Dorset steel spans Atlantic

A landmark government building designed and made in Dorset has opened in the capital of Belize in Central America.

Structural steel firm John Reid & Sons Ltd (REIDsteel) manufactured steel sections in Christchurch before shipping them 5,000 miles across the Atlantic to Belmopan.

They were used to construct the Government of Belize’s new headquarters for its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration.

REIDsteel – which has exported to more than 140 countries to date – also provided glazing and cladding with innovative panels to give the building a modern and stylish look.

Business development manager Pepe Oliva said: “The new headquarters is a very smart building which creates an excellent first impression.

“We used perforated aluminium panelling in a variety of shapes and sizes on its façade to create a contemporary yet corporate look worthy of its status as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ new headquarters.

“It was a pleasure to work with our local partners on this landmark project in a country and region where we have such strong relationships.”

Pepe added: “It is nice to think that steel from Dorset is now on the other side of the world having travelled more than 5,000 miles by sea.

“Logistically, it is a tried and tested process with sections fabricated at our manufacturing facility in Christchurch, packed in shipping containers on site and then transported by road to the appropriate port for shipping.”

REIDsteel worked with International Environments Limited, the leading design build and architecture firm in Belize on the project for the Government of Belize.

The 130-strong firm used 65 tonnes of steel, including 12 tonnes of cold rolled steel, with products from its preferred supplier British Steel. Kingspan Dri-Design panels were used on the exterior.

A total of 32 shipping containers were used to transport the sections to Belize where they were assembled on the other side of the Atlantic by International Environments Ltd.

Like REIDsteel’s other structures in the region, the new offices were designed to be earthquake and hurricane resistant.

REIDsteel has completed many projects across the Atlantic in the Caribbean and Central America over its 102 years of trading, including the $32.9 million Belize Dollars (£12.7m) Belize Civic Center in 2017.

Belmopan is the capital city of Belize and has a population of more than 20,000 people. Belize, which borders Mexico and Guatemala, is on the Caribbean Sea and gained Independence from Great Britain in 1981.

REIDsteel specialises in providing entire steel frame and building envelope solutions all under one roof.

Thanks to its in-house capabilities and expertise, it is regularly contracted to design, manufacture and supply complete steel structures including the cladding, glazing, louvres and staircases for projects anywhere in the UK, Europe and across the world.

They include bridges, hospitals, sports stadia, disaster resilient buildings, defensive structures, churches, schools, industrial & commercial buildings, warehouses and advanced aircraft hangars.