A WEYMOUTH man is set to be recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list today for his pioneering invention in the construction industry.
Steve Makin, 46, is a director of Weymouth company Permavent - a sister company of Granby Roofing – who perfected ‘Easy Slate’ in 2012, part of the new easy roof system by the company.
After battling through terminal thyroid cancer eight years ago, Mr Makin set up Permavent in 2007 with colleague Timofei Yeremeyev.
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are presented by the reigning British monarch on his or her birthday every year.
Easy Slate allows slates to be laid on a roof with a pitch as low as 12 degrees and eliminates the angle of creep.
It also improves the ventilation of the roof through the slates when used with a breather membrane, cushioning the slates and reducing breakage.
Mr Makin said: “It took Timofei and I four years to get Easy Slate to work, but once it did work in 2012 we were over the moon and wanted to show as many people as we could what we had created.
“So far, we’ve used Easy Slate on national parks and even on an extension at Westminster in London.
“I have always believed in the phrase that necessity is the mother for invention – it’s true because we invented Easy Slate after looking for existing gaps in the construction market.
“We are extremely pleased that as a Weymouth company we have managed to do something which has already been recognised by so many people.”
Mr Makin and Permavent employees are also set to meet the Queen at a garden party in July at Buckingham Palace, and will be visited during the year by a royal representative to present the physical award - a crystal chalice and scroll.
Winners of the award can use the Queen's Award emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for a period of five years.
Mr Makin said: “We here at Permavent believe Easy Slate is the biggest game changer in the construction industry for a long time and has changed the fundamental aspects of roofing.
“Slate is a natural low carbon product and by allowing slates to be used more, Easy Slate is also environmentally advantageous.”
He added: “With the Easy Slate it is now possible to use any type of slate on many different styles of building where it was not previously possible.
“For example, the pitch of a ‘lean-to’ extension can be restricted by the window of the upper floor, the further out the extension then the lower pitched angle of the roof must be.
“With much of Britain designated as ‘severe exposure’ standard slates restrict the average extension to just over two metres long.
“The height of many new buildings are controlled and the reduction of the pitch can now be offered as a solution to this problem - with the added bonus that the roof will have less slates meaning less weight as well as offering a cost saving.”
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are awards for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of innovation international trade or sustainable development.
They are the highest official UK awards for British businesses.
In the innovation category, businesses must be able to show that the business has substantially improved in areas of performance and commercial success.
Businesses should be able to show either outstanding innovation, continued over at least two years or continuous innovation and development over at least five years.
Achievements are assessed on invention, design or production, the performance of services and products, marketing and distribution or after-sale support of goods or services.