Architecture in Action, Creating Landmarks on England’s South Coast

a51a55ee3e08d54e627c5ea0f74d48baf7ff2bf1HGP Architects has helped shape the built-landscape on the south coast with award winning projects. Director Matthew Williams shares his views from a busy practice with a special focus on waterside regeneration.

Who is HGP Architects?

HGP Architects has a reputation built on nearly five decades of inspired building design for clients across diverse sectors. Established in 1968 on the South Coast, the success of it’s earliest projects in banking and office development led to rapid diversification into marinas, residential and other sectors. The work of the HGP team has attracted industry recognition in recent years with awards that include The Times Conservation Award and RICS Project of the Year Award. The iconic Spinnaker Tower, designed by HGP, is rated among the nation’s top five buildings people are most proud of.


How did you get started in Architecture?

I loved architecture and buildings from an early age. I was very fortunate to experience a lot of travelling with my parents when I was younger, seeing different areas of the world. We went to America quite a lot, so I was exposed to the work of architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn. Interest in a few of their buildings gave me the bug. My family were involved in property development, buying land and building on it, so from a young age I was interested in everything related to construction.

“For me it’s walking into the finished article and seeing the customer or the client’s face light up when they see the final product.”


How long have you been with HGP Architecture?

matthew williams HGP architects ig lintels

I started with HGP in my student days as well as getting some experience in a number of other practices. I came back to HGP Architects and 18 years later, having worked up the ranks, I am now one of the owners. Most of my time is spent working on regeneration projects and within the practice we have developed a specialism in waterside regeneration. We are known for doing waterside mixed-use buildings that include restaurants, apartments and leisure. We have delivered marina schemes on the south coast and around the world. It’s HGP’s 50th Anniversary this year and we are marking this achievement with a number of events and celebrations.

The founder Hedley Greentree sadly passed away last year but we continue to build on his reputation; the company now has 80 employees, 2 offices and is looking to expand all the time. Our local client base is also spreading its wings so we would like to expand our service with them across the south coast.


What do you love about Architecture?

For me it’s walking into the finished article and seeing the customer or the client’s face light up when they see the final product. I still get a thrill from taking a project from an initial sketch to the point of exploring the spaces with them for the first time. I remember when we were doing the Ben Ainslie Racing Building, walking around the building with Ben when it was finished and he was just so happy with the way the staff interacted with the building. They had moved from temporary accommodation to this fantastic purpose designed facility and they were saying how unbelievable it was to see its impact on productivity with staff in a relaxed mood. The new building allowed them to achieve more because of the way work flow went from the production of the boat to the design of the boat and back again, facilitating how the sailing team could interact with the boat’s designers.


How did you get so involved with the house builders?

We are lucky to have developed close working agreements with companies such as Crest Nicholson and I now chair the architect’s panel for them. They have 5 practices they currently use and the panel’s role is to make sure set procedures are followed, ensuring efficiencies are achieved through the drawing package and into procurement. We have probably got about 5 large regeneration projects on for Crest Nicholson at the moment, nationwide. We enjoy this relationship and find that when you have repeat business you gain an understanding of their work flows and procedures, this allows us to deliver efficiencies and the clients get quality architecture.


HGP Architects has been involved in many award winning projects. What has been your favourite to date?

land rover bar america's cup HQ

HGP architects designed the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth Harbour while I was still a student and of course it is now a national landmark. The main project that is special in my heart has to be the BAR building, that’s won 6 awards and its innovation is still being featured in the architectural press. The actual process of delivering that building was done over 18 months from inception of the idea to BAR holding the regatta out of the building. To achieve this, we utilised offsite fabrication and BIM played a major role in its development.


How relevant is the expansion of offsite construction to Architects?

I hear all the time from my clients and site teams that they can’t get the quality of tradesmen now that they had in the past. The required levels of quality and expertise onsite are getting increasingly rare, we are happy to encourage the use of offsite fabrication to maintain the quality. This is a trend I can see developing further, at pace. The brick laying trade is particularly difficult and for example, they were really badly affected by this year’s weather, a lot of sites were snowed off. Offsite fabrication is not weather dependant and no matter what time of year you go to site, the quality is still being maintained.

