When you decide to start a construction project, you may have some concerns, especially regarding how valuable materials can be kept secure. The last thing you want is someone stealing or destroying your materials.
In a construction project, you have a lot of valuable materials lying around the site; power tools, machinery, wood, and metals. All these materials are at the mercy of anyone who can access the construction site after the crew leaves for the day. The construction industry knows that their job sites are easy targets; they are poorly lit at night and are not manned by security personnel—especially at night. With the increase in demand for construction—a 21% jump from Jan 2020 to Jan 2021—you need to ensure that you keep your construction site and equipment safe.
In this blog, we will examine the statistics that show how much of a problem construction theft actually is. Construction theft is a cause of concern at the national level and is being addressed. Still, it is not isolated to one region and affects construction sites across all corners of the nation.
We will go through the main reasons construction sites are getting robbed and what you can do to prevent theft from occurring at your construction site.
It was reported in 2021 that 11,504 burglaries were reported on construction sites in the United States. These burglaries don’t merely target valuable resources like heavy equipment on job sites but also common materials like copper wires, bricks, and more. Lumber is another attractive resource, and with the rising prices of wood, that seems to be the target resource for most burglars.
The National Equipment Register (NER) has reported a rise in theft over the last five years, and construction/work sites are the most frequently targeted locations. We can also see a geographic trend, with the most target states being Texas, Florida, and California, with a total loss value of $7,739,056.
Top 5 Reasons for Construction Site Theft
1. Lack of security measures on a construction site
With so many tools, equipment, and raw materials lying around on a construction site, special care must be taken to ensure the safety of these assets. The number of people with access to a construction site is astounding; employees, engineers, and visitors…who enter and leave the sites at unpredictable times that may or may not be scheduled.
Perimeter security is of the utmost importance and controlling access to the site is a priority. Focusing on access control will not only help keep out thieves and prevent vandalism, but it can also protect trespassers from an injury that could result in legal action against you.
2. The ease of reselling stolen construction material and equipment
The main reason why the theft of construction site equipment has become more rampant is due to the ease of reselling construction materials. Tools and equipment are attractive targets to thieves and can quickly be sold through a variety of channels. Stolen construction material can be quickly pawned or conveniently sold through websites like Facebook, Craigslist, and MaterialsXchange.
3. Not using an asset management system
The leading cause of theft on a construction site is the inability to track and account for the material that comes in every day and accurately account for materials consumed on a site. Keeping your heavy machinery well-oiled and in working condition is essential because that will ensure you avoid losing productivity time which might be spent on locating and transporting a replacement. Scheduling planned preventative maintenance activities for your heavy equipment will increase its shelf life and reduce depreciation.
4. Improper surveillance
Proper surveillance is critical on any construction site. With the technology available today, we can now have surveillance on almost every street—if we want it. The proliferation of security technologies has helped to ensure public safety; it can also safeguard the contents of your construction sites. Adding high-tech security solutions to your existing arsenal is like having an extra set of eyes on-site. But, for optimal performance, you must maintain your video equipment and train people to get the best out of them.
5. Unorganized inventory management for your equipment
It may seem like a herculean task to make an inventory of all your equipment and assets. But most thefts on construction sites go unnoticed precisely because there is not a good sense of what the current inventory actually is. With a proper inventory management system in place, you can get a sense of what your inventory actually looks like.
Start with the largest equipment first, next move on to those that are most important to your business, and then branch out to smaller and smaller items. Once you start keeping tabs on your equipment, inventory management becomes simple.
5 Tips to Avoid Construction Site Theft
When hardening your site with a robust security system, keep in mind that no matter how small or big your construction site is, these tips will help ensure your perimeter is safe and secure. Follow the steps below to reduce thefts on your construction site.
1. Ensure that you secure equipment and material under lock and key
Dedicate a perimeter on the construction site to store your equipment securely. Having critical tools and equipment under lock and key will ensure that only authorized personnel access them. This not only prevents misuse or manipulation of material but also prevents people from attempting to steal them in the first place.
2. Install security cameras and alarms around your construction site
Managing a construction site can be daunting; installing surveillance cameras and alarms, this task can be made more straightforward and easier to accomplish. Installing equipment to help you survey the area will help deter crime as well as provide you with evidence in cases of theft. In addition to this, setting up alarms throughout the construction site will alert your employees of any intrusions or safety concerns.
3. Conduct regular site inspections
Regular site inspections are critical; they help mitigate risks and to ensure compliance with safety regulations. These inspections should not be taken lightly, as they help expose potential hazards on the site as well as gaps in security. If you want to reduce theft and property damage, these inspections will help improve an organization's overall safety and performance.
4. Create a reporting system to account for any missing items
Another important step in preventing theft is creating a reporting system that accounts for lost items. With the right plan in place, construction companies can avoid sudden dips in their inventory by accurately tracking their assets. A properly designed reporting system can help track any misplaced tools while addressing issues like theft or inaccuracies with inventory as soon as they are discovered.
5. Conduct antitheft training sessions for your employees on-site
Contact local law enforcement departments to offer practical antitheft training to your employees. These training sessions are centered around spreading awareness among your employees and preventing workplace theft.
Creating antitheft policies helps create an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect between employees, management, clients, and customers. These training sessions are an excellent way to ensure that everyone in your organization understands the importance of securing your company’s assets and is familiar with the protocols they should follow while at work.
Construction sites have always been a soft target for theft due to their lack of security and the valuable resources and equipment available on site. To prevent thefts, it is essential for construction site managers to increase security measures, monitor movement on site, and have a responsive staff who can properly implement any strategies which are put in place.
When setting up policies on a construction site, ensure that you outline what items should be stored on-site and who can access them; regularly taking stock of your inventory can also help alleviate risks of theft. Optimize your use of technology with surveillance systems and tracking devices. Both of these can be used to alert construction teams of suspicious activity while also keeping watch at night when few if any, personnel are present.
Taking these extra steps to secure your property will reduce instances of theft and help keep potential risks at bay. By following the recommendations offered here, you can minimize incidents that could cost your business valuable time and resources. What are the preventive measures that you think have helped you most with thefts on your construction site? We encourage you to share your strategies and experiences with us. We are looking forward to hearing from you.