Category Archives: REIDsteel Staff

REIDsteel Success at British Expertise Awards

By Tim Stiff, Senior Technical Director at Management Services

Components of the DFID-funded Rural Access Programme (RAP) in Nepal have been shortlisted for three major awards from British Expertise in recognition of the programme’s wide-reaching and sustainable impact on the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. Meanwhile, the consulting firm behind the programme’s design and implementation, IMC Worldwide, has itself been nominated in the category of Outstanding International Business (SME) for its work on RAP and other DFID-funded development programmes.

The UK has supported the development and construction of two bridges linking thousands of isolated communities in Eastern Nepal under the successful decade long Rural Access Programme. In July 2008, the GoN approached DFID for funding for the construction of the two bridges.

The overall RAP Bridge Component cost for both bridges and the Technical Assistance Consultancy for the project management and construction supervision by UK Consultant IMC Worldwide is approximately £5.9m (approximate because the of the exchange rate as the construction contract is priced in local currency).

The project involved the construction of two bridges one over the Sabha Khola River near a small town of Tumlingtar and the second over the larger Arun River at Leguwa. The Sabha Khola bridge provides an all-weather crossing of the seasonal river that was previously only fordable by four-wheel drive vehicles, motorcycles and pedestrians for approximately six months of the year.

The second bridge over the Arun river is considered the more important bridge as it provides an all season access for 203,000 people, approximately 280 kms of roads built under the various phases of the UK funded Rural Access Programme and enables the local people to be more able in conjunction with other UK funded projects in the district to lift themselves out of poverty and reduce their reliance on aid in both the immediate district and other six other districts directly served by the new crossing.

By comparison the total population in the Khadbari and Kharang districts directly affected, i.e within 5 kilometres of the Sabha Khola bridge site is currently only 3,300people. The bridge is however essential to the District as it provides all weather access to the Arun 3 hydroelectric project site, which means that by aiding infrastructure for the hydroelectric plant Nepal will be better able to address its current capacity shortfall in electric power generation and the District administration headquarters at Khadbari.

The bridge will also enable disaster relief agencies to cross the Sabha Khola River at all times of the year in the event of earthquakes or other disasters in the district.

There are little or no industries in the area apart from shop keeping, tailoring, vegetable farming and other small service business ventures. The main benefits of the bridges will be helping to secure food sufficiency through trade.

The agriculture income is generated from small scale seasonal farming of maize, groundnuts, bananas, mangos, pineapples oranges and rearing and selling of livestock. Locals will also have better access to services, such as health care.

The bridges project is being managed by the Redhill based UK Consultant IMC Worldwide under the broader Rural Access Programme, RAP2, and the consultant was  responsible for the conceptual design and layout and construction supervision of the bridges.

The foundations and abutments of the bridges have been designed to international standards in Nepal.

The two 120m bridges are currently the longest single span steel truss bridges in Nepal and were designed and fabricated in the UK by a well-respected UK firm Reid Steel based in Christchurch Dorset, to withstand earthquakes and flash floods.

It was also the first time that the cantilever launch method for the erection of the steel truss had been used in Nepal and this required detailed consideration of the erection methology to be built into the design. The bridge was cantilevered from both sides of the river with incremental erection of the truss bays facilitated by lifting the individual steel sections of the truss with gantry crane supplied as part of the truss steelwork.

Local residents, especially the more disadvantaged women, were hired where possible, and made a valuable contribution to the project by their involvement in mixing the large volumes of concrete required for the foundations, abutments and deck slab and construction of the gabion retaining walls and river protection works.

The Sabha Khola Bridge near Tumlingtar bridge was opened to traffic on 22nd January 2013 after taking 12 months to construct from start of foundations to the completion of the erection of the main truss and is an example of a successful transfer of technical, skills between the UK Technical Assistance Consultant and the Nepalese Contractors.

The Sabha Khola Bridge was formally inaugurated the Honourable Vidyadhav Mallik Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development and the Rt. Hon. Alan Duncan MP, Secretary of State for International Development on 29thApril 2013. Who is rpeorted to have said he was, “overjoyed that his favourite ‘Iron Lady’ Bridge (Sabha Khola) had received an award”.

The Arun Bridge at Leguwa was opened to traffic in October 2013. The official inauguration of the Arun Bridge took place in January 2014 with by the Nepal Chairman of the Council of Ministers with the and British High Commissioner and DFID Head of Nepal Office also in attendance.

International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, said: “These bridges designed and fabricated in Christchurch are a fantastic example of British business and British support making a real difference to some of thousands of very poor people in Eastern Nepal.

“It is a life-line that will allow communities to work and trade, send their children to school, and be better able to access vital services like health care without relying on aid.”

