5 Ways to Prevent Theft on a Construction Site

construction site

Construction building sites are often a target for criminal activity due to their isolated locations and the valuable tools, machinery and equipment that are held on site. In the UK, Construction Manager estimates that theft from construction sites costs over £800 million every year. Similarly, in the USA, construction site theft costs the industry an estimated $1 billion annually – with theft of equipment being the most common crime committed.


Types of construction site theft


Targets of theft from a construction site vary massively, but they can range from copper and scrap metal theft, to high value tools and machinery.


Some theft is the result of opportunity – when the site is not secured properly and an opportunist spots their chance. Other theft from construction sites can be highly organised, the targets for this organised type of theft tends to be high value machinery.


As well as the obvious losses in terms of cost of replacement, theft on a construction site can also cause project delays and an increase in insurance premiums. In this article we’ll talk about the 5 must-have security measures to prevent theft on a construction site.


1.Use a cloud video surveillance system


Cloud video surveillance is a powerful tool for preventing theft on job sites due to several key advantages over more traditional surveillance methods. 


Cloud-based surveillance systems for construction sites are easily accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing site managers to monitor activity in real-time and respond quickly to any suspicious behaviour. As well as this, many cloud-based video surveillance systems include motion detection alerts – meaning that site managers can be notified every time there is suspicious activity.


Some construction sites are in remote locations and therefore don’t have wired internet. Some cloud CCTV providers such as Videoloft work over 4G/5G and satellite networks. All you would need is a camera, a switch, a cloud adapter, a cellular or satellite connection (e.g. Starlink) to the internet and a small local power source, which is typically a battery topped up by solar or wind. If there’s a network outage, video will be locally stored on the Videoloft Cloud Adapter and uploaded to the cloud once the network is restored. The ability to work over cellular networks also means Videoloft is perfect for use on mobile surveillance trailers, or CCTV towers. This gives site managers flexibility when it comes to the location of their cameras.


Cloud video surveillance is also more secure than traditional local storage. Local recorders are vulnerable to theft or damage on site. Adding cloud backup from a provider like Videoloft means that even if a local recorder were to malfunction or be stolen, the footage is safely backed up in the cloud.


2.Keep the site well lit

There can be little doubt that one of the most effective ways of protecting a construction site from theft is to make sure the area is well-lit. This is an excellent deterrent to criminals as they don’t have the protection of darkness to conceal their activities.


Lighting a construction site continuously throughout the night can prove to be costly. Motion detection lighting will allow security managers to keep their construction site well lit whilst keeping electricity costs to a minimum. 


Security lighting for construction sites also have other benefits besides deterring potential criminals. In the winter, when the days are shorter, security lights on site can illuminate potential safety hazards and may help prevent trips and falls.


3.Keep a tool and machinery inventory


With the sheer amount of tools and machinery that are present on a job site, construction tool tracking is a necessity.


A thorough tool and machinery inventory will allow you to keep track of where your equipment is, and who’s used it. A tracking system increases accountability and is effective at preventing employee theft. In many cases, tools and equipment go missing and their loss isn’t noticed until some time later – in which case the equipment is usually long gone. With a tool and machinery inventory system in place site managers are able to quickly identify if any equipment is missing and act fast to locate it. 


Site managers could also install a geolocator device to plant machinery, this will send a notification if any plant has left the site and can also help locate the machinery in the event it gets stolen.


4.Secure the perimeter


One of the key things a site manager can do to prevent theft from their construction site is to secure the perimeter and fences around the site. These measures are vital in deterring thieves and preventing theft.


Having a tall perimeter will prevent would-be criminals from looking in and sizing up what they could steal. Some construction site security managers also add signage to their perimeter fencing such as “CCTV in operation” which acts as a further deterrent.


5.Hire security guards


Another way to stop theft from a job site is by hiring security guards. Having security personnel on-site after working hours is a reliable and effective way to secure a construction site. 


Security guards will patrol the site at regular intervals and can also check all equipment and valuables are safely locked away. Some of the most secure construction sites also use a ‘virtual security guard’ service – this service provides live monitoring of your cameras by a trained security professional. You’d need to make sure your video surveillance system supported local live viewing – Videoloft allows live video to be viewed remotely from anywhere in the world meaning it’s a great solution for security managers who want to go down the route of using a virtual security guard service.


In conclusion, preventing theft on a construction site is crucial for the success and safety of any project. By implementing the five recommendations outlined above, construction companies can significantly reduce the risk of theft and protect their assets. By making security measures a priority, construction site managers can ensure their projects are completed on time and within budget, without any unexpected setbacks due to theft or loss of equipment.


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