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: Q3 2020

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

The roller coaster of 2020 continues. Q3 2020 rises back to similar levels seen in Q3 2019 and demand into Q4 2020 remains strong. Weather permitting, construction should finish strongly in 2020 and we wait patiently on what is around the corner in 2021. The newly-announced ‘social’ lockdown, will hopefully reduce the risk in infections, and allow construction to continue in a safer environment.

NHBC reports Q3 2020 completions are just 4% behind Q3 2019, although new home registrations are behind by 25% over the same period. This would suggest we are in a programme of catch up with an end date dictated by the end of the stamp duty holiday and help to buy scheme. Hopefully, Rishi will reconsider options to continue to stimulate construction sooner, rather than later.

Is working from home here to stay? Developers say it has created a trend towards more housing demand in the suburbs and out of town developments. Keystone’s recent competition with RIBA on designing a house/development in the suburbs now seems well timed as we encourage architects to add space which meets the modern family requirements, and of course includes a few special lintel designs. Working from home also reduces our Carbon footprint, and at Keystone the climate change topic is high on our agenda, acknowledged through our Gold Standard from the School of Sustainability.

Enquiries still lag behind 2019, and we hope builders’ merchants’ sales teams and branches are getting involved in the ‘Movies from Home’ campaign. We understand branches are very busy, and our teams are here to support our loyal stockists.

We continue to operate our factories under strict social distancing guidelines, with marked walkways, limits on number of people in our welfare facilities, temperature checks on arrival, additional cleaning, hand sanitiser stations and face coverings where required. We remain open for business.

Hands – Face – Space.

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.