Tag Archives: Staff

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.

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 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!

The Importance of Resilient Structures

cycloneThe only difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon is the location where the storm occurs.

They all happen in the same way:

Warm water heats the air and it starts to rise, and begins to spiral. The warm air will be very moist and will start to condense. As the warm air spiral goes up into colder air, it becomes even warmer and lighter, so it rises and spirals faster, sucking in more warm moist air from the surrounding sea. This enormous heat-engine, powered by the heat in the sea, is a storm formation.

When a building stands in the path of the wind, the windward wall tends to block the air, and the air pressure increases. This force can cave in walls, smash doors or columns or bracing systems, or push buildings completely over. As it passes over, the wind can come from every direction.

If there is an opening in the windward side, the high pressure can find its way into a building. The whole building can be blown outwards, like a balloon. What makes the situation worse is that the wind is not a steady pressure but shaking.

The rain-fall by itself can damage structures by washing away poor quality walls; and by overflow cutting under foundations; or the sheer weight of water on flat roofs. Hail can smash down even quite strong roofs. Rain causes floods and floods cause land-slides. Hurricanes cause sea surges and waves. The effect of these threats can be more damaging than the rain as the water is much heavier.


On November 8th, Typhoon Haiyan (known in the disaster area as Typhoon Yolanda) hit the ocean facing capital city of Leyte province, Tacloban on the central island of the Philippines at 195mph.

The visible destructive force of a typhoon is the violent wind. However, the very low air pressure continues to suck sea water into the storm’s core. This causes the sea level to rise several feet. The extreme winds whip this extra-high surge of water into extra-high waves. When this surge, and the waves in it, hit a coast-line, the effects on flood defences and on buildings can be more serious than the damage from the wind. This is made worse by the geography of Tacloban, at the end of a narrowing bay, which increases wave surge heights. In the Philippines, the storm surge swept waves as high as 15ft into Leyte and Samar before moving onto areas of Southern Luzon and Bogo in northern Cebu. The category 5 storm has been identified as strongest in recorded history.

Annually, the Philippine islands battle against an average of 20 typhoons. Last year, typhoon Bopha killed more than 1,100 people and caused $1bn of damage. The geographical location of the Philippines and their economic position make it hard for the national government and the international community to prepare for such events. Very few of the buildings are built to resist the full strength of typhoons, never mind category 5 storms.

The country and the world have been left reeling from the devastation caused. It is hard to assess the extent of the damage and begin recovery, but it is clear that aid is needed and solutions to rebuilding the Philippines for the future need to be found.


REIDsteel first worked in the Philippines in 1996 with Balfour Beatty to construct a BICC cable factory. We went on to help BICC expand their operations in the area over the next decade.

After starting a collection box and with our shipping manager, Ana Monti baking cakes for donations, we raised just over £600 in 3 days for the DEC appeal fund. We sent our donation out quickly to hopefully support initial aid, but are continuing to collect.

There will be no quick or easy solution for the Philippines. The infrastructure of a significant portion of the country needs to be rebuilt and redeveloped as extreme weather becomes more common. Having worked in countries around the globe overcoming difficulties from all angles, we offer our sincere support to our clients in the Philippines and to aid organisations.


REIDsteel shows how buildings can be strengthened to resist cyclones here:

And to resist Tsunamis here: http://www.reidsteel.com/information/tsunami_resistant_building.htm

This information includes the understanding that building foundations have to be big enough to resist uplift and sideways load. The cladding has to be designed to resist the maximum wind pressure from all directions. And a length of ridge vent, away from the building ends, always has suction on the outside, so can help reduce unwanted pressure.

REIDsteel’s technical director, Rollo Reid explains that REIDsteel buildings begin with a suitable shape with hipped roofs of a 14 degree slope. REIDsteel provide a well-researched and accurately engineered design with correctly made connections and straight-forward load paths to bring the loads to ground; to foundations that are designed to resist to the pressure loads of a hurricane.


REIDsteel hurricane resistant buildings have been built all around the world in all the high wind areas: Pacific Islands, Mauritius and Madagascar, Philippines and South East Asia, all over the Caribbean and Central America (As well as Iceland, Greenland, the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic). They always embrace the best design principles, and they survive Hurricanes.

In 1995, The Island of Antigua was hit in close succession by Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn. These were intense, went all the way round through 360 degrees, and lingered a long time. Almost every building on the Island was damaged. Of the 40 REIDsteel hurricane resistant buildings on the Island, all were intact and the contents safe. REIDsteel have never had major damage by a Hurricane or Polar Wind in living memory.

You can get in contact with us about our resilient structures here.

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.”


Summer at REIDsteel

This year was the 50th annual fundraiser for the Mudeford RNLI lifeboat crew, with more people than ever before turning out to enjoy the faire and watch the spectacular Raft Race.

