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

Keystone Lintels Comment: Q2 2019

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

As reported last quarter, quarter two 2019 started strongly, with April and May in line with market predictions. However, June ended all hope for the quarter. Whilst the quarter overall was slightly up on the previous year, June’s performance has set alarm bells ringing. Q3 has started firm to flat and if, as with the last few years, September does not perform, Q3 may not see growth overall.

The NHBC (National House-Building Council) Q2 report has registrations around 39,000, down 3% on 2018. When combined with the small increase in Q1, year-on-year registrations for the half year are flat when compared to 2018. So what’s the outlook?

Political uncertainty, recent local elections and their influence on local housing plans, prime ministerial elections and the Brexit debate throw down a challenge to medium-term house building strategies. Depending on location, UK house price inflation is moderating and the outcome of Brexit will inevitably further influence the economy and housing market. The government’s support for housebuilding is still an opportunity for the industry, with the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme extended to 2023, offering added confidence for first-time buyers.

House sales remain fairly buoyant, reflecting the demand for houses. Ease of borrowing and low mortgage rates combined with modest wage inflation and softening house prices could be a good deal for buyers. The new build market remains strong and the outlook is positive although EU labour and skills will be critical in maintaining our current build programmes.

We now have a new prime minister, and of course another new housing minister. Most importantly, the government is committed to construction – that’s the good news! How and when this will be delivered depends on what happens when parliament returns and the 31st October Brexit deadline.

Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.