Midland Steel comes of age

29 Aug , 2019  

Celebrating 21 years in business, Midland Steel is a market-leading steel fabricator in Ireland and the UK, offering a wide range of reinforcing steel products and services to the construction sector in a diverse range of sectors.

From humble beginnings in 1998 when managing director Tony Woods founded Midland Steel in Mountmellick, Co. Laois to service his concrete frame company, Midland Formwork, which he had set up seven years earlier, the business has grown to employ 193 people at its four depots in Mountmellick (Midland Steel Supplies Ltd), London (Midland Steel Reinforcement Supplies Ltd), Bishop Auckland (Midland Steel Reinforcement Supplies UK Ltd) and Motherwell (Midland Steel Reinforcement Supplies GB Ltd). These locations were selected to provide good coverage, ensuring a responsive delivery service to the company’s growing client base.

Midland Steel provide innovative prefabricated reinforcement, on-site fixing, cut and bent reinforcement, coupler systems and accessories such as tying wire, ring spacers, concrete spacers and plastic spacers. The company has become a market-leader in 3D detailing, BIM and prefabrication and has supplied reinforcement solutions to some of the biggest names in construction and some of the largest projects over the past two decades. Here in Ireland, high-profile projects have included the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, the River Suir Bridge in Waterford, New Ross bypass, Port of Cork in Ringaskiddy, Hanover Quay in Dublin, West Pharma in Waterford, Allegro in Sandyford, Athlone Town Centre in Westmeath and numerous windfarm developments.

Midland Steel expanded into the UK market in May 2008, just before the economic crash happened at home. Through hard work and no little amount of determination, Tony established the business in the UK which led to him opening his first depot outside Ireland in London in 2010. Tony manages group operations, Jo Woods is responsible for Mountmellick headquarters and the founding operation. Paul Woods is Operations Director for London and Ireland with Stuart Watson Commercial Managing Director in London. Gerry Tralongar is Managing Director of Scotland, Motherwell and Bishop Aukland.

The company has grown exponentially since adopting BIM in 2012.

“We decided to go down the BIM route seven years ago and it has opened a lot of doors for us in terms of securing prestigious contracts. I realised back then that it was the future of construction and the future of solving problems before they happen. We’re driving BIM forward and it’s something I’m very passionate about. We’re the only company in Ireland and the UK to have BIM Level 2 as a prefabricator in rebar,” Tony explains.

“We provide our clients with quality deliverable products and commercially viable, value-engineering solutions.”

Midland Steel was shortlisted in no fewer than four different categories at the 2019 Irish Construction Excellence Awards which were held at the Mansion House, Dublin on March 29 last. The first category it was nominated in was, rather fittingly, BIM Excellence for the Wembley Pink Car Park in London. Developed by Huber Car Park Systems and O’Keefe Construction, the Cark Park is a multi-storey structure built in the shadow of Wembley Stadium with spaces for 290 coaches and 734 cars.

Midland Steel Reinforcement Supplies Ltd provided a full BIM Level 2 reinforcing steel deliverable during this product. The BIM model acted as an information transfer to the BIM team at all times. Requests, design decision and delivery call offs were performed through the BIM software, increasing project efficiency and saving time. The added benefit of clash detection and 3D modelling allowed for a prefabrication of all reinforcing steel elements. This solution saved the client both on-site costs and time which would not have been possible without a BIM process.

The Midland Steel Group was also nominated in the International category for the London Bridge Redevelopment which delivered a modern, spacious and fully accessible train station fit for the 21st century. Network Rail described this project as “the most ambitious station redevelopment in a generation”. Costain Group PLC contracted this redevelopment with Midland Steel Reinforcement Supplies responsible for the design and prefabrication of all reinforcing steel elements.

Midland Steel’s involvement consisted of developing a detail and design of steel reinforcement to allow prefabrication of 24 individual hour-shaped columns and crossheads. The resulting design included 451 bars of which none had the same angle shape or dimension. This was made possible through 3D modelling the prefabrication solutions, with efficiency and safety at the core of the innovations.

The company’s Prefabricated Double Skin Slab Reinforcement product, which was developed in 2016 and has patent pending, was shortlisted in both the Innovation in Construction Process and Construction Product Innovation categories. This off-site prefabrication saves up to 75% of time when compared to the traditional on-site method of steel fixing. The product gives the client a distinct time and quality advantage over the traditional method and requires as little as two steel fixers to install the panels on-site.

From the company’s experience during previous projects, a panel up to 50 m2 can be installed and fixed in under 15 minutes. These panels are pre-slung to allow an efficient installation process and are supplied with a Temporary Works Design Certificate and an installation key plan sequence.

The key advantages of Midland Steel’s Prefabricated Double Skin Reinforcement product are: on-site steel fixing time; counteracts the issue of a lack of skilled on-site labour; increases the efficiency of reinforcing steel installation on-site; reduces the number of processes involved in comparison to the traditional method; saves the client on labour costs; increases on-site safety with the elimination of loose bas and the reduction in on-site workers.

The Prefabricated Double Skin Slab Reinforcement is designed by the Midland Steel technical department in response to the decreasing availability of steel fixers. It is 3D modelled using BIM software by Midland Steel detailers. This product offers efficiency to the client from the design phase right through to the installation phase. Using the client’s IFC file or sketch, Midland Steel’s engineers and details can design the product to suit the client’s needs and factor in site constraints or panel size restrictions. A key plan and an installation sequence video is provided to the client before delivery to create clarity before the installation phase begins.

The panels are manufactured by Midland Steel employees in the Mountmellick and London depots. A quality product using CARES approved steel and processes are supplied with temporary works design certificates.

Tony expects demand for his Prefabricated Double Skin Slab Reinforcement product to increase after Brexit.

“We believe there will be a labour shortage in the UK post-Brexit and that there will be a greater demand for an off-site product like this as a result. Our focus is on growing our off-site product using the BIM process and our engineering experience as well as on providing good, efficient products for our customers,” he continues.

Tony concludes by paying tribute to his staff.

“We have an excellent team who are helping us to achieve the one vision of being an innovative value engineering firm and being the best in the business.”

Midland Steel Supplies Ltd


Co. Laois.

Telephone: +353 (0)57 8679650

Email: [email protected]

Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, June, Vol 5 No 6