Entering crews throw on fetching fancy dress and set sail on an equally fashionable raft to raise money for Mudeford RNLI station. Among others, there were teams representing Highcliffe Charity Players, Priory Vet Group and of course, REIDsteel.

July 2013 marked the sixth time that REIDsteel have entered the infamous Mudeford Raft Race. Confidence was high leading up to the event having previously won three times in succession.

To recognise the outstanding achievement by Andy Murray at this year’s Wimbledon Tournament it was decided amongst the crew that Tennis would be the theme for this year’s raft, many thanks go to Paul at Solo Signs for donating his time and logo’s to help theme this year’s raft.

As REIDsteel is situated in a coastal town, many of its employees sail or enjoy a keen interest in boating. This involvement in the marine industry has enabled the REIDsteel crew to raise the most sponsorship of all teams participating in the event several years running.

Their mission to raise as much money as possible is close to home as REIDsteel’s marine assistants; Simon Barnett and Daniel Pitcher are both RNLI Crew members on-board Mudeford Atlantic 85 Lifeboat.

The team wouldn’t want to see their colleagues go to sea without the essential equipment needed to help save lives at sea.

Leigh Keynes, a fabricator and glazer says that the event is a brilliant way to bring all the staff at REIDsteel together. Whether sat in the boat or on the harbour it’s a great day out and a chance to share a mini sandwich or two.

As the sun shone, paddles were wielded, but the race became a hard one as the crew battled against strong winds and a path-blocking rogue raft. Good weather and high morale couldn’t help our team and they were pipped to the post by New Milton Round Table.

The REIDsteel crew will return next year, even more determined to reclaim their crown!

Slow boat to China

Shipping a small parcel abroad is enough to cause me to have a headache so sending massive steel structures, like aircraft hangars and bridges from a small town in Dorset to 130 countries worldwide must surely be enough to cause the mother of all migraines.

To find out just how difficult a job this is I had a chat with Ana Monti, REIDsteel’s Despatch and Shipping Manager.

In the five years that Ana’s been with the company she has shipped hundreds of hangars, bridges, office buildings and warehouses to places as far flung as Mongolia, Nepal and the Falkland Islands.

Ana maintains (although I’m not sure I believe her) that it’s not particularly difficult to organise the shipping, as long as you don’t mind filling in reams of paperwork, but there can be unexpected pitfalls.

Two of the main problems in recent years have been the slow-down in the economy and the fluctuating cost of fuel. The economic situation has meant quite a few shipping companies have gone out of business.

Of those that remain, rather than put the price up to customers some control their fuel costs by getting the ships to go at half their normal speed.

While it’s good that costs don’t skyrocket, it’s far from ideal to discover that a shipment that was due to arrive in, let’s say, July actually arrives in September.

Thankfully, because Reid’s has been shipping its products around the world for almost a century, they are well used to making contingencies and Ana says it’s rare that this ‘go slow’ causes major problems for customers.

Aside from being supremely organised and having an excellent eye for detail, I ask Ana what other skills she thinks are necessary to do her job. Surprisingly her answer is “a good knowledge of the world’s religious calendar.”

Festivals, such as Eid for example, mean some ports close down completely, so knowing what’s coming up when planning a shipment is essential to her delivery scheduling.

Now that’s not something you’d see on everyone’s CV.


From the Outside in

Alan Newman, REIDsteel’s Safety Advisor

REIDsteel has been designing and building structures around the world for almost 100 years but what sort of a company is it and who are the people that make it happen?

To find out I’ve been given unique access behind-the-scenes and I plan to share what I discover so you too can get an insight into what makes this company tick.

Before I do anything else I have to have a tour of the site and a health and safety briefing from Alan Newman, REID’s Safety Advisor. Alan has been with Reid for 24 years, having started in the maintenance department.

With so much heavy steel and cutting, lifting and finishing equipment on site, safety has always been a priority for the company. However, in recent years the image of health and safety has suffered and BBC One’s The Wright Way, a sitcom written by comedian Ben Elton, hasn’t done anything to improve it.

Alan is pretty sanguine about this. He knows people might raise their eyes to heaven when he has to pick them up on a point of safety but he also knows that good procedures prevent accidents that keep his colleagues out of A&E.

They also keep REID’s excellent reputation and health and safety record intact.

While we’re chatting near the head office building, one of the site operatives comes out of a door in a rush, greets Alan and slightly trips over the corner of a box.

“That wouldn’t happen if you stuck to the path,” says Alan to his rather embarrassed colleague. Alan points to the brightly coloured pedestrian pathway that’s painted on the floor outside the door and all around the site. It’s hard to miss but this very minor incident highlights why it’s worth following the rules around here.

I know I will.