IN CONVERSATION WITH…
Ten minutes with Shaun Revill
This month, we fi re some quick questions at Shaun Revill, trading director at SR Timber, who talks about the
rise of batten, women in roofi ng, and how he has rubbed shoulders with one of the bookies’ favourites tipped
to be the next James Bond
What is your current role and
what does it entail?
I am the trading director at SR Timber,
and I oversee the running of the
business of importing graded roofi ng
batten and ancillary dimensions, as
well as other natural timber products
such as cedar shingles into the UK and
supplying to merchants.
How did you fi rst get started in
I was born into the trade because my
father was a slater and tiler who ran
his own business. I went on the tools
to work with him, and then I had a
stint in the pit – which a lot of young
men did at that time because that was
one of the main industries in north
Nottinghamshire, where I’m born and
What roles were you doing
before and how did
they prepare you for the
roles you’re doing now?
In the early 1990s, I got into
the timber industry working
for a roofi ng merchant based in
Huthwaite; a quarter of a century
on, I’ve come full circle because
SR Timber’s head offi ce recently
moved to premises over the
road from the merchants where
I started. From there, I worked
in the UK for a Swedish timber
company, and this was a real
education in timber and has been
the foundation for everything that
has followed since.
What has changed?
Back then, batten was an anonymous
product – often lumped in with
fencing and other miscellaneous
materials and tucked away in the
corner of the merchants’ yard.
In the space of 20 years, the batten
industry has changed dramatically
for the better. That is in no small
part due to the Baltic states coming
from humble beginnings to become
real powerhouses in producing
top-class products – rivalling the
The other big thing has been the
introduction of the British Standard.
The industry had been moving
towards the British Standard in the
years before it was introduced anyway
because of companies like SR Timber
setting higher standards.
What has been the highlight
of your career so far?
Starting a business 15 years ago
from scratch that has grown to
become the UK’s largest importer
of roofi ng batten is something I’m
immensely proud of. It’s particularly
satisfying because sections of the
industry thought that
SR Timber would be
a fl ash in the pan,
but we have built the
business in the right
way – not least by
having our own supply
with our own sawmill.
Having control of
our own supply chain
has been pivotal in
ensuring that all of our
batten is produced and
graded correctly to the
requirements set out in
British Standard BS5534.
What do you believe are the
biggest issues for contractors
and the construction industry
at the moment?
The skills debate is one that rages
on and will continue to do so – but I
would honestly love to see the roofi ng
industry opening up and offering
more opportunities for women.
I’m passionate about giving people
in our business and our industry
opportunities to develop, and there’s
no reason why more women shouldn’t
be working in construction and in the
roofi ng industry, from management
roles through to on the tools.
What piece of advice would
you give those thinking about
joining the roofi ng sector?
The roofi ng industry is a great
industry to get into and something
we should all be proud of because it
is a skilled industry. My father always
used to tell people he was a slater
and tiler, not a roofer, because he
was highly skilled, and it was a joy to
watch him hand-cutting slate.
What is your tipple of choice
at the bar?
What is your favourite book
and fi lm?
I don’t get lots of time to read for
pleasure, but when I do I love a good
biography, and one of my favourites
was that of legendary football manager
An abiding memory from school
days was reading Flowers in the
Attic: it’s a book I’ve re-read
many times since, and it’s
one of the things that my
wife Vanessa and I had in
common when we fi rst
People from the
industry may be
surprised to know that
I have a soft side too
and my favourite fi lm is
Any claims to
I recently met and got
chatting to Luther star
Idris Elba on a fl ight
to Canada after I got upgraded – he
was on his way to a fi lm set and I was
on my way to see a supplier of cedar
shingles! He’s a really nice bloke.
76 www.rcimag.co.uk May 2019