Construction sites are often plagued by vandalism, arson, and theft. Equipment and building materials are expensive. The added cost of insurance, delays, and replacing machinery and materials affects your site and your clients’ deadlines. Take these positive steps to minimize the costly impact of damage to your job site and to take a bite out of these losses.
Know Your Work Area
If you’re completing a job in an unfamiliar location, contact the local police and ask how extensive crime is in the area. Tell them what you are doing and ask if they can send a patrol to check out the job site occasionally, especially if you aren’t planning to employ on-site security.
Inventory Your Equipment
Have a detailed inventory and monitoring system in place for all your equipment so you can track everything on the site. Use an etching tool to etch serial numbers onto equipment and tools. Have prominent and easily identifiable company logos on your machinery and big ticket items. Small tools are especially vulnerable to theft, so a site supervisor or foreman should monitor what tools are going to which employees. The tools should also be logged in at the end of the workday.
Use GPS Tracking Devices and Ignition Cutout Switches
For expensive machinery, such as heavy equipment or big generators, consider that GPS technology has made great strides. You can now get small tracking units that will not only advise you when items are being used but will also provide its location. You can also add alarm features that will let you know when the equipment leaves its designated work area. Another good feature is to disable heavy machinery and vehicles with ignition cutout switches, which effectively immobilize them.
Lighting and Fencing
A well lit job site will dissuade impetuous vandals and give thieves pause. Use light motion detectors or infrared triggers that will automatically alert intruders and local neighbors that the area has been breached. Studies have also shown that a chain-link fence also makes a better deterrence than most other barriers because it protects a site while offering outsiders a clear view of the site. If a chain-link fence is not possible, then enclose designated storage areas for construction material and tools, flammables, or hazardous items.
There should only be one way in and out of the site. The more access points you have to the job site, the harder it is monitor who and what is coming and going. Have your employees park off the job site, if possible.
Plan Deliveries and Installation
Fully or partially installing certain items when they arrive can help prevent damage to or loss of expensive items. Items such as HVAC systems, plywood, doors, and windows, for example, are more likely to be stolen or vandalized the longer they are left lying around.
Use Security Cameras, Security Guards, Dogs and Signs
The use of cameras can enhance your job site’s level of security dramatically. The presence of a security guard or guard dog brings even more protection to the site. Make sure you have plenty of signs that announce your site is under surveillance — even if it actually isn’t.
Employ Proper Lock-Up Procedures
Have key employees perform your lock-up at the end of the workday. They should ensure that that all equipment and tools are in their designated places and that all locks, doors, and windows are secured. Additionally, designated personnel should confirm that ignition keys have been removed from all vehicles and that gas and oil tank caps are locked.
Use Your Neighbors
Asking people who have visual view of your site to keep an eye out can also increase your chances of preventing loss or damage. Consider offering a small reward as an incentive, if their information leads to an arrest or prevents a loss. Common sense, good planning, and organization can go a long way towards reducing theft, vandalism, and arson on job sites. Taking these positive steps can save you a lot of money, grief and time on a project.