Expert for Steel Lintels

Derrick McFarland

Managing Director


Derrick McFarland

Derrick has been integral to the success of Keystone Group for almost 25 years. Moving from the company’s base in Cookstown, Northern Ireland, to set up its operation in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, two decades ago, the move was a natural fit and rapid growth quickly followed.

Derrick is passionate about the building trade. His focus is on delivering excellent customer service through good people and great products. Working with an amazing group of colleagues, Derrick ensures clients are welcomed to Swadlincote in a way that has become customary for Keystone Group.

Keystone Lintels

Keystone Lintels Limited is a leading manufacturer of steel lintels, founded in 1989. The short history of Keystone has been one of relentless expansion and continuous innovation whilst redefining the meaning of service in the lintel industry.

Production facilities in Birmingham, Cwmbran, and Cookstown provide an efficient, flexible and ergonomic working environment, which is part of the culture of quality and service at Keystone.

Keystone Lintels offers a comprehensive range of standard and special steel lintels, and recently developed its ground breaking Hi-Therm lintel, to address the thermal requirements of new building regulations.

Hi-Therm is up to five times more thermally efficient than a standard steel cavity wall lintel. Its GRP outer leaf acts as a thermal break, whilst the galvanised steel inner leaf maintains support for the heavier loaded internal leaf.

Hi Therm is a multi-award winning product, winning Best Eco Product at the Build It Awards 2013, Product of the Year at the Housebuilder Awards 2013, and Best Building Fabric at the 2013 and 2014 Housebuilder Product Awards.

Find out more at or visit the Group website at Follow @KeystoneTweets

Expert Comments
Blog Posts

Keystone Lintels Comment: Q2 2021

Derrick McFarland, Managing Director Keystone Lintels is BMBI’s Expert for Steel Lintels.

The house building sector plays a key role in supporting the economic recovery. However, as demand has increased, supply constraints are pushing up price inflation. House price rises, temporarily fuelled by stamp duty cuts, will see the speed of growth slow but stay strong. The imbalance of demand versus new properties coming to market will keep house prices high in the coming months. While positive, we should be concerned about escalating material and labour costs, which may have a huge impact on the continuation of planned projects.

Since last autumn, current steel shortages have severely restricted the volumes of steel lintels available to the market. Having said this, we can report that in Q2 2021 Keystone delivered volumes in line with those in the same period during 2019, although supply may not have been as smooth as it was before the pandemic. All businesses are having to manage stampeding demand, continuing risks of Covid-19, labour availability shortages, and staff deserving a well-earned staycation, or a trip to somewhere ‘green’. Speaking for ourselves, Keystone has continued to enforce full Covid-19 precautions regardless of the government’s guidance to ease restrictions.

We expect Q3 2021 to continue in the same vein as Q2. Availability of steel will still be on restricted supply, and allocation of finished goods and delivery will be on extended lead times and be at times quite bumpy! Prices will remain at historically high levels in the medium-term, and with other building materials having had further recent price increases, will steel prices rise again? Demand from heavy users of steel in the automotive sector is adding fuel to the fire.

On a very positive note, we can all focus on the sensible Fabric First approach which is championed by the Future Homes Standard. Innovation is one of Keystone’s cornerstones and we are both excited and passionate about the de-carbonisation agenda.