key personnel the requisite self-help products to be housed in the locker were decided upon and each of the media. Prilled De-Icer and Aviation Grit were analysed for their mechanical properties to enable prototype hoppers to be developed. A shadow-boarded ‘locker’ was quickly developed that would effectively, safely and securely keep the tools shielded from the adverse weather conditions and ready for use when required.

The ‘Hopper’ was more of a challenge. After multiple trials of the media (particularly the prilled de-icer) in cold, wet, warm and dry simulated environments, and experimenting with numerous dispensing mechanisms, HMS Director of Value Engineering Luke Fitgerald and Operations Manager Greg Strange finally developed a solution. This is now in effective operation at Heathrow, dispensing media reliably, safely and accurately.

Following multiple prototypes, client led revisions and design developments the final HOSMU locker prototype was produced in time for presentation at the Summer Airside safety event in May 2019. At the event it was presented to the airside community for feedback as well as the winter operations team for approval.


What was difficult about the bespoke requirements of this project?

This project was different to others Hythe Marine Services is used to due to the requirement for airside stand locations and proximity to aircraft. Numerous operational safety considerations needed to be adhered to in order to enable a safe and robust solution to exist airside. The most tricky element was the design and mechanism of the hopper, specifically for prill which is a notoriously difficult media to work with.

This is what led to the pioneering bespoke hopper design. All modular component parts have been bespokely manufactured to the original brief.


What is difficult to adhere to airport regulations?

Numerous operational safety instructions exist for contractors working airside at Heathrow of which HOSMU are proud to have complied with in delivering this project.

Specific safety management systems were built to assist the project in complying with HOSMU’s obligations to the project Risk and Method Statements, control and procedures for aerodrome works.

Adherence to ground operations in terms of use of personal protective equipment, airside cleanliness and FOD management in accordance with the airport operations plan, alongside our commitment to environmental management and sustainability, all featured as part of the project delivery.


Future Development Plans for HOSMU?

To provide additional operational resource and further reduce hazards in operational areas, we are proposing the following additional equipment storage:

  • Cone and Cone trolley storage
  • Sawdust storage for minor spills
  • A tiered approach to chock storage

This will give ramp users a one-stop location for all equipment associated with the safe and efficient turnaround of aircraft, as well as providing our stakeholders with the necessary tools to carry out their role.


University of Portsmouth Installation

Hythe Building Services designed and delivered the Mechanical services for this prestigious project with Kier Construction for Portsmouth University.

The Hythe Building Services team stripped out all existing Domestic, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Services and installed a completely new system that included new wash hand basins within the new Consultant rooms, a VAV system complete with heating coils to control the optimum environment within the teaching spaces, intricate BMS modifications to incorporate the new systems onto the existing BMS Schnieder infrastructure. 

The project was a great success and Hythe went on to secure and deliver two other extremely time sensitive projects with Kier for The University of Portsmouth, our relationship with Kier and the University continues to flourish.

Hythe Group – Where it all began

Today, Hythe Group specialise in the provision of premium design and engineering services. The Group operates globally within a variety of industries such as building, commercial, marine as well as the storage and distribution sector.

But where did Hythe Group begin?


A little history

The original business, Hythe Marine Services (HMS), are renowned worldwide for their work on bespoke design and engineering services. As HMS developed a strong reputation within the marine sector, demand for their design and engineering services started to diversify beyond that of the marine market. 

At this time the company’s sole focus was not on growth, or being the biggest company within the industry, speak with Hythe Group Director Josh Mathias and he will tell you it’s all about being the best at what you do, that reputation for delivering unrivaled quality and service is far more valuable than purely chasing market domination. 

Having said that, in 2016 a highly motivated team within HMS pitched the idea of separating the company into two entities. One side would continue operating within the marine sector and the other would focus wholly on the building industry to meet growing demand. They saw a requirement to take on small prefabrication and installation packages for larger companies, who held a major part of contracts. The demand was clear, these larger companies were over stretched and needed a reliable, flexible and motivated team to take care of the problem. Josh Mathias commented that, “funnily enough this attitude towards work was how Hythe Marine Services was built and is what continues to ensure its growth today.”

