A £2M innovation fund has been launched by house builder Berkeley to boost site safety.
The firm said it was “challenging individuals and inventors, as well as companies and universities, to come up with bright ideas that change the way people think and work in construction”.
“New ideas to radically change the construction industry are urgently needed if the housing shortage is to be addressed quickly and safely,” the group said in a statement.
“Forty two people lost their lives on building sites in England in 2013, with over 5,000 were seriously injured. Meanwhile, the industry is faced with intense demands to increase production and build more complex structures, often on brownfield sites in dense busy cities,” it added.
Berkeley’s innovation fund will make grants of between £250 and £250,000 over the next two years.
“The sheer volume of work going on is testing the industry,” said Berkely Group managing director Rob Perrins. “Companies and staff are running flat out to gear up production and tackle the housing crisis.”
“The industry is having to work with less experienced people, in multiple languages, with plant and equipment in high demand. That generates fresh hazards in a business that is inherently risky.”
“Fundamentally, I don’t believe this is a problem you can solve directly with money. It demands fresh ideas, which is where the innovation fund comes in.”