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News in Brief – May 2005

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English Heritage has just bought what is said to be the world’s first metal-framed building and “father of the skyscraper”, Ditherington Flax Mill in Shrewsbury. The grade 1 listed mill was designed by Charles Bage and built in 1796–97, upstream of Ironbridge on the Shrewsbury Canal. It has been empty since 1987 and is in a poor state of repair.

The government is to publish its report on modern methods of construction a year early as part of an effort to increase the rate of housebuilding. It hopes that the increased use of off-site construction or factory built units will help it reach its target of 200,000 additional units by 2016.

The stainless steel industry needs to sustain its effort to develop target markets, said Director Nigel Ward in his address to the annual luncheon of the British Stainless Steel Association. Much development effort continues to be directed towards the architecture, building and construction but the association will also explore sectors such as the water industry and infrastructure including road and rail bridges.

Severfield Rowen has announced record profits of £12.2M pre tax with turnover up 20% at £204.3M for 2004. The forward order book stood at £165M. The company expects to see its exports, currently some 10% of turnover, increase. Severfield Rowen employees’ productivity has increased due to investment in upgrading plant and machinery.

A new model specification for off site applied intumescent coatings has been launched by the Steel Construction Institute. The new guide – Structural Fire Design: Off-site Applied Thin Film Intumescent Coatings (Second Edition) – is a new edition of SCI P160 which was published in 1996. The guide was launched at a well attended London seminar on 21 April and can be downloaded at

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