From simple idea to award-winning innovative product: Core Drill Block

A chance encounter watching a worker perform an unsafe work act led to David Honey inventing an award-winning product that has increased the safety and accuracy of core drilling around New Zealand and Australia.

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22 years ago, while doing demolition work on a construction site in Australia, David observed a worker using their feet to guide a core drill into concrete. The worker told David this was something he did every day, as he didn’t like using the hard to use drill stands that were often broken.  

Core drills are powerful tools that take a long time to slow down and stop, so the potential for serious injury is high if they are used incorrectly or without proper safety precautions. Between 2020-2022, ACC paid out $2.8m for work-related injuries related to concrete cutting or drilling in New Zealand.  

This observation onsite sparked a thought for David that there must be a safer and more accurate way to drill holes using a core drill. The result was the invention of the Core Drill Block – a product designed to guide the core drill to an accurate pinpoint position, without the need for a drill stand or the use of a worker’s feet, hands, or shoulders. The product is designed to keep workers safe, increase drilling accuracy and efficiency, and in turn, worker productivity.  

In 2017, David teamed up with his brother Graham Honey, now Core Drill Block’s Managing Director, to bring the product to market. 

“I kept trying to get investors over the years, but no one was interested until my brother finally came along,” says David. “I had my prototype sitting up on the shelf and my brother said, ‘well, should we do this?’ and I said, ‘well, yeah!’. It had been 15 years since I designed it.” 

Made in New Zealand from durable, hard-wearing materials, the Core Drill Block comes in a range of different diameters and is an effective solution for improving both accuracy and safety procedures when drilling.  

“My brother [Graham] is an engineer, so we created our own engineering company to make them, and we developed them ourselves,” says David. “We have formulas that spit out the numbers, all right down to the 0.1mm. It’s not ‘just a block’, the Core Drill Block fits perfectly up inside the core drill.” 

As the Core Drill Block is bolted to the centre point of where the hole is required, the core drill doesn’t move from the block during drilling. This means the accuracy of the drilling is improved, and the human element of using hands, feet, or shoulders to guide the moving drill is eliminated. Finding a way to eliminate the use of hands or feet near the high torque spinning drill was an important health and safety factor in the design of the Core Drill Block.  

The Core Drill Block is now used on construction sites in New Zealand and Australia, is stocked throughout New Zealand at Youngman Richardson branches and on the Core Drill Block website. The team are currently making moves to take the product further afield to the US.  

David’s team at Auckland Core Drillers recently completed a contract for KiwiRail that required over 4,500 holes to be drilled. Thanks to David’s innovative product, the team completed the job with 100% accuracy and in an efficient manner.  

In March 2023, Core Drill Block were named as the winner of the Safety Innovation Award for small to medium businesses at Site Safe’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing Awards evening.  

“We’re very proud of the win. It was mind blowing!” says David. “It’s nice to look at the big glass trophy and know we’re making a difference.” 

Entering the awards was a way for David to show how what started as a simple idea has turned into an internationally used product that does exactly what it’s designed to do. 

“I knew it deserved to be recognised, because it works,” says David. “It’s a simple idea, so simple that people must think, ‘why didn’t we think of that?’.” 

To someone entering the Site Safe’s 2024 Health, Safety, and Wellbeing Awards, David says to “keep believing in your product.”  

Don’t let other people say, ‘oh, that’s not going to work.’ Keep believing in yourself, keep going for it, and it will pay off. There’s a lot of stuff out there to improve on, and sometimes it’s the simple ideas that do work.” 

Award submissions are now open for the 2024 Health, Safety and Wellbeing Awards! Click here to learn more and enter now.