Invention takes up the charge to tackle long-standing issues on Australian construction sites

16 Jul 2021

The world is changing faster than ever before. As a major player in the construction sector, we have a responsibility to constantly challenge and change the industry for the better… and we know that it doesn’t always have to be change that is big, bold and transformational. There’s also significant benefit in the everyday ideas, which help keep people safe, and improve our industry in new and interesting ways.

A recent Lendlease invention that is small in size - but big on scale and benefit! -  is tackling a long-standing issue on Australian construction sites. A super smart, market-first Mobile Charge Pod is a powered lockable cabinet that allows subbies to safely store power tools, while charging their batteries. This invention shakes things up – changing the ways we work on construction sites through better safety, productivity and cost efficiencies.

The brainchild behind this invention is Jason King, Lendlease’s Project Director at the Integrated Acute Services Building for the Prince of Wales Hospital. Jason saw firsthand our subbies struggling day-in day-out to maintain the security of their power tools and valuable equipment. One subbie shared that he spends a crazy $25,000 a year replacing battery operated cordless tools, without even considering the disruption and downtime to his business!

Jason was inspired to find a solution that would allow subbies to leave and safely charge cordless tool batteries on site, without worrying about equipment going ‘walkabout’. He also saw the need to remove messy conventional measures that created site safety hazards. 

The Mobile Charge Pod was brought to life with the support of Lendlease’s annual innovation accelerator program ‘Launchpad’, where staff pitch their great ideas and, if successful, are mentored by Stanford University d.school professors and our internal Innovation team, to turn them into reality.

While identifying a potential market need is the first step towards any sound innovation, the real success lies in the ‘delight factor’ for the customer. To put this theory to the test, Jason conducted the first trial rather organically. With no introduction, he left the Mobile Charge Pod on site for the day, accessible to any subbies working on Randwick Campus Redevelopment. When he returned that afternoon, he was amazed to find it packed with tools charging. Such a success, Jason had to enlist the help of a foreman to track down everyone that had used it! Building on this overnight success, we’ve been testing and adapting prototypes, which has led to a great partnership with manufacturer Makinex. The Mobile Charge Pod has now been launched on Lendlease sites in Australia, with a global rollout under discussion. 

The invention has also received the thumbs up from our peers, with the first 100 orders from other construction companies and subcontractors already reaching sites across Australia.

Manufactured from a durable and recyclable plastic, it provides six easy to use lockers that are large enough for the various battery bank chargers and provides a protected General Power Outlet for each locker. The Mobile Charge Pod has sturdy lifting points and the compact sizing makes it super easy to move through doorways, liftings and tight access ways.  

Everyday our people have thousands of touchpoints with our customers: on site, in the places we create, within the community, and with the work they do. With this in mind, we need to look for cool, exciting, novel ways to constantly empower our people to improve the ‘everyday’ for our customers. The Mobile Charge Pod success story tells us that change doesn’t have to be a radical breakthrough to be ground-breaking – even the smallest step change applied correctly can have a significant impact. 

ENDS