19 Oct 2017

Use of Stone in Building Course – A Resounding Success

October saw Stone Federation welcome 28 delegates from eight member firms to Thistle Holborn The Kingsley Hotel in London for the annual Use of Stone in Building Course.

This popular course gives an overview and general knowledge of the design and use of natural stone and takes account of the current needs of those involved in specifying and working with stone. The course gives delegates assistance in selecting and using natural stone in many different ways.

It was encouraging to see a mix of both experienced industry professionals alongside those new to the industry, all benefitting from the wealth of knowledge the speakers had to offer.  The course content started by looking the geology of stone and stone testing, moving on to the detailing of stone and then looked at the use of stone in both interiors and external paving.  The final two seminars looked at the ethical procurement and sustainability of stone and the historic relationship between architecture and masonry. 

The speakers all brought a considerable wealth of industry experience and knowledge and the Federation would like to thank each of them for their part in making the day such a success.  The speakers were David Ellis (Sandberg), Dr Tim Yates (BRE), Peter Harrison (Harrison Goldman Design Consultants), Graham Lee (Graham Lee Consultancy), Chris Kelsey (The Marble & Granite Centre), David Burton (Steintec) and David Richardson (Diagenesis Consulting).

This course is open to both Stone Federation members and architects.  If you would be interested in finding out more information about the 2018 Use of Stone in Building Course, please email

“Good course, very informative and well structured.”

“The course was successful in covering a wide variety of topics related to stone.”

“Very well rounded course that touched on a lot about the stone industry in short period of time.”

Members' News

Stone Federation are a member of EuroRoc, an organisation made up of the various European Federations for the dimensional stone industry.  The aim of the group is to coordinate questions of common interest and find solutions while promoting the use of dimensional natural stone.


The Federation's EuroRoc representative, Michael Poultney of Albion Stone along with Peter Harrison of Harrison Goldman, attended the latest meeting held at the Verona Stone Show in October.


There were a range of topics discussed, but shown are four discussions points that will be of particular interest to members.


1. Ethical Sourcing - There are various different degrees of controls of ethical sourcing across Europe and some is at a very local level.  It was accepted that the EU should be encouraging stones from ethical sources but there was some scepticism that a system with a high degree of certainty could be found in the short term.  It was agreed that the starting point should be to pool all the experiences from the differing methods currently being used by different, Countries, companies and organisations.

2. Geographical Protection - There was considerable support from across the EU and the robust comments from the UK were considered positive.  It is back with the European Parliament on what could be a long journey to possible implementation.  

3. Reporting Figures - There was concerns that the code numbers used for reporting production, imports and exports are not recording the dimensional stone figure accurately.  It was suggested that these should be related to the harmonised Product Standards (BS EN). Michael Poultney has been in dialogue with BGS and Eric Bignell at the Natural Stone Specialist magazine about the topic earlier in the month. Euroroc will progress the matter with the relevant authorities.

4. Silica Dust - There was a mixed response about the danger of the implementation of the dust regulations and the prospects of reducing the code.  It was agreed that the experiences from the implementation from national authorities will be requested.


With the island of Portland, from which the famous Portland limestone comes, being just off the Dorset coast from Weymouth, there could not have been a more appropriate material to use for a sculpture of the Olympic rings that has now been installed in the town that is hosting the Olympic sailing events. 

Burlington Stone has acquired the rights to quarry at Petts Quarry on Kirkstone Pass and Brathay Quarry near Ambleside following the regrettable demise of Kirkstone Quarries Ltd.

This new monument, costing £5 million, will commemorate the 55, 573 crew members of the RAF's Bobmer Command who were killed between 1939 and 1945.  The average age of those who lost their lives was just 22.

Albion Stone has recently purchased a new ‘JCB Fantini’, tractor mounted stone saw which will be used to increase efficiency in the Quarry & Mine.  This is the first machine of its type to be imported into any UK stone extraction operation. 


TV presenter, journalist and former conservative politician and Cabinet Minister, Michael Portillo made a fascinating tour of local natural stone producer, Burlington Stone of Kirkby-in-Furness, shown on 26th January on BBC2 at 6.30pm, as part of series three of the BBC’s popular travel documentary, Great British Railway Journeys.


A £500,000 investment into an innovative new roof for Albion Stone’s Factory is set to save thousands of pounds a year on their electricity bills.

Albion Stone supplied over 3m³ of Jordans Basebed and Jordans Whitbed in the form of treads risers, paving and memorial stones.

Taking centre stage on The Marshalls Garden That Kids Really Want! at the 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May the company utilised its own indigenous natural Yorkstone block to create two striking central features in this amazing organic playground.