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

Keystone Lintels Comment: Q3 2019

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

Quarter three started firm to flat and, while September’s performance was better than the previous year, the quarter overall ended as it started, firm to flat. With the Government’s deadline of 31st October looming, and then subsequently delayed, quarter four has started in a more reserved manner than last year.

The seasonally adjusted CIPS UK Construction total activity index rose to 44.2 in October, recovering some of September’s slippage to 43.3. This is close to the ten-year low seen in June, as domestic political uncertainty and economic slowdown weighed on demand. New orders dropped for the seventh month in a row and business confidence is among the weakest since 2012, according to IHS Markit. Looking ahead however, UK construction firms are mildly optimistic that volumes will improve through 2020.

Assuming the next Government can command a majority in parliament after 12th December, the questions remain. Will the Government put out the Brexit fire or continue to pour fuel on its constant flame? Will the 31st January 2020 end this nightmare, or will it get kicked down the road once more? This all suggests a subdued year ahead.

Once again we set plans in place to support our loyal customers after the end of January 2020 with a substantial stock of raw material and finished goods in the United Kingdom. By questionable fortune, we are now well-practised in this task.

Away from all the negativity, enquiry levels are fairly strong, the demand for housing hasn’t gone away, and mortgage rates are still low. As I commented in the last report, such low mortgage rates combined with modest wage inflation and softening house prices could be a good deal for buyers.

Looking forward to 2020, once things do finally become clear in Westminster, the market looks positive. But, to maintain our build programmes and supply a market that starts moving again, we believe that continuing access to EU labour and skills will be critical.

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.

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