As far as integrating offsite fabrication into our design model, it gives us a better idea of how the co-ordination is going to work. We use BIM Models from the manufacturer and can rely on those details being accurate onsite, so this is a great boost to the design management of the whole project.

“Levels of quality and expertise onsite are getting increasingly rare so we are happy to encourage the use of offsite fabrication to maintain the quality”

Top 10 tips for installing a lintel with IG Lintels

Tips for Installing Lintels IG Lintels has teamed up with Roger Bisby from Skill Builder to bring you the top ten tips for installing a lintel. We explore the key issues to look out for when installing a lintel on your project and Roger shares his top tips to ensure a stress free installation and a high quality finish.


  1. Install with a 150mm minimum end bearing
    Ensure the lintel is bed on a full bed of brick laying mortar with a bearing of at least 150mm on each end.
  2. Ensure the lintel is level along its length
    It is important to ensure the lintel is completely level not only along the lintel but across the lintel as well.
  3. Raise inner and outer leaves simultaneously
    When laying bricks, remember to bring both sides up simultaneously to avoid eccentric loads and rotation. The maximum you should build brings up on any side is 225mm before bringing the other skin up to meet it.
  4. Allow mortar to cure before applying floor or roof loads
    Always allow the mortar to cure before applying any floor or roof loads. If you can’t wait that long then make sure you put temporary props under the lintel to support it while the curing is taking place.
  5. Use a DPC or cavity tray
    It is important to use a DPC, membrane, or cavity tray when installing a lintel. Not only is it a NHBC requirement, it is also good practice as it can prevent problems in the future. Make sure there are weep holes to take the wash away and very importantly, turn the membrane or DPC up at the end so the water doesn’t run off the end of the lintel and down into the cavity as this can create damp patches in the future.
  6. Avoid shock loading or dragging
    If you are placing floor loads like concrete beams on top of a lintel, it is important to apply these gently instead of dropping them down. Never shock load a lintel and also avoid dragging floor beams across the top of the lintel.
  7. Avoid point loads on flanges
    Never place a point load on the flange of a lintel, always ensure there is a minimum of 150mm of masonry over the lintel to spread the load.
  8. Flanges must project beyond window or door frame
    The external flange must project over and beyond any window or door frame. It’s a good idea to use a bit of flexible mastic to seal the joint to prevent any water tracking back in.
  9. Use soffit cladding on exposed lintel underside
    When the underside of the lintel is exposed its appearance can be enhanced by the addition of a lintel soffit cladding. Find out more about our range of soffit cladding.
  10. Do not cut lintels to length or modify them
    Always remember to never cut a lintel that is too long for your project without expert advice. Contact our experienced IG lintels engineers and check if what you are intending to do is safe and acceptable.


If you follow these simple guidelines to make the process of installing a lintel easy and problem free. If you have any questions or need any advice about your project contact us and we will be glad to help.

International Women in Engineering Day- Samantha Murcutt

To mark International Women in Engineering Day, we are celebrating the valuable contribution women make within our engineering team at IG Lintels. International Women in Engineering Day celebrates the important role women play in this traditionally male dominated industry and encourages young women to consider a rewarding career in an innovative industry. Samantha Murcutt, Technical Detailer at IG Lintels shares the advice she would give to young women considering a career in engineering.


What made you want to develop a career in the construction/ engineering sector?

I have always been interested in how things are made. After completing my engineering degree, I worked for a small engineering company that designed parts for the railway industry and tried my hand in Computer Aided Design (CAD).  I really enjoyed working on developing my CAD skills and went on to work for a German firm as a CAD designer, designing coolers on SolidWorks. I started working in IG Lintels in 2015 as a technical detailer and really enjoyed it, and still am enjoying it.


Describe your normal working day?

My typical day consists of completing special lintel drawings for approval, this can be anything from two standard lintels welded together to create a corner lintel, to a Venetian arch or bespoke brick feature lintel.


What is your favourite thing about your job?

I enjoy trying my best to give a good customer service, sticking to tight deadlines and being as efficient as possible. I also enjoy drawing CAD designs for bespoke lintels for unusual designs.


