Murdock Builders Merchants Group Timber Manager, Paul Sheppard

Paul Sheppard, from Rathfriland, has been nominated as one of only three Finalists from across the whole of the UK for the title of 2018 Achiever of the Year by the NMBS Annual Builders UK Merchants Awards.

Murdock Builders Merchants Ltd has 13 branches throughout Ireland predominantly supplying to the heavy side sector. As an importer of timber in a marketplace which typically sells home grown timber, Murdock’s has always regarded itself as much a Timber Merchant as a Builders Merchant with approximately one third of our Group sales are timber-related.

The past eighteen months have been both traumatic and fruitful for Murdock’s timber division, and the Manager who has steered the division through the highs and lows of that period is Group Timber Manager, Paul Sheppard.

The Fire

It all started on 12th May 2017 when the fire alarm sounded at 1.05pm. “Thinking that it was a random fire drill we evacuated the building but as we stepped outside we could see thick black smoke rising above the roofline.” It transpired the timber mill, one of the most critical arms of the business, was already fully ablaze.

Keeping Customers Supplied

In the weeks that followed Paul assumed a leading role in keeping our Branches adequately supplied with timber while trying not to over-promise and under-deliver. He worked in tandem with Murdock’s Timber Buyer to make sure that he was continuously well informed about what pre-regularised sizes we needed to replace our unplanned stock.

Leading Role

For 6 months after the fire Paul was critical in guiding Murdock Timber as they reviewed the various plant replacement options from across Europe, drawing up specifications, traveling to the factories to see how they were manufactured, and then visiting mills where they were operational so that he could see them in action.

Murdock Builders Merchants Group Timber Manager, Paul Sheppard

Murdock’s invested almost £2m in a brand new replacement plant as a direct result of the fire, but it was not fully operational until early 2018 due to long manufacturing lead times. In the intervening period Paul continued to coordinate the supply of timber into Branches without access to any significant machinery.

Murdock’s have told us “On its own all of the above would have been a mammoth achievement but as a Group we had already committed to the investment of an additional £1m in our Truss division before the fire. Paul had to manage the installation of this huge new plant alongside what he was already doing as a result of the fire, which was a job in itself.”

“May 2017 to March 2018 were traumatic months in our timber operation but out of that highly stressful period came a state-of-the-art Timber Mill and Truss manufacturing operation based at the Greenbank in Newry. The management of the whole process was a team effort but Paul undoubtedly shone through as the man at the centre of everything.”

“Everyone at Murdock’s is delighted that Paul has been nominated as one of only three Finalists from across the whole of the UK for the title of 2018 Achiever of the Year by the NMBS Annual Builders UK Merchants Awards. The ceremony will be held in London on 23rd November 2018.”

“Well done Paul and Good Luck from all at Murdock’s. Follow our social media channels for more updates.”