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: Q1 2021

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

Build, Build, Build! In Q1 2021, we experienced Lockdown 3.0 and once again the construction industry upped its game and performed to new levels, with steel lintel purchases showing double digit growth on the same period in 2019.

There’s lots of factors behind this strong Q1 performance. The UK’s vaccination rollout continues to be a great success compared to other countries. The extension of the stamp duty holiday, increased availability of low interest mortgages and many other factors have contributed significantly to a strong new build and RMI market. House prices are increasing, and buyer demand is there.

In my comment at the end of Q4 2020, I stated ‘we are seeing raw material steel prices increase at rates never seen before, and the futures market shows no sign of receding. We can report at the end of Q1 2021 that prices are indeed continuing to rise at exceptionally high rates – rates we’ve never seen before – and the availability of steel is a real day-to-day challenge. The supply chain is working, however the volumes required to satisfy demand are not aligned with the supply of material. The next few months will be a balancing act for sure, and the allocation of finished goods will be required to make sure both the new build and the RMI market receive steel lintels.

On the specification side, we have seen a 60%+ uplift in demand for our thermal performing lintel range, compared to the same period in 2019. Under the new Building Regulations, Part L requires a 31% improvement in CO2 targets, meaning that the fabric of the building remains one of the key areas for the building industry to improve on.

As builders actively review their specifications to meet the new requirements, our technical teams are working with energy assessors to provide the best, most cost-effective solutions. The future looks bright.