What has been your career highlight to date?

I really enjoyed my visit to The Keystone Group headquarters in Cookstown, Northern Ireland. This is where all the special lintels are manufactured. It was great to see the lintels being manufactured and made from the drawings I had produced.


What advice would you give to women considering a career in construction and engineering?

I would say, don’t be afraid to give it a go! Where ever you work, you will have a great support encouraging you to develop and improve. It is a varied, fulfilling career.


Hi-therm+ ‘Best Building Fabric Product’ at 2018 Housebuilder Product Awards

House Builder Product Awards Winner

IG Lintels is delighted to have won the ‘Best Building Fabric Product’ award at the 2018 Housebuilder Product Awards for its Hi-therm+ Lintel.

The Hi-therm lintel has been upgraded to offer even greater practicality to builders. IG has invested heavily in R&D to re-engineer the Hi-therm lintel utilising our industry leading ‘top hat’ design. The new Hi-therm+ lintel offers a low cost solution to reduced carbon emissions and is even easier to handle on site.

IG Lintels MD Derrick McFarland commented: “IG recognises the challenges facing house builders in relation to the increasingly demanding regulatory controls on thermal performance and sustainability. We recognise that a fabric first solution is preferable to builders, particularly something that is easily installed, maintenance-free and can allow them to design with 100mm cavities to ensure maximum floor space in developments. We are therefore proud to have been recognised for our commitment to the Fabric First approach. Our original Hi-therm Lintel won this award in 2013 and 2014 so for our innovative new design to be recognised again is fantastic”.

As winners of a Housebuilder Product Award, Hi-therm + Lintels automatically become a finalist in the overall ‘Product of the Year’ category at the Housebuilder Awards 2018 which will be held at a prestigious black tie evening event on Thursday 1 November 2018 at the InterContinental London – The O2.

Hi-therm Advances to Meet Market Demands


The award winning Hi-therm lintel has just been updated in response to requests from house builders to further its application. The Keystone Group’s National Technical & Specification Manager Richard Kinloch explains how this new version secures all the benefits of the original and adds new features, which widen its appeal.

Hi-therm has made a significant impact on the energy efficiency of new homes. It remains the only BBA approved thermally efficient lintel on the market and has won multiple awards for innovation. Now, its design has been upgraded to offer even greater practicality to builders and to make its benefits open to even more projects.

Richard explains:
“Originally our design was based on the most common wall construction types and the typical opening sizes found in most developers’ homes. Now, four years on, we are starting to get more demands and this has required us to re-engineer the design. For a start, Hi-therm+ will now be available 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 same but different!

Hi-therm is a patented innovation based around introducing a polymer element into a steel lintel. This creates a powerful thermal break which dramatically reduces thermal bridging through the junction with beneficial cost and performance outcomes. Previously the design utilised a polymer outer leaf as the thermal break. This new Hi-therm+ lintel features a structural polymer thermal break in the cavity linking an outer and inner steel leaf. The resulting improvement in Psi value is considerable with figures of between 0.03 – 0.06 W/m.k to be expected depending on the specific wall make up.

Richard explains the benefits of the new design.

“Buildability lies at the heart of Hi-therm’s success because what the builder wants is a high performance lintel that can be handled and built on site in exactly the same way as standard lintels. Split lintels and other non-structural thermal breaks are not comparable in terms of buildablity and do not offer the simplicity of the Hi-therm lintel.
Hi-therm+ takes practicality to a higher level again, so it will be even easier to handle on site than before. This is an increasingly important benefit and addresses the challenge of maintaining good detailing when skill levels are under pressure and introducing specialist techniques can be problematic.”

Expert support

SAP is a complex subject and even the most experienced technical managers are likely to rely on a trained energy assessor, either from within the team or from an external consultant. It’s therefore reassuring to know that IG & Keystone’s own expert support is available. Online tools such as the Hi-therm Psi value calculator, which issues certified performance for any given wall type, will assist energy assessors.

This, coupled with the fact that Hi-therm+ is a highly tested and certified product, will give reassurance that IG is the ideal partner to provide the optimum lintel solution going forward.