Anyone who’s done it will tell you that the thought of starting a new business is daunting. However when it became clear there was an opportunity for slow, controlled growth, and high demand for quality labour within the commercial sector, expansion seemed to be a good and progressive option. And so in 2016, the team took the leap and Hythe Pipe Services was born, which later got rebranded as Hythe Building Services in 2019. 

“It’s largely because of that team that the idea became a reality. Today the foundations have become even stronger by bringing in like minded people to help drive the company in the correct direction at a controllable rate.” Josh Mathias | Director |Hythe Group 

Today Hythe Building Services (HBS) specialise in bespoke pipework, welding, fabrication and design services within the industrial, commercial and public sectors. For HBS to succeed, in this new and extremely competitive market, the team focused predominantly on controlled growth and the maintenance of Hythe Group’s reputation with solid client relationships and outstanding project deliverance. 

Three years later, in 2019, Hythe HOSMU was formed. This division within Hythe Group is a concept driven manufacturing business capable of designing, manufacturing and implementing consolidated and organised mass storage and distribution solutions. The team specialise in providing bespoke solutions to unique storage and distribution challenges, access limitations and/or functional hurdles. 

Hythe HOSMU was developed in partnership with Our Soles Ltd. and Heathrow Airport, to provide bespoke storage and distribution solutions to Heathrow’s winter resilience team. Although this is the youngest company within Hythe Group, HOSMU will soon begin to take on larger projects of mass-produced and bespoke items, using its knowledge from the marine fabrication sector to fast track its quality and set up. 

“Hythe Group were the perfect team to choose for the Heathrow project. I had seen how diverse their skills in metal fabrication and engineering really were, skills that were essential for the bespoke nature of the Heathrow Airport project.” Neil Robinson | Managing Director | Our Soles Ltd.

After the creation of Hythe HOSMU Josh decided it was time to group the companies together and link them all under one umbrella. The overarching Hythe Group brand now allows for the promotion of each company’s diverse skill set through one single platform. 


The role of the team

A unique advantage for Hythe Group businesses is the ability to create brand new companies using existing team members. Hythe Marine employee capabilities are recognised globally for their quality service, high standards, unique skills and attention to detail. These characteristics have carried through to the newer companies and employees.

Many team members have worked together for decades, harking back to when HMS was under previous titles Avrotech Design and Mathon Engineering. These long term employees of Hythe Group are known by name with industry-leading organisations, such as the Royal Navy, Babcock, BAE systems and the Ministry of Defence.

The small team who came up with the idea to split HMS into marine and building divisions are a great example of the Hythe Group mentality. It was because of their knowledge and dedication that the idea became a reality. Since then, the foundations have become even stronger by bringing in like-minded people to help drive the company in the correct direction.

We asked Josh Mathias about the team dynamic at Hythe Group: “The entire group at all levels enjoy improving themselves. The senior workforce is happy to pass on their knowledge to our apprentices and it’s great to watch them support the younger generation by passing on their knowledge within specific trades. In years to come, these apprentices are going to be highly skilled in multiple disciplines, making them the future must-haves hybrid traders of the industry.”


Group diversity

The staff turnover at Hythe Group is almost non-existent. Because of this, there are ever-growing amounts of in-house knowledge to continue the overall goal of upskilling and developing the workforce throughout the group.

Creating Hythe Group has made the company extremely versatile in applying their core skill sets. The workforce are able to comfortably move around to meet demand due to their wide-ranging experience. Despite being standalone companies, Hythe Group’s integrated teams ensure they are able to assist each other in periods of high or low demand. 

Team members are used to following incredibly strict policies and procedures. As a result the group is renowned for their ability to complete demanding turnkey projects in what are usually very short time scales.


What comes next?

An inevitable result of carrying out quality work and building strong relationships is an increase in demand. Hythe Group predicts the continued natural growth of each business for the coming years. This will be managed by selecting the right companies to work with, by taking on turnkey projects and supporting a growing workforce. 

Hythe Group’s immediate focus is the development of each business within the group, working to solidify their foundations, maintain the Hythe brand reputation and grow at a controllable rate. But most importantly, Hythe Group will ensure both the workforce and their clients are being looked after. 

To discuss how Hythe Group can assist with your next project?