A construction company formed in the year building work started on the channel tunnel is celebrating its 30thanniversary after growing to be one of the leading players in the UK steel industry.
Structural Metal Decks, now known simply as SMD, has shaped Britain’s skyline by helping to build iconic structures such as the Shard and the Olympic Park in London, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and terminals at Heathrow Airport.
The company was founded by Rowan Structures on February 9 1987, worked out of a small office at Teal House, Ringwood, employed just a handful of staff and quickly found its feet as the construction industry was recovering from the recession in the 1980s.
SMD’s rise to prominence coincided with the increasing use of metal decking across the industry and the company, then selling just one type of decking, hit the £1m turnover benchmark before the 1980s were out.
SMD worked closely with Firth Steels before its parent company was taken over by Severfield Reeve in 1995. A management buy-out by Sid Pratten and Roger Firth followed and the company as it is today was born.
Now based at Tower Park, Poole, and employing more than 100 people, SMD is one of only a handful of British firms which designs, manufactures and installs its own steel decking systems and associated concrete work.
Ben Pratten, who became SMD managing director in 2014, said: “It is testament to the loyalty, devotion and sheer hard work of everyone who has worked for the company that we have reached this 30th anniversary milestone.
“The construction industry, competitive at the best of times, has gone through a number of economic downturns, but we have survived, thanks to a quality product, an excellent workforce and continued investment and technical innovation.
“SMD has built a strong reputation throughout the industry as a reliable manufacturer and sub-contractor and we have grown the business by offering additional products and services to support our client-centric approach.
“We understand the importance of safety, reliability, quality and excellent service, and we always work in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.”
SMD, which moved to new Tower Park HQ, The Outlook, in 2006, also has offices in Nottinghamshire, Scotland and Dubai and a design base in India.
More than 200 construction projects carried out locally since 1987 include the RNLI, Poole, the arrivals building at Bournemouth Airport, Bournemouth University’s Fusion 1 building, student accommodation and the STEM Centre at Bournemouth & Poole College.
Overseas work has included the Tiara United Towers, the Snow Centre and the International Finance Centre, all in Dubai, and the Philharmonie de Paris, France.
Pratten added: “Our aim now is to be the UK’s leading provider of structural floor and roof solutions to the construction industry, along with expanding our brand and products internationally.”