Teamwork paying off for steel firm

TEAMWORK: The SMD Southern Contracts Team on site at the five-storey, 60,000 sq ft Florence Building office block in Basingstoke, the first substantial job undertaken by the new team, at which 5,000 sq m of steel decking is being laid. Back from left, designer Harry Slater, construction manager Dave Mann and contract support Jon Nichols. Front, quantity surveyor Rich Hydes and SMD technical director Jamie Turner

A steel company helping to shape Britain’s skyline is set to revolutionise the way work is handled.

Dorset-based SMD Ltd is in the throes of completely restructuring work practices to provide a better service for clients.

The company, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and with more than 100 staff on the payroll, is forming a series of contract teams to oversee entire projects from design to completion.

SMD technical director Jamie Turner said: “We are creating ‘one-stop shops’ to deliver a better client service.

“Our new contract teams will improve efficiency, consistency and communications through increased collaboration.

“Our processes are becoming streamlined with a single self-managed team rather than different departments dealing with clients.”

SMD, one of only a handful of British firms which designs, manufactures and installs its own steel decking systems and associated concrete work, has successfully piloted the contract team idea.

The company is actively recruiting new team members. See or call 01202 718898 for details.

Quantity surveyor Rich Hydes leads a team of designer Harry Slater, construction manager Dave Mann and contract support Jon Nichols.

Rich said: “It’s quite a change in the company dynamic with this team all sitting together at our offices in Tower Park, Poole and taking complete responsibility for entire projects.

“It is going well so far and the beauty of this system is that we all bring our own expertise to the team and we are learning broader skill sets at the same time and becoming much more experienced.”

Having piloted the first team since January, SMD, which helped build the Shard and the Olympic Park in London, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and terminals at Heathrow Airport, converted the rest of the operational staff into contract teams at the start of August and early feedback from staff is positive.

The company, with regional teams covering the south, midlands, north and other teams covering small works, major works and concrete, is unaware of other similar firms running the same system within its sector.

Poole-based aerospace company Matt Black Systems gave a talk, organised by SMD’s HR manager Helen Rivero, about how the firm transitioned from a traditional structured business to a fully self-managed one over a 15-year period – and proved an inspiration for SMD’s own organisational change.

SMD, which also has offices in Nottinghamshire, Scotland and Dubai and a design base in India, was founded in Ringwood in 1987 and has carried out more than 200 construction projects locally, including at the RNLI, Poole, Bournemouth Airport and Bournemouth University.

The company’s aim is to be the UK’s leading provider of structural floor and roof solutions to Britain’s competitive construction industry.

Structural Metal Decks (SMD) was founded in 1987 and is based in Poole, Dorset. It designs, manufactures and installs metal decking systems for projects across the world. It employs more than 100 people – some based in India and Dubai. SMD has worked on some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including the Shard and The Olympic Village in London and Manchester’s Etihad Stadium.

For more information contact Cliff Moore at Deep South Media on 01202 534487 or 07469158458 or Ed Baker at Deep South Media on 01202 534487 or 07788392965.