A STEEL construction company has manufactured a hurricane resistant roof for a historic cathedral in the Caribbean.

Reidsteel, in Christchurch, made the steel framework as part of a renovation project for the Lady of Fair Haven Cathedral in Roseau on the island of Dominica after hurricane damage.

The family-owned firm carried out the structural design, drawing work and fabrication of the 60-tonne steel frame, purlins and ceiling supports, at its base in Reid Street, Christchurch.

It then arranged for shipment to Roseau, the capital of Dominica.

Reidsteel has the capability to design, manufacture, ship and erect entire steel buildings including their cladding and or glazing requirements anywhere in the world.

This includes disaster resilient buildings designed to withstand hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis in some of the world’s most volatile climates.

Project engineer Richard Hanson said: “The placement of the steelwork for the new roof was a landmark moment in the long-running renovation of the cathedral.

“It was an unusual project as our structure is fixed on top of the reconstructed reinforced concrete columns and arches of the original cathedral.

“The accurate survey work provided by the diocesan engineer, Bernard Lauwyck, helped us overcome the tolerance differences between a steel frame and a traditional masonry/concrete construction.

“Because of its complexity, we manufactured all of the steelwork in Dorset. The new roof will be hurricane resilient and will help the community reclaim their much-cherished cathedral.

“It is pleasing to see how structural steel exported from Dorset can make a difference to people more than 4,000 miles away in the Caribbean.”

The Roman Catholic community, under the leadership of Gabriel Malzaire, Bishop of Roseau, is spearheading the scheme to restore the iconic cathedral.

The new roof frame includes 44 tonnes of galvanised structural steel and 15 tonnes of steel purlins and ceiling supports.

Roof covering work started earlier this year and the entire 15-year renovation – expected to cost about 12.4million East Caribbean dollars – is due for completion in 2018 after 15 years of preparation, fundraising and work.

Kings Worldwide Ltd, Caribbean distributor for Reidsteel, purchased and supplied the project.

The Lady of Fair Haven Cathedral was completed in 1916.

Hurricanes have taken their toll on the island and its buildings – including the devastating Hurricane David of 1979.

The Commonwealth of Dominica, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, lies in the East Caribbean and has a population of nearly 73,000.

It was sighted and named by Columbus in 1493, and gained its independence from Great Britain in 1978.