25th ANNIVERSARY OF UKCSA, 1991 – 2016

The inaugural meeting of the United Kingdom Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) was held on 20th February 1991, following discussions during late 1990 between the leading manufacturers of cast stone at the time. UKCSA was formed as an independent trade association to increase specifiers’ and contractors’ awareness and confidence in cast stone and to establish and maintain the highest standards of product quality and usage.

In 2016 the UK Cast Stone Association celebrated its 25th anniversary as the “Guardian of quality for cast stone”, and over the past 25 years the Association has grown to become the first point of reference for all matters regarding cast stone.

To commemorate this momentous occasion, the Association has producing a book, not only detailing the 25 year history of the UK Cast Stone Association, but also the history of cast stone itself.

UKCSA 25th Anniversary Book


A trade association for the UK cast stone industry did not exist in 1990. Other sectors of the building industry then had very active means of self-regulation, which had contributed towards their growth. The British Ready Mixed Concrete Association Quality Scheme was one particularly successful organisation where a former Northern Ireland based RMC manager Alan McKelvey (image left) had served on the National Executive.

In the USA the Cast Stone Institute had been formed in 1927 as the trade association for the industry. In 1990 McKelvey contacted the CSI and travelled to New Jersey and Texas to meet with their representatives. McKelvey invited Bill Russell (image left) of the US Cast Stone Institute to come to the UK and address an informal meeting of representatives of some, but not all, companies producing cast stone in the UK invited by him.

This meeting took place on Monday 9 December 1990 in the NI Business Centre in Berkeley Street London because Craftstone were able to have rent-free use of this meeting facility. Ten companies attended the meeting and another ten companies apologised for their absence.

Those attending listened attentively to Bill Russell describing how the Cast Stone Institute functioned in the US. After some discussion all agreed that a UK Cast Stone Association should be set up at a subsequent meeting when those companies, which apologised for their non-attendance would be invited to attend.

During the meeting John Howland of Broadmead invited Bill Russell to visit their factory in Kent, which he did before attending with McKelvey his first ever rugby match, the annual Oxford v Cambridge game at Twickenham. Russell couldn’t believe the players weren’t wearing helmets or shoulder pads and wore shorts in such an extremely low temperature!

The subsequent meeting was arranged for Wednesday 20th February 1991 also in the NI Business Centre. That meeting, now recognised as the inaugural meeting of the UKCSA, was attended by thirteen companies namely Craftstone, Haddonstone, Vobster, Meadowstone, Stepney, Plean, Malling, Atlas, ECC, Tarmac, Luda, Forticrete and Broadmead.

Elections were held and Alan McKelvey was elected Chairman, John Howland Secretary and Jim Foster Treasurer.

Subsequent committee meetings were held quarterly in the NI Business Centre until McKelvey resigned in 1994.

A distinguishing feature of these meetings was the adjournment to a local pub for lunch and conversation between all the members.

A technical sub-committee was set up to consider, in particular, BS 1217 for Cast Stone.

The early days of UKCSA were full of camaraderie and a feeling that together something very important was being achieved for the cast stone industry. Clearly that happened because now 25 years later UKCSA is celebrating its quarter century achievement.

The next quarter century is eagerly anticipated.

UKCSA – The “Guardian of quality for cast stone”

An article by Neil Sparrow, Director & Technical Chair of the UK Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) on:

    UKCSA – The “Guardian of quality for cast stone”

from the UKCSA 25th Anniversary Book, is reproduced here:

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