Essential tips to protect your construction site from theft
Is your construction site secure? Do you have a security plan in place? Sadly, construction site thieves are lurking everywhere, just waiting for an opportunity to steal valuable tools or materials, or even drive away with a piece of heavy machinery! Apart from the obvious cost of replacement, theft can cause delays to your building project and result in costly overruns. So, what can be done?
To prevent theft, you need to understand why it occurs. Construction sites are often easy targets. In most cases there’s little or no security and no overnight or weekend supervision. And if you’ve not listed and numbered all your equipment, it’s almost impossible to track and recover any stolen items. Having an equipment theft and security programme in place is vital and can make a big difference to your site security & evictions, if required.
Here’s how to get started:
Make a list
Draw up an inventory, with identification numbers, of all the large and expensive items of equipment on site. Make sure each piece of equipment has its own individual key, and fit hidden kill switches to expensive pieces of machinery.
Devise a plan
Draw up a security policy and plan, including a written agreement with your subcontractors that sets out who will be responsible for breaches in security.
Ask the police
Right up front, find out from your local police station if there are any known crime problems in your area, or any environmental, political or other groups who may be concerned about your building project.
Add more light
A simple and inexpensive way to safeguard your construction site and discourage trespassers is to increase illumination during off-duty hours. If possible, you should also install cameras with motion sensors and fence the area.
At the end of the working day, leave your machines close together in a tight circle with smaller items in the centre. Use ignition and wheel locks and fuel shut-offs. If your project is large enough, consider installing a tracking system and integrating this with police, so that if a theft occurs stolen equipment can be tracked and recovered quickly.
Make sure your security perimeter fence is at least 8-foot high. Have only one gate in and out of the site and locate it in a well-lit area. Make sure there’s plenty of ‘dead space’ around the fence, so that any trespassers will be visible as they try to enter. Keep the fence clear of any items that thieves might be able to use to climb over the fence. If you’re in a high-risk area, hire a security guard for nights and weekends.
Additional security precautions should include:
- Use hard hat stickers, uniforms, or badges to identify authorised personnel on site, and supervise on-site visitors at all times.
- Monitor entry and exit points and implement a sign-in/sign-out system. Question anyone you think may be trespassing and, if they’re not authorised, escort them off site or call the police.
- Conduct regular inspections to make sure the perimeter hoarding or fencing is intact and secure, and make sure that ‘no unauthorised entry’ signage is clearly visible.
- Position power cables high up out of reach, so that thieves can’t disable security lights.
- Lock the access gates after normal working hours and whenever the site is left unattended and immobilise all vehicles and plant in a separate secure compound that’s out of view.
- Lock up and store securely out of view any power tools, materials and equipment, and remove all access ladders.
- Hire a security guard for nights if the site is in a high-risk area.
- Take extra precautions – CCTV or security patrols – if the site is left unoccupied over weekends or holidays.