The Sabha Khola and Arun River bridge component has been specifically singled out in the category of Outstanding International Development Project for its role in helping hundreds of thousands of people lift themselves out of poverty and reduce their reliance on aid. The bridges have been described as “a lifeline” by Minister of State for International Development Alan Duncan, giving isolated communities in Eastern Nepal access to much-needed goods and services for the first time.


A Spot of Golf with HMG Coatings

By Draughtsman, Lee Stevens

On a glorious sunny morning the ‘Reid Golfers’ embarked on a cross country adventure to get to Test Valley Golf Course, Overton in rural ‘Ampshire!

It hadn’t meant to be cross country jaunt, but due to an oil spill on the motorway the and being stuck in a traffic jam for 25 minutes we decided to take the scenic route through the very narrow country lanes. We arrived safely and just about in time for the ‘meet and greet’ and ‘tee off times’.

HMG Coatings, one of our paint suppliers kindly asked REIDsteel if they could send a ‘crack team’ of golfers to their inaugural golf day to thank us for our custom. Unfortunately, the ‘crack team’ wasn’t available so Draughtsmen; Lee Stevens, Steve Roberts and and Structural Engineers; Richard Callaghan, James Spencer took up the challenge…

On an extremely challenging course the team had mixed fortunes, Lee had managed to purchase some ‘right handed’ golf balls (his words) and spent a great deal of the day exploring the wildlife in the rough, Richard had possibly been supplied ‘left handed’ ones and had similar fortunes. Steve and James did us proud with very respectable scores and Steve in particular played his best ever round of golf which included 5 pars in a row to shouts of ‘Bandit’ from Lee.

At the 19th hole a fine carvery was served with a couple of refreshing pints. The trophies were presented and unfortunately this time we came home empty handed, but we all had a fine days golf and thank our hosts HMG Coatings for a very well organised day.

Fire Safety Training at REIDsteel

Established in 1992, Abbey Fire Extinguishers Ltd are a family run business who specialise in all fire extinguisher and safety services across Dorset and Hampshire. John Fosbery a retired Dorset Fireman and owner of Fire Safety Company, Abbey Fire came to visit us to train our new Fire Warden recruits.

John regaled us with his tales of being a Fireman for much of his working life and was an informative and lively demonstrator of the many types of fire extinguishers needed on an expansive site like REIDsteel’s.

Across the office and workshops, the training gave five REIDsteel employees new Fire Warden status and 22 more people can now efficiently operate various fire extinguishers.

Danny Bradshaw from our stores department and now an official REIDsteel Fire Warden said that the course made him think about fire safety in a more focused way and that “sometimes it’s not obvious until you’re told”.

A Christmas Treat in Spring

Photo courtesy of The Palace Theatre

Robert Green, fabricator and welder here at REIDsteel won the coveted company Christmas raffle prize of a theatre trip to London.

He and his wife, Vicki finally got the chance to go on their trip this Easter bank holiday. They went up to London by coach and stayed at the Grade II listed Charing Cross Hotel, which Vicki described as “sumptuous and elegant”.

Overlooking The Strand and near Trafalgar Square it was ideally situated for the couple to be proper tourists to the capital.

They roamed around Covent Gardens before attending the matinée showing of The Commitments at The Palace Theatre. The most recent musical to headline at the theatre is based on the book by Roddy Doyle and has been much acclaimed.

The show follows the mishaps and adventurers of a ragtag group of musicians who become “the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced”.  Bob and Vicki greatly enjoyed the show especially as their seats gave them a perfect view.

Afterwards, they took a taxi through London to Brick Lane for a traditional British curry! In the morning they ended their stay with trip on the London Eye. The unusually pleasant weather allowed for a clear panorama across the city.

Bob said they couldn’t fault the whole trip and Vicki agreed, saying that they had a “wonderful and memorable time” that they would not necessarily have treated themselves to otherwise.

We’re glad that Bob and Vicki had such a lovely time and we look forward to seeing who will win the prize this Christmas!

Sport Relief 2014 at REIDsteel

While we do have our own successful athletes at REIDsteel, we thought we would take Sport Relief a little easy this year.

Our red themed “non-uniform” day brought out the colourful side to some of our draughtsmen’s personalities and the whole office looked tickled pink or red in this case dressed in their own hues of red.

By spending the day in the red and entering the Sport Relief official “Pick a Sweaty Celebrity” competition we raised £106. Congratulations to the winner, Lee Stevens who wisely chose Pixie Lott as the “sweatiest celebrity”.

Lee commented on the day, “Having a child of my own and watching the poor children of the World living as they do brings tears to my eyes every Sport Relief or Comic Relief Day. The easiest thing I can do is dress up and look daft for a day to help out in a minuscule way. The morning commute to work on my bicycle raised a few chuckles for oncoming drivers, hopefully for the bright red spiky wig I was wearing!”

Our wonderful resident baker, Shipping Manager Ana supplied our 120 staff with a delicious selection of cakes raising £44.14.

