For this issue’s Supplier Profile, Annemarie Harte travelled to Cookstown, Co. Tyrone to witness first-hand the multi-award-winning operation run by Keystone.
In 1989, Sean Coyle established Keystone Lintels in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, and in just ﬁve short years gained the majority share of the Irish lintels market. Lintels continue to be made in Cookstown, but the company has expanded rapidly since then to include the production of Keylite roof windows in 2001, IG Elements and Smartroof in 2012 and ﬁnally IG Masonry Support in 2015. The vibe, sitting in Keystone’s ofﬁces, is very much youthful and progressive with white boards on the internal walls tracking ongoing projects throughout Ireland, and the factory churning out bespoke supports beside it.
Keystone is now the UK & Ireland’s largest Steel Lintel manufacturer, so it really has been an incredible success story fuelled by expansion and continuous innovation within a family-owned and managed company. Keystone sell exclusively through builders merchants and is proactive in the marketplace in terms of sales and technical support, essential for generating business. They strive to understand the challenges facing builders, and through an intensive programme of Research and Development (R&D), builder’s merchants are offered innovative solutions that add value to customers.
And this work has paid off as Keystone is no stranger to winning either. At the 2015
Hardware Show, the Keystone Group was the BUILD Category winner with the Keylite Futuretherm Roof Window, and they also took the Highly Commended category for the Hi-therm Lintel. They then went on to win the overall Innovation Award at the Show for the Roof Window. And the winning ways didn’t stop there. In 2016, Keylite won Supplier of the Year at both the Builders Merchant News Awards and Buildbase Awards. Added to that were two more wins in 2017 at the Housebuilder Product Awards for Best Brand New Product, and Product of the Year at the Irish Construction Industry Awards, along with a win for the Hi-therm Lintel at the 2018 Irish Construction Industry Awards. They may well develop new shelves at HQ in Cookstown to hold all the accolades!
Innovation is a continuous process at Keystone. Their commitment to innovation has been ongoing and will remain so in the market. “We are always looking to develop new products that provide real and practical solutions, aimed at simplifying the roof window installation process, and improving performance for the customer,” says Kris Willis, National Sales Manager for Ireland. “As a company, we have always been committed to innovation and R&D, and our goal is always the same: to create practical new products and innovative new product features that will beneﬁt installers, house builders, speciﬁers and end users alike.” Included in the innovative new products is the Keylite Polar and Futuretherm Roof Windows and the Hi-therm+ Lintels.
Keylite Roof Window – how it works
Keylite Roof Windows all come pre-ﬁtted with an expanding thermal collar. By pulling the release tape, the insulation collar expands around the frame, closing the gap between the window frame and the roof, thereby providing an effective barrier against heat loss and the effects of cold bridging. This feature eliminates the requirement for a second insulation ﬁxing and is offered as a standard feature, at no extra cost. Attention to detail in the product design facilitates faster installation. The pre-ﬁtted ﬂick ﬁt brackets allow for quicker ﬁtting time from the box to the roof.
Keylite ﬂashings require 50% fewer screws than before, and the sash hinge ﬁnger spring allows the sash to be installed back into the frame in one smooth, effortless motion. The windows are designed to give a streamlined ﬁt as standard, giving a more aesthetically pleasing roof appearance, as well as aiding thermal performance. The expanding collar provides a real solution to the age-old problem of cold bridging, caused by a lack of insulation in the 20mm gap between the frame and the roof.
Keystone’s Hi-therm lintel remains the only BBA (British Board of Agrément) approved, one-piece, thermally efﬁcient lintel in the market, and it has been recently updated in response to requests from house builders to further its applications.
Originally, the design was based on the most common wall construction types and the typical opening sizes found in most developers’ homes. As demand grows and requirements adapt, Hi-therm+ was developed to suit both wide outer leaf and cant brick applications, rather than just standard leaf. In addition, longer lintel lengths are now available to accommodate larger openings. The improved lintel offers Psi value ﬁgures of between 0.03 to 0.06 W/m.k depending on the speciﬁc wall make up.
With the Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standard applying to all new buildings occupied after the 31st December 2020, tougher energy requirements may place potential increased costs on builders. Hi-therm offers builders signiﬁcant savings compared to other sustainable technologies. Keystone see this as a signiﬁcant sales opportunity for builders merchants because of the new emphasis on reducing heat loss through thermal bridging in the building’s fabric.
If you have a story to tell as a supplier or manufacturer in the Irish market, please contact Annemarie on 01 298 0969 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.