Expert for Steel Lintels

Derrick McFarland

Managing Director

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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 www.keystonelintels.com or visit the Group website at www.keystonelintels.com. Follow @KeystoneTweets

Expert Comments
Blog Posts

Keystone Lintels Comment: Q4 2020

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

Q4 2020 delivered a strong performance to close the year off. Steel lintel sales achieved double digit growth on Q4 2019, driven by a stimulus of accelerated purchasing ahead of the Brexit deadline. On further analysis, this is fairly evenly split by the volume house builders calling off additional material, and steel lintels for merchant stock yards’ over the counter business.

We have to be thankful that the construction sector remains open, in what have been very distressing times for many loved ones, and very challenging times managing social distancing and positives tests at places of work. This will remain a challenge for 2021.

We are seeing the raw material steel prices for steel lintels increase at rates never seen before, and the future market shows no sign of this receding. This is not necessarily a result of Brexit but is more linked to production cuts in 2020 driven by worldwide lockdowns in response to Covid.

We remain watchful on availability, specifically in relation to the levels of steel production across Europe and steel demand. The roll out of vaccinations in Britain is a positive, and we also need our European neighbours to increase the intensity of their vaccination programmes if we are to obtain all the building materials we need in the UK.

Hi-thermal performing lintels with accreditation are the future. At last the new building regulations have been agreed with Part L requiring a 31% improvement in CO2 targets. Critically for the environment, ‘Fabric First’ remains the acknowledged improvement strategy.

Fabric First means improving the fabric of the building first before reaching for costlier and less efficient solutions. This is due to be implemented in June 2022, and any plot with current regulations not ‘started’ within one year will need to be updated to the new building regulations. With tighter quality control requirements from Building Control, we expect the larger sites will switch quicker than we have previously experienced with Building regulation changes.