Real cost savings

As more plots fall under Part L 2013, the need to reduce thermal bridging increases. It is here that Hi-therm+ makes a significant impact as its cost benefit relationship is so effective, offering significant cost savings compared to many of the popular alternatives, which builders might be considering as a solution to improved SAP performance.

For example, in a comparative case study for a house type, using Hi-therm+ would incur less than 20% of the cost of increasing the cavity width by 50mm for the same saving in CO2. These CO2 savings are important within SAP because they give flexibility for compliance in situations where other built details are not meeting the standards in Appendix R of Part L 2013.

Please visit our Hi-therm+ Lintels page for more information.

IG Lintels Now Live on bimstore

bimstore logoIG Lintels is pleased to announce that our BIM objects are now live on bimstore. bimstore is the UK’s original BIM object library. Developed by specifiers for specifiers, they create and host high-quality manufacturer specific BIM content, making it easy to browse and download a collection of BIM components.

IG Lintels is aware that BIM offers enormous gain and time saving as changes and amendments to the design are automatically altered and accounted for in quantities without lengthy calculations. Our BIM objects also embed key product and asset data and a 3D model that can be used for management of information throughout the entire project life cycle – from first concept through to operation.

2D AutoCAD drawings will continue to be available for the foreseeable future and, in the case of bespoke steel lintels, BIM models are available on request to ensure that we can fully assist design teams, engineers and architects with their requirements.

Derrick McFarland, IG Lintels Managing Director, says:
“At IG, we believe that our role within the design process is vital. Advances in technology mean that the industry is changing rapidly and, as the market leader for steel lintels, we are always working on innovative ways to improve our services for our clients. Collaborating with bimstore will make it even easier for our customers to browse and download our collection of high quality BIM objects.”

View our objects on bimstore.
Download directly from IG Lintels

Fabric First Approach to Sustainable Construction [Whitepaper]

IG Lintels Fabric First WhitepaperIG has published an independent Fabric First Whitepaper exploring the benefits of an improved building fabric as a preference to low carbon or renewable energy technologies.

The research paper, which was conducted by AES Sustainability Consultants, provides a detailed overview of current policy and research on energy conservation and reduction of CO2 emissions. This document demonstrates that a ‘fabric first’ approach can achieve improved CO2 reductions most efficiently.

The introduction of Fabric Energy Efficiency standards into Part L of the building regulations intended to “discourage excessive and inappropriate trade-offs…for example poor insulation standards being offset by renewable energy systems with uncertain service life spans”. NHBC Foundation research also supports this view, with a 2013 report stating “the most robust way to minimise energy use is through the building fabric. Getting the fabric right will save energy for the whole life of the dwelling”. Renewable technologies, on the other hand, have a limited lifespan and risk a significant increase in CO2 emissions from a development once they reach end of life, if not replaced at significant cost to the homeowner.

The findings included in the paper purport that a fabric First approach is found to be technically, environmentally and economically more viable than the installation of low carbon and renewable energy technologies.
Lintels are in most cases the most significant non-repeating thermal bridges. As traditional style lintels interrupt the line of insulation with a continuous piece of highly conductive steel. The Hi-therm lintel utilises a two-piece construction, with a galvanised steel inner leaf supporting the inner blockwork connected to a GRP outer leaf supporting the outer leaf. The GRP component has much lower thermal conductivity than steel – 0.2W/mk as opposed to around 50 W/mK, reducing heat loss substantially.

A review of the Hi-therm lintel, carried out by AES Sustainability consultants found that Hi-therm performs approximately 80% better than standard steel lintels, with calculations demonstrating that overall heal loss through thermal bridging may be reduced by approximately 34% through the specification of Hi-therm Lintel.

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Award Winning Month for IG

As part of the Keystone Group, IG Lintels is delighted to have been recognised in the ‘Materials Supplier of the Year’ category at the Construction News Awards ceremony held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane on 22nd March.

