Roof construction safety breakthrough at Rotherham’s AMRC

By Gareth Dennison | 01/02/2018

Roof construction safety breakthrough at Rotherham’s AMRC
From left: Phil Spiers, head of the Advanced Structural Testing Centre at the AMRC; Keah general manager Emma Johnson; Shane Smith, AMRC technical lead for structural testing; and Keah director Ken Johnson, with the Keah roofing structure installed for testing in the tall rig at the AMRC

A RETIRED builder has invented a new way of joining roof battens to improve construction safety and speed up assembly.

The new joints created by Keah director Ken Johnson (70) have been tested and verified for use at Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

The AMRC’s Advanced Structural Testing Centre put the product through its paces and it is now ready to go into production.

Mr Johnson, from Leeds, set up Keah after he retired from construction to use his experience to improve building processes.

He said: “I thought there must be a smarter way to complete those time-consuming intensive manual jobs.

"The roof batten joint can join two roof battens at any point on the roof which will save time and material waste.

“The testing is invaluable as it means we will now be able to confidently state the load bearing weights of our product and the joints are ready to go into production thanks to the AMRC.”

Phil Spiers, head of the AMRC testing centre, said: “Our tests have so far shown that the joints are stronger than traditional nailed roof batten fixtures and experience lower rates of failure. 

“We have validated that the optimum load weight for use is 20st, but the joints can support all the way up to 50st in weight."

"The idea for the product itself is beautifully simple, but it is a powerful concept that will make a laborious task safer.”

Keah benefited from a grant from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to cover 50 per cent of the testing costs.

Mr Johnson said: “For a small company such as ours, it really helps us get this pioneering roofing product off the ground.”

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