News

News

18 Mar 2020

Stone Federation Response to Coronavirus


In light of the situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and in line with current Government guidelines, we have cancelled all meetings and events scheduled to take place over the next few months.
 
We have a robust remote working infrastructure in place that allows us to continue to support our members during this time. All of our email helplines will continue to operate as they usually do and our office number is still in operation.
 
We will also continue to promote the use of natural stone and Stone Federation members to the thousands of architects, interior designers, main contractors and clients that we have contact with. Our digital reach is significant and while our physical events are cancelled, we will take this opportunity to provide content that informs and inspires specifiers to engage with natural stone.
 
In order to help us support you, we want to know what the biggest challenges for your business are, in this Coronavirus situation.
 
We will collate this information and, along with other industry bodies challenge the Government to support you in these areas. We will also, where possible, signpost you to existing support or advice.  Please send this information to enquiries@stonefed.org.uk
 
We are aware that there is uncertainty about the impact this situation will have on the industry, but we will continue to strive to provide you with the latest guidance for businesses and individuals.
 
As part of this, we have pooled together several sources of information around the key areas of impact as it stands today.

 
Working From Home
The BBC has published a helpful guide for companies suddenly thrust into a 'Working From Home' set up. The advice includes the best ways of maintaining good communication between your team, healthy approaches to creating a new routine and some of the business tools that can help facilitate efficient working from home.

 
Social Distancing
The Government has issued guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable adults. This includes advice to work from home, where possible.

 
Support for Business
The Government has issued guidance for employers and employees including how to prevent the spread within your own company and the support available for businesses affected by Coronavirus.
 

Members' News

Stone Federation would like to congratulate former Stone Federation President, Peter Harrison for being the recipient of the stone industry's highest award, the Duke of Gloucester Gold Medal.


Peter was presented with his medal by the Duke of Gloucester himself at Worshipful Company of Masons' Master's Banquet in London's Mansion House.


The Medal, which was introduced in 2010, is awarded every two years, to honour an individual in the craft of stonemasonry or the natural stone industry whose work is of considerable merit and who is acknowledged by his or her peers for the excellence of their contribution.


The idea for recognition for those in stonemasonry was originally mooted in the 1980s when it was noted that stonemasonry did not have any kind of recognition or a supreme accolade.

 

His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, who trained as an architect and has an affinity for stonemasonry, also felt that some form of recognition should be created and was instrumental in developing the concept of a recognition for stonemasonry befitting the millennia-old craft.

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.

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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.