Feature Lintels Hold The Key To Brickwork

The Old Coal Yard Station Approach by Bellwood Homes.

Keystone’s brick slip feature lintels have successfully balanced the traditional with the contemporary as part of the Station Approach development.

The development has been designed and based on the concept of converted Victorian railway buildings.

Close to the Georgian market town of Marlow, Buckinghamshire, and adjacent to a commuter branch line, ‘The Old Coal Yard’ Station Approach has been built by Bellwood Homes and features three Victorian-style buildings consisting of three, two-bedroom houses; eight, two-bedroom apartments and a one-bedroom apartment. In keeping with the Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian styles of architecture in Marlow, the housebuilder’s specification required brickwork which maintained the character and fabric of heritage buildings with Keystone Lintels able to meet the brief.


Mushroom effect

Working with Bellwood Homes, Keystone’s technical engineer designed extra heavy-duty brick slip feature arch lintels for ground, first and second floor openings with a 1085mm span and 543mm rise. Over 40 brick slip arches were manufactured by Keystone’s production team. Each Hoskins Maltings Antique brick was cut to size and bonded using a BBA-approved construction adhesive to the load bearing lintels. The patented perforated lintel design of a Keystone Brick Slip Feature Lintel allowed the adhesive to squeeze through the perforations and form a ‘mushroom’ on the inside, providing a mechanical lock between the steel lintel and the brick slips.



The offsite economical solution did not require skilled bricklayers on site to replicate each traditional arch. This saved labour costs of approximately one bricklayer per arch per day and ultimately, weeks of the project build schedule. All prefabricated lintels were delivered to site and ready for final pointing in line with the phased construction plan of the three buildings being erected. The arches produced in a factory controlled environment were unaffected by torrential rain and winter-reduced daylight hours limiting productivity. This often occurs on other build schedules which leads to further delays in creating architectural features with real significance to the landscape.

The offsite construction method facilitated onsite construction further by supporting bricklayers to recreate window tax designs: bricked-up window spaces seen in buildings from the Victorian period. The detail of the façade is most prominent through the repetition of window arches positioned symmetrically on elevations facing Marlow station. Keystone’s heavy-duty special segmental arches measuring a 2400mm span, with either a 600mm or 450mm rise provide a modern contemporary twist which feature above glazed bedroom windows and are in complete contrast to the smaller traditional arched windows, striking a balance between old and new architecture.


 “There was an initial uplift in costs for Keystone’s prefabricated brick slip feature lintels, but we did make savings elsewhere. By not creating traditional arches through bricklayers and using an offsite construction method we did not encounter weather disruption, resulting in increased productivity during winter hours.”

– Matthew McGill 

Site manager, Bellwood Homes


Time and cost savings

"Reduced labour costs and brick wastage were alsop a benefit," adds Bellwood Homes' McGill. "Each arch would normally take, on estimate, a day to complete per brick layer with a bricklayer hod carrier. We used 45 Keystone brick slip feature arches which saved weeks off the build schedule, not including rents on scaffolding.”



Keystone is the largest supplier of steel lintels in the UK and Ireland and claims to carry more stock than any of its rivals. For bespoke applications, architects, housebuilders and contractors can specify brick feature requirements by utilising Keystone’s free Brick Slip Feature Lintel design service.

Keystone Brick Slip Feature lintels have once again played a significant role in an exemplary new development requiring complex brickwork detailing whilst facilitating a faster build schedule on-site.

Picture: The Old Coal Yard Station Approach by Bellwood Homes.


Article written by Cathryn Ellis
16th June 2021


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