Macdonald Offshore Solutions and its sister company Protective Systems worked to a super-tight deadline to manufacture and install an imposing new stair tower and television gantry in time for the club’s long-awaited return to the Premier League.
The project, worth more than £300,000 to the Yarm businesses, also included the construction of new Sky Sports TV single camera points and modifications to the West Stand press gantry and hanging camera gantries around the stadium.
Fellow directors Steve Macdonald and Stephen Osbaldeston, former primary school classmates and lifelong Boro supporters, say the project was the most prestigious the firm had carried out since launching two years ago.
“With such a tight deadline to fit in with football’s close season, this was the most challenging project we’ve undertaken,” said Macdonald. “But it was also the most rewarding and satisfying.
“As lifelong Middlesbrough supporters, we were over the moon to be involved with a project of such prestige on behalf of our club, knowing that 30,000 people will be able to admire our work at every home match.
“It’s very special to think that our legacy will remain long after Aitor Karanka and the current stars have left the club.”
The work was carried out to ensure the football club met demanding Premier League requirements, which include significant improvements to the previous facilities for Sky Sports, BBC’s Match of the Day and a myriad of international TV channels.
The 30-metre high stair tower, which will provide access to national and international television crews in the Riverside Stadium’s South-East Corner, features 45 tonnes of steel and stair-casing.
The tower features 1,000 individual pieces of steel, with a further 18 tonnes of steelwork within the new 90-feet long TV gantry installed at the back of the stadium’s East Stand.
Working in partnership with Tolent and the football club, Macdonald Offshore also installed a new 72-metre long walkway and handrail from the Riverside’s new TV studios to the TV gantry.
All of the steelwork was fabricated just a stone’s throw from the stadium on Dockside Road.
It took the firm less than two months to complete the work, with a highly skilled team of up to 20 fabricators and welders working around the clock to meet a rigorous deadline.
Final elements of the project were completed just 24 hours before the opening home match of the football season, as Boro made their Premier League return after a seven-year absence.
Macdonald added: “A lot of extremely skilled lads – most of them Boro fans like myself – were involved in making it happen, often working days, nights and weekends in the fabrication and erection of the steelwork.
“It was a close-run thing to get the job done in time but we were always comfortable taking on such a challenge.
“We’ve had to diversify from the offshore market due to the downturn in the oil price but we are gaining a reputation for achieving what rival firms may consider unachievable.”
Stephen, who is a member of the Chartered Quality Institute and The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, recently became Director of Protective Systems, bringing with him a wealth of experience in the oil and gas sector after taking voluntary redundancy following 11 years with BP. His father Jack and son Liam were also involved in the Riverside project.
Steve said: “Before kick-off on the Saturday, the four of us took a look at the work and shook hands on a job well done. But it was a real team effort in partnership with Tolent and the football club.”
Macdonald had special words of praise for Middlesbrough FC chairman Steve Gibson.
“It is fantastic that Steve Gibson acted on his promise to support the local business community by handing the bulk of the summer’s development work to Teesside firms. It means we’ve all been able to enjoy the spin-offs from the team’s success.
“Steve Gibson was a member of the Acklam Steelworks football team that my dad, Lol, managed back in the mid-1980s, only leaving when he became a Middlesbrough director, so in some ways things have come full circle.”
The project continued a recent run of success for Macdonald Offshore and Protective Systems who recently completed a £500,000 contract working alongside Hartlepool’s Newbridge Engineering on a new fuel terminal at Immingham.
They also acted as consultants to CFS Tyneside on a £650,000 project to install steelwork and pipe support on a floating oil storage vessel, Enquest Producer.
Macdonald’s previous firm, MB Tech, which was sold to Hill & Smith Group, carried out a series of high-profile contracts including work at the Olympic Stadium ahead of the 2012 Olympics and on the closing roof on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.