We’re no Davina McCall or David Beckham, but we’re glad that we could contribute to the total raised on the broadcast night of £51,242,186.

REIDsteel on BBC South Today

If you were watching BBC South Today yesterday, you might have spotted us!

Alistair Fee, a journalist from the BBC came to visit our five acre site to have a look at what we do and talk to our Contracts Director, Simon Boyd about the shortly-to-be released budget from Chancellor, George Osborne.

Alistair seemed somewhat fascinated by our design, fabricate, ship and erect process that creates a hive of busy workers during the day from cutting to welding to packing.  He was impressed at our near 95 year history and ability to build complex steel structures in over 140 countries.

Talking to Fabricator/Welder, Craig Beale from Workshop 6, he was able to hear about REIDsteel’s steady flow of business throughout the economic downturn due to this vast experience. It is evident that we would like more support from the government and local council to take on more young people like Craig who progress through their apprenticeships with a hard-working ethos and desire to learn.

Filming live for the 6.30pm BBC South Today programme, Alistair asked Simon for his comments on the announced budget. Simon made it clear that while the “devil is in the detail”; it appears that the Chancellor does want to encourage growth in the manufacturing sector.

The emphasis on export business is of great interest to us as we export 80% of our business to an average of 20 different countries per annum, but nothing to the EU.

While we are not situated in the hub of the British steel industry, we make up for this in our business model that encourages natural expansion without relying on lenders. This means that while many of our competitors went under during the recession, we were able to make plans to increase the size of our workshops.

We are hopeful that the Chancellor’s budget will have a positive trickle-down effect through businesses like ourselves to the people who work and live in our local community.

REIDsteel Out and About in Bournemouth

Working with Civils Contracting Limited, this extension to the existing Hangar 12 at Bournemouth Airport has a clear span of 100m, is 12m deep and 22m high to the eaves. The Main Contractor’s work started on this project in the summer of 2013 and we commenced assembly of the main truss at the beginning of October 2013.

Being a very unusual and local job, it was decided to install a timelapse camera in order to record progress, managed between bouts of the windiest weather experienced since 1987.

This camera takes a photo every 10 seconds and these can then be played back in sequence and roll like a film. The effect is that we can see the action of many days taking place at a super quick pace. Within the space of a couple of minutes, the whole front arch of the hangar appears before your eyes.

With 80% of our work destined for overseas markets it is unusual to have such a project on our doorstep and all REIDsteel staff from the office and works were given the opportunity to visit when the truss had been pre-assembled at ground level, in preparation of the big lift. The chance to get up close and personal with a steel structure doesn’t come along often and gave the staff a taste of what our site teams can achieve with the materials designed, drawn and manufactured at our Christchurch facility.

Once the pre-assembly work had been carried out, it was then time for the 140T truss to be lifted into position, using a 500T and a 1000T crane. Due to the ever-changing weather, the procedure, originally being delayed by two weeks, was then brought forward 24 hours to take advantage of a perfectly still day. With the help of our suppliers, Civils and Bournemouth International Airport, we were given the green light to go ahead with the lift, which was witnessed by the Designer, Richard Callaghan and Draughtsman, Steve Roberts.

Richard Callaghan was on site the day the main lift occurred. He said of his visit to site:
“All personnel were on site early and ready to lift the frame as soon as the light permitted. The complex nature of a lift of this magnitude merited the earliest start possible due to the hire cost of the large cranes which were required for the 140 tonne load.

On the ground, the custom made lifting equipment looked unusually large; but once it was attached to the frame, it looked much smaller. Nevertheless, it was too late for second guessing; the calculations had been checked and re-checked, and, in theory, all was in order.

Not Richard Callaghan's Day Job!

When the frame was lifted off the trestles and the lifting gear looked solid, I could relax a little. As time went on, and the truss was slowly lifted into place, it was only connecting the frame to the columns which remained a concern. As expected, bolting the frame into place proved a long and laborious process. However, thanks to the hard work and level heads of our team of erectors, the connections were completed.

Once the cranes had started their dismantling process, our team of erectors could enjoy a well-earned breakfast sometime in the middle of the afternoon.

All in all, the day proved to be a success. The lift started promptly, the weather remained calm, the truss was lifted into place safely, the difficult connections were overcome, the client’s representative appeared to be happy and I had a very tasty lunch in the flying club café. However, my overriding memory of the day is that I wish I had worn two pairs of socks!”

Christchurch Christmas Pud 10K Run

Chris Batty (quality assurance assistant), Tony Rendall (draughtsman), John Sinkinson (company accountant) and Matthew Way (project engineer) recently entered this year’s local Christmas 10k run. This family fun event has taken place annually for over a decade. It allows runners from over Dorset and Hampshire of all abilities to take a run along the River Avon, through the roads of Burton.

