Steelwork is on a 4,000 mile journey from REIDsteel in Dorset to the Caribbean for the reconstruction of a primary school devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.
Having exported to the Caribbean for more than 30 years, the Christchurch-based firm has rallied some of its suppliers who have shown their mettle to provide support free of charge, in kind or at a discounted rate to the total value of £35,000.
Main contractor in Tortola, Newton Construction Co Ltd, with whom REIDsteel has worked for 34 years, is leading the construction work and will erect the steelwork.
Virgin Islands businessman Peter Haycraft, who was a longstanding client of REIDsteel with his former business Road Town Wholesale, has pledged $1m of his own money for the school reconstruction to help the local community.
REIDsteel designed and manufactured the steelwork to withstand any future hurricanes and to give something back to the islands.
Now four 40ft cargo containers full of steel work are being shipped across the Atlantic for the project on the island of Tortola, with three more to follow in the coming months.
REIDsteel commercial director Tim Cook said: “We have built strong personal and professional relationships over many years in the Caribbean.
“It was terrible to see the damage wreaked by the hurricanes last year so we’re very grateful to Peter Haycraft for giving us the opportunity to help him give something back to Tortola.
“Our thanks to our suppliers and business associates who rallied around immediately. It is great to see the first shipment depart and we’re looking forward to the school rising from the ashes.”
Others involved in the project are architect AEMC Architectural Services, Civil Engineer AEC Consulting Engineers Ltd, Electrical Barry’s Electrical Services, Reliable Plumbing, S & D Security, and the British Virgin Islands Ministry of Education and Culture.
Hesketh Newton, managing director of Newton Construction Co Ltd, said: “We have made good progress so far and the new school will really begin to take shape with the arrival of the steelwork.
“As a local family-owned business of 40 years, we’re very pleased for the opportunity to give back by supporting this project.”
Peter Haycraft said: “I have worked closely with REIDsteel and Newton Construction Co Ltd for many years.
“I am delighted that we are all able to do something for the community following the hurricane and look forward to the school children arriving on the first day of term.”
The first ground has been broken for the reconstruction of the school, which is due to open in September 2019.
It will have state of the art classrooms with smart boards, computer suites, library, solar panels, wheelchair access and therapeutic suite for instruction of specially gifted kids.
REIDsteel designed the building to withstand 185 mile per hour winds and earthquakes based on Unified Building Code Occupancy Category III and IV.
All of its 26 buildings in the British Virgin Islands survived with only superficial damage after the hurricanes which lashed the region last year.
It has provided design and manufacturing services on a not for profit basis worth over £30,000 for the Enis Adams school. Its suppliers have also shown their mettle.
Tata Steel is helping with the supply of ComFlor® floor decking and providing Colorcoat® pre-finished steel including Colorcoat Prisma®, whilst Cardiff based Euroclad are giving finished roof systems.
Thirsk-based National Tube Stockholders has given steel tube and steel hollow sections, Joseph Ash Galvanising is hot- dip galvanising the structural steelwork and Ayrshire Metal Products has given secondary steel – cold rolled purlins
Barnsley-based BAPP has supplied industrial fasteners and bolts, Powell Gee of Shrewsbury has supplied fixings for floor decking and the external cladding envelope.
Kestrel Liner Agencies, a global Caribbean shipping specialist which offers weekly sailings from more than 145 ports to the Caribbean basin, is helping with shipment and Meachers Global Logistics with shipping services.
Andy Thorne, Kestrel group chairman, said: “In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria we were able to get people on the ground and provide specialist logistical and financial support to the region.
“A year on we are delighted to team up with our customers and partners to help rebuild the school. Our mission statement says it all, ‘Global reach – local focus’.”
REIDsteel has the capacity to design, manufacture and supply entire steel buildings – including their cladding and glazing – anywhere in the UK, Europe and across the World. The 130-strong company has exported to more than 140 countries to date.