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Profile gained an understanding of components and the from the ashes. These were Barrett Steel Ltd (headed Above left: ProLogis’ practical side, which I could marry to a knowledge of up by James Barrett) and Barrett Steel Buildings Ltd Barrett Steel Buildings engineering principles.” (headed up by Richard). Both have gone like trains: designed structure – built with disassembly D&B was now something that Henry Barrett Barrett Steel is now a major stockholder of national in mind. could offer, almost alone among steelwork significance, handling 400,000t/year, with Barrett contractors. Markets were sought – sheds were the Steel Buildings acknowledged as perhaps the most Above: Looking forward obvious first target, and almost immediately success innovative supplier of structural solutions in Britain. to ‘retirement’: Richard came the company’s way. “We could be extremely Again, as alluded to above, lateral thinking Barrett is going to have competitive, through D&B getting the design right combined with structural knowledge and an eye a good time. “The general development of to produce instance, Barrett Steel Buildings set out severalfor beneficial and social benefit have helped. Foron the nail D&B within the steel sector just the right years ago to discover to what extent a steel framed has helped make steel least cost The company designed and built in 2005 a buildingbuilding could be ‘recycled’ – well ahead of the rest.structure at become the success it has.” but with best for client ProLogis which had ease of disassembly margins.” built in, to aid eventual reuse in the future. Henry Barrett became the market leader in sheds Barrett Steel Buildings was sold in August this and looked for other areas to exploit. (Multi storey year and is now in the ownership of its former buildings up to 12 floors, schools, most recently senior managers. “There are many good years multi storey retail stores for the likes of IKEA: all ahead for the company,” believes Richard Barrett. are being designed and built by Henry Barrett Ltd’s And what will he be doing? As well as his ‘hand successor, see below). “The general development of over’ period as non executive chairman of Barrett D&B within the steel sector has helped make steel Steel Buildings, he continues as a director of Barrett become the success it has,” Richard says now. Steel and has many other interests, including of He was appointed technical director in 1985 and course the BCSA. There, sustainability, Eurocodes, his influence grew. His father Guy became BCSA steel v. concrete will all figure on his Presidential President around this time (hence the reference in agenda, as will ‘participation’. “The more members this article’s introduction: Richard is the first son to are involved, the stronger BCSA is,” he says. “The follow his father into the role), and with Richard and membership is a huge resource, in terms of energy James looking after the structures and steel stock and the potential to get things done, but there are holding sides respectively, the company’s profits engagement issues to be addressed.” grew. Henry Barrett & Sons was floated on the Stock His professional activities will not be allowed Exchange in 1987 and diversified (a process many to take up all his time. A petrol head, with an specialists engaged in at the time) into the likes of Aston Martin and E-type to his name, Richard will plastics, materials handling and curtain walling. probably follow the F1 circus around the world more Which was to be the company’s undoing: recession assiduously than hitherto. Travelling for the sake hit the peripheral companies hard in the early 1990s of it, a great interest of his, will be undertaken but and the Receiver was called in, in November 1992. only in short bursts. “My labradors Merlin and Percy To cut a long story short, with venture capital appreciate a great deal of attention and we don’t like funding, two new companies eventually emerged to be parted from each other for long.” NSC October 2007 13


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