Construction sites are prime targets for enterprising criminals. With multiple access points, unverified entries, heavy daytime traffic, and an abandoned-by-night feel, construction sites present the perfect opportunity for thieves and vandals to strike.
With business thriving in Nashville, construction security is more important than ever. To give you a sense of the city’s building boom, the Nashville Business Journal’s Crane Watch maps out more than 200 building sites across Davidson County.
On a larger scale, The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) reports that the ten states account for 62% of all heavy equipment thefts. Tennessee ranks 7th on the list and 8 of the top 10 ten states are located in the South, where the population is growing and the economy is thriving. Yearly estimates of equipment theft range from $300 million to $1 billion, with most estimates hovering in the range of $400 million. According to the report, theft far outweighs other jobsite risks such as vandalism, fire, collision, and acts of nature.
The NCIB urges equipment owners and construction site operators to increase risk management for easily transportable equipment recommends improving both equipment and site security.
Now that we’ve established just how prevalent theft is on construction sites, we’ll help you tackle the problem. Here are a few great ways to minimize heavy equipment losses and vandalism, increase productivity, and promote worksite security.
Low-Cost and Low-Tech Ways to Prevent Construction Site Theft
We’ll get into some of the most effective ways to prevent construction site theft shortly, but first, we recommend implementing these easy and affordable preventative solutions immediately.
- Clearly and indelibly mark all equipment, materials, and moveable property.
- Maintain accurate and detailed records of your equipment (we recommend digital images, product identification numbers, VINs, and purchase or rental agreements).
- During off-hours, ensure that your equipment is difficult to move (surround smaller pieces of heavy equipment and materials with larger, less mobile ones).
- Install fuel shut-off systems on motorized equipment.
- Remove circuit breakers or fuses.
- Rekey your equipment.
- Remove keys at the end of the day and lock equipment whenever possible.
Create a Plan to Keep Criminals Out of Your Construction Site
Good planning is critical to construction site security. Before breaking ground, create a job site security plan that’s specific to the site. Assign supervisory security responsibilities and encourage awareness among your workers. In other words, encourage your workers to speak up if they see something suspicious! If someone looks unfamiliar or something looks wrong, let them know that everyone’s on alert by asking them to identify themselves and to state their business on the site.
Establish Effective Perimeter Security
Basic construction site security requires a good perimeter and an effective barrier. Fencing is effective and affordable. Whenever possible, minimize access points by establishing one entrance point and consider limiting vehicle access to authorized personnel only.
We recommend providing a parking area outside of the work zone for both employees and visitors. When the site in inactive, use heavy-duty locks to secure the gate. Only authorized personnel should have access to keys and an up-to-date list of authorized keyholders should be maintained by the contractor, security guard, or security consultant.
For more information on establishing an effective perimeter, read our post “What You Need to Know About Gates and Fencing.”
Install Security Lighting
Security lighting is a highly effective deterrent to theft and should remain on from sunset to sunrise. Be sure to illuminate your perimeter, storage areas, and areas where any valuable equipment or materials are stored.
Construction Executive recommends that warning signs should be placed along the perimeter “warning the general public that the site is hazardous and is monitored by 24-hour security (whether it is or not). ‘No trespassing’ signs should also be placed along the perimeter to warn the public that trespassers will be arrested (whether they will be or not).”
Monitor Access Points and Job Site
A job site can be monitored by patrolling security guards or by video camera surveillance. If you choose to hire security guards, be sure to install bar codes or some other check-in method that the guard must scan or use regularly and according to schedule. This helps ensure that the guards are making the rounds and are on the lookout for suspicious behavior. Construction Executive recommends that these codes be placed at access points, fire extinguishers, storage areas, and by heavy equipment. Furthermore, all security guards should know how to use your CCTV system and carry communication devices at all times.
HD CCTV and infrared cameras not only give criminals pause when scouting your construction site, but they can also help you assist in identifying and prosecuting intruders, in the event that a theft or act of vandalism does occur. Many general contractors find that centrally monitored CCTV systems are more effective and affordable than hiring 24-hour security guards.
As an added bonus, these systems can help general contractors maintain better control over employees and subcontractors.
For a free commercial security consultation, contact Herring Technology. We’ll work to keep your construction site secure.