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December 2015

Issue 39



Berkeley’s bright ideas

In June, this newsletter reported on

the launch of the Berkeley Group’s

£2m Innovation Fund. Its aim is to

encourage and help develop new

ideas that will improve the working

environment, develop people and

improve health and wellbeing.

In October, Berkeley announced

the first ten ideas selected from

50 submissions. The first batch

will receive between £25,000

and £250,000 to develop their

innovations further. Many of them

have come from SMEs working

for Berkeley and will be tested on

Berkeley sites.

One of the winning ideas comes

from Steve Murphy, managing

director of SMB Brickworks who is

working with a Harley Street doctor

to design a robust support belt

which will be attached to the inside

of a jacket. Having sustained a back

injury himself whilst in the army,

this is an area close to his heart.

“We lose a lot of good workmen

from the industry because of

back-related injuries,”Murphy says

in a video on the Berkeley Group


Another scheme which will be

going further is a 24/7 helpline to

be run by construction industry

charity the Lighthouse Club

for SMEs. The idea is that small

companies can report near misses

or potential safety improvements

over the phone, with the support

centre recording the call and

sending a standard form on to

the company for onward action.

This removes the time and effort

needed for form-filling and

should, ultimately, lead to accident


Other winning ideas include a

system that detects pedestrians

and bikes around plant, a new

approach for detecting hand-arm

vibration and a portal to provide

free occupational health advice to

small contractors.

If you’ve got a bright idea, there’s

still time to submit it. SMEs

in Berkeley’s supply chain are

particularly encouraged but others

can apply too by clicking



All entries need to be submitted

before April 2016.

So Lendlease is very sensible to look

at issues around wellbeing - and

send out press releases about it to let

people know. Not only is it aiming to

reduce costs from sick days, it wants

to attract the best talent too.

Industry eye articles have been

written for

Industry Image


Kristina Smith


Freelance construction writer

and editor.