The judges were extremely complimentary about the achievements of the company. In their press release, Construction News commented:
‘The judges were blown away, describing the firm as a worthy winner of this year’s award for Materials Supplier of the Year – a brilliant business which ticked all of the boxes. We were impressed with Keystone’s real innovation across a wide range of products. These all led to improvements and cost savings in the businesses that used them. It is clear that Keystone is a company always looking to better itself and the welfare and skills of its workers and those it supplies.’

CN Specialists Awards 2017

The Construction News Awards are the only national awards for specialist contractors and the winners represent the best of the best in the UK construction industry. The Keystone Group were praised for their innovation across the group companies. IG Lintel’s Hi-therm lintel, which is designed to be five times more thermally efficient than a standard steel cavity wall lintel, was singled out for particular praise.

Speaking of the win, The Keystone Group’s CEO Eithne Kelly commented, ‘we are thrilled to accept this award for Materials Supplier of the Year from Construction News. To have been recognised in this way at such a prestigious event has been an honour for us. We are constantly seeking to innovate, enhance and improve our procedures, manufacturing processes, customer focus and ultimately our products, and this award provides important recognition of each of these.’

Our award winning streak continued the following evening when IG Lintels was crowned Supplier of the Year by Buildbase Civils & Lintels. This coveted trophy has been awarded to our Lintel Company in recognition of the excellent products and services we supply to Buildbase Civils and Lintels depots and customers and has rounded off a very successful month for our lintels business.

A Unique Offsite Solution Delivering Intricate Brick Detailing

IG’s Brick Feature Lintels are one piece prefabricated units, manufactured bespoke to order, achieving even the most challenging architectural designs.

IG Brick Feature Lintels

IG Lintels offers specifiers a technically advanced, offsite solution for an extensive range of brick details including arches, panels, soffits and other architectural features. This unique Brick Feature Lintel system enables complex brickwork details to be carried out in a factory environment providing high standards of quality controls.

IG collects a consignment of bricks from site, cuts these into slips and bonds to IG’s patented Brick Feature lintel product, to suit the client’s design. This eliminates the need for a specialist brickwork contractor spending hours onsite, cutting bricks to suit complicated structural openings. The finished Brick Feature Lintel joins seamlessly with the already constructed brickwork.

Offering a bespoke design service, IG’s team of engineers can use their technical expertise to develop unique solutions to complicated brickwork over openings. By contacting them at an early stage of the design process, architects can potentially gain significantly more design flexibility for their projects. Every Brick Feature Lintel is manufactured bespoke to order, ensuring that each individual unit is customised according to the unique size, shape and aesthetic requirements of the project.

The production of Brick Feature Lintels offsite in a factory environment, ensures that the bonding process occurs in optimum controlled conditions free from wet weather, extreme temperature and excessive dust. The patented design of the perforated steelwork interfaces with the BBA approved adhesive to pass through and form a mushroom on the inside of the steel, forming a mechanical lock between the lintel and the bricks.

IG’s Brick Feature Lintels can accommodate a large range of bond patterns and with segmental arches, flat arches, Gothic and parabolic arches as well as apex arches and bullseyes, the possibilities are endless. These products offer builders and contractors a unique way to enhance the quality of their brickwork detailing in a highly labour efficient way at a time when the skills are acknowledged to be in short display onsite.

For more information on Brick Feature Lintels or to avail of IG’s free design service contact or call 01633 486 486.

IG Lintels Launch Online Psi Value Calculator

IG Lintels Psi Value CalculatorIt is our aim to provide customers with the most advanced technical information in the industry. IG Lintels is the first lintel manufacturer to offer a Psi value calculator designed for energy assessors and architects who specify products and value engineer specifications to meet building regulations.

The key benefit of the Psi value calculator is that you can obtain a Psi value with a few clicks of a button – Free of charge. Generally this information takes a specialist company a few days to turn around with typical costs between £200 and £400 per detail. Energy assessors can now directly input the lintel Psi value into their SAP calculations and view the performance benefit. Specifically calculated Psi values will help lower the Y value within the SAP calculation, in turn assisting Part L compliance.

To ensure accuracy, all Psi-value calculations have been generated by trained thermal modellers using physical Trisco BRE software.

Have any queries or problems with working out your Psi value? Contact us on 01633 486 485