The course takes runners through a part of Burton that perhaps locals don’t visit often. Despite this, it is really quite picturesque with large hedgerows marking the way. The farmland roads make for a good, flat course; perfect for a personal best.
However, the best part is receiving a congratulatory Christmas pudding upon crossing the finish, so everyone’s a winner! The day is a lovely festive start to the Christmas season. Everyone was still very much in the spirit, even though the Christmas puddings this year turned out to be just a tad unfit for consumption.

Our resident triathlete, Tony finished 35th overall with a time of 37:34. Matthew and John followed him across the finish line shortly after with times of 51:13 and 53:40 respectively. Chris came close behind with a time just past the hour mark.

Even though Chris trained more than he usually would, he suffered a hamstring pull just as he was reaching the third mile. Despite this he carried on and was met by John at the finish with a nice, hot cup of soup. Chris says he is determined to come back next year and Matthew agrees, aiming to cut his time by at least three minutes.

There was a good team spirit amongst our REIDsteel runners, with just a hint of friendly rivalry.  Matthew explains how it is nice being around a group of likeminded people and that even away from your team mates, the pace you run at gives you a group of people to keep you steady and runners ahead to keep you competitive.

Christchurch Runners, part of the East Christchurch Sport and Social Club organise the event. They generously provided timekeepers, marshals and hot drinks to warm up runners and spectators on the bright, but nippy winter morning.

Out of 519 people, the REIDsteel runners all did really well, with no one coming in last! We are really proud of them and hope to see them share their Christmas puddings with us next year!

REIDsteel in the International Business Community

At REIDsteel, we pride ourselves on the relationships we build with individuals, businesses and organisations across the world. So when our Sales Manager, Mike Chappell bumped into Richard Pelly, Director General of British Expertise he found himself heading to Burma (Myanmar) on one of REIDsteel’s more intriguing trade missions.

British Expertise is an independent, not for profit company who have a close relationship with the government funded UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). They work to forge links between businesses and international embassies and commercial offices in order to better assist export opportunities.

Burma (Myanmar), as the media readily reports has long had its struggles and human rights issues. It is in the process of change that everyone hopes will be for the better. The recent trade mission consisted of a schedule of meetings and events where contact was made with local businesses and ministries who were pleased to share their views of the market and potential for future growth.

Huge challenges lie ahead for all involved, but REIDsteel are pleased to have put their name out there. “We know we are good at working in difficult and growing markets” says Mike and we would endeavour to compete to provide reliability, quality and true value for money in Burma (Myanmar).

From Draughtsman to Triathlete

Tony Rendall has been a draughtsman at REIDsteel for fifteen years. In his free time he is a keen triathlete having competed in many events over the years.

We offer our sincere congratulations to him, as he recently came 15th at the 2013 Triathlon World Championships in London. Here’s what he has to say about his triathlon training and experiences:

“I race at Olympic distance and Sprint distance Triathlon events in the UK and abroad. For the Olympic distance these consist of a 1500m swim, followed by a 40km cycle, and finish with a 10km run and take around 2 hours to complete.

The Sprint races cover half of these distances but are run at a very fast pace (virtually flat out) so are just as hard.

I usually train in excess of 10 hours a week including double sessions before and after work to keep me competitive and near the front end of the field.

I have represented Great Britain at the last two age group World Championship grand finals in New Zealand and London, and also at this year’s European Championship finals in Turkey.

New Zealand 2012 was my first World Championship and it was an amazing experience. To be honest I was a little depressed after they were over, as I’d worked and raced all year to qualify for the event.

There were 150,000 people watching the races over the week in the city while we were there, and it still makes me a bit tingly now thinking about it.

They closed off the north side of Auckland City to do the race and the same happened this year in London. Racing round the coast road in New Zealand was fantastic but so was racing through closed roads in London.

In Auckland the swim was in the harbour which was really cold, but in London it was in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, just a bit warmer. In Turkey it was 22 Degrees Celsius in the water and the air temperature was over 30! Three big races and three completely different events.

I get to race in some really great places in the UK alone, so I haven’t really got a favourite event. I try and get to foreign or bigger races earlier so I do sometimes get a bit of time to sight see and enjoy the atmosphere.

2013 has been my most successful year so far, having finished 9th at the European Age Group Championships and 15th at the London World Age Group Championships out of 124 finalists. I was very pleased to be only 2 minutes 30 seconds behind the winner at the Worlds, so my training is definitely helping propel me in the right direction.

It makes me very proud to represent my country at this level, while doing something I really enjoy, and it’s nice to be around such focused and professional people.

At the World Champs in London there were 83 nations represented, which is more than there ever has been at any other mass event held in the capital before. As the biggest growing sport in the UK it also means that the competition here and abroad is very high.

Hopefully with some hard training over the winter I can stay at the sharp end and achieve the goals that I have set myself.”