Construction site theft can cause project delays, property damage and loss of profit for companies in the construction sector. It is imperative to deter thieves from targeting construction sites with the help of construction site security. Here, we look into the various security options and how they can help protect your firm from the threat of a break-in.

Construction theft has soared during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Construction site theft is an ever-increasing problem in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £800 million ($1,040 million) per year. Unfortunately, this type of crime has accelerated further throughout lockdown by an estimated 50% due to the abandonment of construction sites across the UK. With many uncertainties around a potential second wave in the UK, it is time for construction firms to enhance their security strategies to help prevent thieves from becoming opportunists on construction sites.

Why are construction sites ‘easy’ targets?

Construction sites can easily be targeted, as they typically lack adequate security loss prevention practices. The most popular security-related issues that are leading causes of construction site theft are:

  • Poor overall site security
  • Multiple pieces of equipment sharing the same keys
  • Easy access to open cabs
  • Unsecured sites, particularly at night and over weekends
  • Lack of product identification systems

If you do not want your site becoming a costly statistic, you might want to try implementing some or all of these preventive measures.

Strengthen your perimeter

Putting a clear boundary around a construction site will help to prevent youths and members of the public from inadvertently wandering onto the site. To stop opportunist thieves in their tracks, you will need to go one step further by erecting robust fencing and concrete blocks along with signage warning intruders about the consequences of trespassing. Putting a clear boundary around a construction site will help to prevent youths and members of the public from inadvertently wandering onto the siteIf potential trespassers can see that it would be too challenging to attempt a break-in, then they will look elsewhere to find another construction site which is not as well secured.

Lock away valuable tools

When considering the vulnerabilities in your construction site, it pays to think about this from the perspective of a criminal. What is it exactly that they are looking for? What can a thief steal easily to make money if they were to remove something from your site?

Unfortunately, many construction firms do not lock away their tools, materials or vehicles properly, which makes them an easy target. Ensure valuable tools and materials are locked away and are not left unsecured or lying around. Criminals are mostly interested in scaffolding, bowsers and other valuables that are quick to sell on, so it is important to have a strategy in place to keep these locked away, safe and securely.

Put tracking devices in your equipment

If you are unable to securely lock away valuable tools, then modern technology makes securing equipment easier than ever before. Tracking devices can be installed onto vehicles and equipment; if any thief is unwise enough to steal from the site, site owners will be able to provide the location to the police who will be able to follow this up.

Site owners should also engrave company identification numbers on valuable tools, equipment and vehicles so that it can easily be identified and will serve as proof who it rightly belongs to.

Invest in CCTV

Closed Circuit Television, otherwise known as CCTV, is renowned for being one of the most effective deterrents for thieves, especially when it comes to construction and building sites.The items that criminals steal from sites are notoriously hard to trace The items that criminals steal from sites are notoriously hard to trace, but if you have CCTV, there is a chance that you can capture clear footage to help bring criminals to justice, such as footage of the vehicle used and the car licence plate. CCTV cameras can help to oversee every inch of a construction site, and can even be hidden out of sight where required.

Step up with regular site patrols

With a wide range of security monitoring methods available, stepping up on regular site patrols can help to keep track and respond to any criminal activity taking place on your site. Traditional site patrols can be carried out on a schedule by professional SIA-approved security agents. With the presence of guards patrolling a construction site, any criminals in the area will be deterred to force entry onto the site.

Schedule supply deliveries on an as-needed basis

To prevent an excess of supplies ‘sitting around’ on the site, construction site managers should instead order what is needed at the time, so that valuable materials are not left around waiting to be stolen for weeks at a time. Good planning and excellent communication between the team will be required so that projects are not delayed, but planning accordingly will help to reduce the chances of theft on a construction site.

Drone surveillance

As technology becomes more and more advance, drone surveillance may soon be a security option that many construction sites could benefit from.
Many construction firms in the UK are using drone services to provide aerial images, and are seeing huge cost savings by either purchasing and operating their own drones or by hiring out the work to a company equipped to provide imaging.As technology becomes more and more advanced, drone surveillance may soon be a security option

With surveillance drones already handling tasks like mapping and surveying of construction sites, one day they may be able to patrol construction sites at night, equipped with motion sensors and infrared or night vision cameras; They could be automatically deployed from a charging station and fly along a pre-programmed route at regular intervals. One to keep an eye on for the near future!

Construction site security to help protect your site

If you are ready to tighten security on your own construction site, then your starting point will be to identify your main vulnerabilities and get in touch with a reputable security specialist.

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Author profile

Neil Sweeney Managing Director, Sicuro

Neil Sweeney is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Sicuro. He began his career working as a commercial property agency surveyor for over 15 years for a regional commercial property agency. Neil identified a demand for cost-effective and efficient security to support the construction and vacant property industry in 2012. Neil’s no-nonsense approach to business has led to Sicuro becoming a leader in construction site and vacant property security.

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