6 Best Practices to Tighten Construction Site Security

Theft is a constant concern for construction companies working on residential and commercial sites. They are forced to remain vigilant 24/7 against those wanting to steal construction materials, appliances, tools, and equipment. They have little choice but to consider sophisticated security systems that can act as a deterrent and collect evidence when a crime occurs.

Construction site theft costs residential and commercial projects $300 million and $1 billion every year. This becomes more concerning when construction managers realize that it accounts only for stolen equipment and doesn’t include the cost of stolen tools and materials. The same study found that less than 25% of all items stolen from construction sites are recovered.

Construction site security is critical as a money-saving step and a powerful means of preventing costly production delays. Every stolen or damaged item must be repaired or replaced, which adds time and cost to any project. Our guide will cover construction site security risks, the six key steps to combat them, and who to hire for first-class protection.

Why Construction Sites Are Targets

construction site equipment

Any location can be a target for crime, but especially those with no choice but to telegraph their activity. Construction sites will never operate under the radar and thus are consistently exposed to criminal threats. There are two main reasons for construction sites to seriously reconsider their current security measures based on traditional risks and current conditions:

They’re Open Plan and Attract Attention

construction site security

Construction sites are high-profile public spaces full of valuable items, many of which are small or light enough to be quickly and imperceptibly removed. Thieves can swipe even heavier equipment successfully if given enough time. Construction sites frequently stock up on large amounts of valuable materials such as copper and metal, which can easily be stolen.

Construction Crime Is Increasing

Difficult economic times and job losses often cause a spike in many kinds of crime. The construction sector has it worse when financial problems cause work stoppages that leave sites dormant and unoccupied for extended periods. This makes them even more vulnerable to theft and vandalism and has caused construction crime to become a serious national concern quickly.

The most proactive construction sites understand they could be next without deterrents in place. Every team member should be educated on playing their part in ensuring their project won’t be the next statistic.

6 Construction Site Security Steps

Successful construction site security means accepting every element of risk and getting tough on their causes. This takes more from a construction company than erecting a chain-link fence – it requires looking inside their operation and outside to catch criminals in the act. Here are a few ways to do that:

Add a Surveillance System

construction site security systems

This is the first step in creating robust hybridized construction site security. Video surveillance systems can perform multiple functions, including a 360-degree view of your site, 24/7 motion-recording cameras, long-range thermal detection, and advanced analytics. Some systems are also monitored live by individuals experienced in law enforcement who can directly address site suspects and contact the authorities.

Deploy On-Site Security Personnel

Hybridized security also means having human agents operating directly on-site. Construction projects of any size, but especially larger ones, can benefit from this measure. On-site agents can communicate directly with a remote team to coordinate efforts and provide the most efficient response. The mere sight of security personnel on construction grounds is also an effective visual deterrent.

Establish Zero-Tolerance Policies On-Site

construction site security signs

Effective construction site security hinges on accepting that anyone can be a criminal – employees and authorized site visitors are behind many thefts. Firm anti-theft policies posted  around the site and distributed to any individual who enters the project are always a good approach. Make it clear what consequences will follow if those rules are broken.

Protect Your Perimeter and Interior

Fences, locks, and lights are powerful criminal deterrents. Locks should be a cross-site application to secure gates, vehicles, equipment storage, and personnel cabins. Bright lighting illuminates sites, which are otherwise vast dark spaces with many smaller structures inside them – the perfect environment for criminals to operate unseen.

Register All Equipment

construction site tools

Every item on your building site will have a serial number, license plate, or other identifying feature that you should register, whether it’s a joist tool or a John Deere forklift. Construction firms should speak to local and state authorities, law enforcement, and their insurer to find the right ways to register in their region. They should also elect an equipment-management officer to ensure all items are signed for and returned.

Allow Only a Single Access Point Wherever Possible

This is an ideal situation because it limits avenues of opportunity for construction thieves. The sheer scale of many construction operations negates single-point access, however. This makes it mission-critical to monitor every entrance and exit with hybrid security measures.

Working with the professionals roots out every potential risk to your site while covering every base a criminal might exploit. Your security representative should be experienced in the field and able to provide site-specific solutions tailored to your needs. Working as a team helps prevent the many weaknesses created by underestimating the threat.

Common Hazards of Poor Construction Site Security

construction site security

No construction company wants to think about being hit. Criminals count on your reluctance to accept that every site is a crime scene waiting to happen. Failure to see things from a professional perspective deepens existing weaknesses and creates new ones, and that can lead to issues like these:

  • Your site may have experienced a few small-scale thefts but “not enough” to force a security review. Make no mistake: Crime starts small, and failure to act only leads to escalation.
  • Solely relying on people witnessing a crime isn’t enough. Witness testimony can conflict, be false, or be prone to inaccurate recollection. Security cameras can provide valuable evidence that may make or break the prosecution of a construction crime.
  • You may have cameras that have not been assessed for optimal positioning. A qualified security team can better place surveillance systems to ensure they cover the site effectively while being seen (but not harmed) by criminals.
  • Sites can be responsible for giving criminals a motive to steal. This includes displaying lax security measures and undervaluing or mistreating those doing the work. Criminals can easily rationalize their acts when perpetrators hold a grudge against supervisors, managers, or other authority figures.
  • Failure to perform adequate background checks or regular drug tests can bring previously convicted criminals and addiction-driven thieves onto your site.
  • Any construction company that relies solely on insurance will have a hard time making a claim. Insurers will not be pleased if they discover you did nothing to prevent a crime.

A single weak link in your site security plan is all criminals need to wreak havoc. Working with the professionals combines cutting-edge technology with practical human experience to keep your site safe 24/7 under any contingency. 

Contact Our Site Security Experts With Any Questions

construction site security

Mobile Video Guard understands the construction sector’s vulnerability to crime and is a leader in providing solutions. We specialize in remote-monitored video surveillance solutions for residential and commercial construction sites, and we provide professional security personnel to guard utility infrastructure sites, equipment yards, scrap and recycling yards, and more. 
Our pro team can provide a thorough assessment of your site’s risk profile and recommend the best security approach. Contact Mobile Video Guard and speak to an expert today about any construction site security concerns.

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