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World-first construction product secures investment for launch

Ken and Emma Johnson hope the Roof Batten Joint will save construction firms time and money.

A retired builder-turned-inventor and his daughter have secured a five figure investment to take a revolutionary new construction product to market which will improve safety, reduce wastage and significantly reduce project completion times.

After a successful lifelong career in construction running his own building company in Yorkshire, Ken Johnson decided to take his knowledge and understanding of challenges within the sector and turn entrepreneur, inventing the world’s first Roof Batten Joint.

Made from a lightweight and robust polypropylene the Roof Batten Joints reduces the need for the sawing and nailing of roof laths when constructing a pitched roof. By enabling unrestricted placement of joints, it decreases the damage caused to underfelt and eliminates split end laths. The invention enables roofs to be lathed in around a quarter of the time compared with traditional methods.

Understanding the potential impact of the Roof Batten Joint on the construction industry, Emma Johnson, general manager at KEAH products and Ken’s daughter, realised that investment was needed to secure a successful route to market. Through an advisor they approached Ad:Venture Programme and successfully applied for the funds to take the product to market. Emma said of the investment:

“We realised that as a completely new product in the construction market from a small business, that investment was key to educating our target market and positioning the Roof Batten Joint correctly. It’s allowed us to develop the materials needed to sit alongside the big players already in builders’ merchants and given us vital business support to launch what we believe is a genuinely game-changing product.”

The patented Roof Batten Joint uses a simple push-fit technique and has been independently tested and certified to support in excess of 199 kg. It’s the second invention by inventor Ken – in 2015 he launched KEAH Products with the Plastic Pipe Chamfer – another time saving tool for the construction industry. Ken said of his latest invention:

“The process for constructing a pitched roof has barely changed in decades and it continues to have cost implications for the industry – both in time and materials. The continuing pressure to build more houses needs to be met but not at the cost of safety, which is where the Roof Batten Joint comes in. When we trialled the product with roofers, we were consistently told that it was taking just a quarter of the standard time to do the job. This has a knock-on effect to other contractors and could potentially reduce overall build times on large projects.”