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: Q1 2019

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

Not surprisingly, Q1 2019 is ahead of Q1 2018 although February was disappointing. No doubt the run up to the 29th March held back the overall potential for the quarter. Nevertheless it was a steady positive quarter, with many Brexit plans put on delay for another few months. Quarter two has started strongly, and the coming months will flush out if this is a result of a delay from Q1.

The NHBC (National House-Building Council) report for Q1 2019 has registrations up 3% to around 37,500 compared to the same period in 2018. This small increase is against low levels in Q1 2018, linked to poor weather conditions. Set against the now-expired deadline of Brexit (on 29th March) and adjusted for London region the figures do not look that encouraging. However, looking ahead, new house building demand remains strong. Ah yes, but so does the Brexit debate!

One area that housebuilders are focusing on is third-party certification. A third-party examination typically includes comprehensive formulation or material reviews, testing and facility inspections. Some housebuilders carry out their own inspections, in addition to third parties. NHBC and LABC (Local Authority Building Control) are also insisting on reputable certification on products with the British Board of Agrément, the standard most recognised and requested. The CE mark demonstrates compliance with the appropriate manufacturing standards for the product. Engineers and contractors using fabricated steelwork, such as steel lintels, will work with amended specifications to ensure only CE marked products are used on their projects. Certification is clearly on the agenda.

Merchants will be aware of the renewed focus on certified products. With accreditation becoming paramount, the manufacturers best placed to satisfy future demands will have a full portfolio of certified products, the ability to secure specification and the representation to engage fully with merchants.

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.