Construction Site Security Guide, Methods and Best Practices
By Clifford Strong, CEO of JC Protection LLC | April 1, 2022
Construction site theft is a serious issue. Business owners, site managers, and average workers all need to remain vigilant against criminals aiming to steal construction equipment, tools, and materials. Unfortunately, no matter how busy a construction site may be, there will be times when no one will be around to guard against unauthorized access.
There’s good news, too, and it’s that following construction site security best practices can help to deter criminals and prevent theft. If you’re not sure what changes to make or how to get started, this guide will offer comprehensive advice and explanations from construction site security services about security methods, best practices, and more.
The Importance of Having a Construction Site Security Plan
The past few years have brought a spike in many kinds of crime, but you could say that the construction industry has had it worse than most when it comes to property theft. The problem isn’t just that hard economic times make people desperate. Work stoppages have also left sites unoccupied for longer periods, although that does create an opportunity for thieves, vandals, and other criminals.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the National Equipment Register, equipment theft alone accounts for between $300 million and $1 billion in losses every year. Add thefts involving construction materials or tools instead of heavy equipment and the number approaches $2 billion. Experts believe that the uptick in construction site theft is a result of many factors, including:
- Inflated material costs
- Ease of access
- Permit backlogs
- Lack of security personnel
Combined with the economic uncertainty most Americans experienced during the pandemic, these factors help to explain why construction site theft has become so commonplace. The fact that it is now a widely recognized issue should prompt construction company owners, site managers, foremen, and other industry leaders to reevaluate their security plans. If that’s why you’re here, let’s get started.
Basic Methods for Keeping Construction Sites Safe
By far the best way to keep a construction site safe is to hire a construction site security service. Professional security guards already know all the best construction site security methods and how to employ them in different situations. In most cases, criminals think better of breaking into construction sites as soon as it becomes clear that they aren’t easy targets. Even the sight of professional security personnel is a fantastic deterrent, and when that isn’t enough, the guards will know just how to handle unauthorized access.
Just hiring a security service to patrol the area after work stops for the night won’t necessarily be enough to prevent all instances of construction site theft. Construction company owners, foremen, and workers can also do their part to keep their job sites safe and secure.
Establishing Written Security Policies
Every construction company should have a written security policy that applies to all job sites, but it’s also essential to create specific job site security plans. A comprehensive security policy will include information about plans for different types of job sites, who will be responsible for providing supervisory services, and how they will conduct worker training. It will also include a construction site security checklist that you can go through at each site to avoid missing essential security precautions.
Enlisting Local Help
As soon as construction firms receive news that they’ve submitted winning bids, they should reach out to both the local police and the fire department. All you have to do is alert them of the fact that access to the site will be limited, so they should stop and question trespassers.
It can also help to contact the owners or managers of adjoining properties and encourage them to report any unauthorized access or suspicious activity. Local company leaders can also get involved with associations that work to prevent construction site crime.
Workers should receive ongoing training on the importance of construction site security and their roles in preventing theft. Keeping a construction site safe isn’t just about keeping out unexpected visitors. It’s also about making sure that authorized site visitors do not attempt to steal tools or materials.
It should be clear to workers and visitors alike that the site managers have implemented a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of crime. Workers also need to know how important it is to report incidents of thefts immediately and what the process is for filing a report. Assigning a security liaison can help, as can making sure that person maintains complete records of all incidents brought to his or her attention.
Creating a Secure Perimeter
The best way to secure a construction site perimeter is to take a multi-faceted approach. Fences can be an effective crime deterrent, but only if they’re combined with locks. Motion-sensor lights and security cameras are also excellent tools for preventing unauthorized access after-hours. You should also create a clear zone of at least a few feet around the perimeter fences and post warning signs to alert unwanted visitors that security personnel supervises the site.
In an ideal situation, you should only have one access point to the construction site’s interior, and all employee and visitor parking should be outside of the fence. Unfortunately, though, it’s common for construction sites to be large enough to preclude single-point access. When this is the case, it’s usually best to combine all of the perimeter-securing methods described above with on-site security personnel.
Best Practices for Securing Tools and Equipment
Locks aren’t just for gates. You can also use them to secure storage trailers, the cabs of heavy equipment, and even gas caps. Even if you keep everything under lock and key, though, it’s still important to follow other relevant construction site security best practices. They can include:
Storing Equipment in a Secure Place
Construction teams usually store large equipment outdoors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t secure the area. Make a point of parking all of the heavy equipment in a centrally located, well-lit area, and remove equipment from the site as soon as it has served its purpose. Go through the construction site security checklist at the end of each day to ensure that no one has compromised the equipment.
If your company owns its heavy equipment, take the time to stamp both vehicles and attachments with ID numbers and keep a detailed record of them. Knowing that this kind of expensive equipment can be identified after the fact can be an excellent deterrent to thieves, especially if they also see warning signs on the equipment that clarify the system. Keep a record not just of the ID numbers but also of photos of equipment and information about when it arrived on site and think about registering any high-value vehicles or attachments with a tool recovery service.
Installing a Storage Trailer
For smaller tools, it’s better to keep a storage trailer on-site than it is to leave items outdoors. Smaller tools may be less valuable than heavy equipment, but they’re also more portable and thus easier to steal. As with larger equipment you should mark hand tools conspicuously for easy identification.
Keeping tools in a storage trailer also makes it easier to restrict access to them during the workday. Establishing a tool check-out system that requires workers to sign for anything they need to use and bring it back to the storage trailer at the end of the day makes it much easier to keep track of where tools are at any given moment.
Best Practices for Securing Building Materials
Construction site security isn’t just about protecting equipment and tools. These days, building materials are also extremely valuable, which has made them a target for thieves. The best way to secure building materials is to keep them in locked storage trailers, but well-lit storage areas located far from perimeter fencing can be a suitable alternative for larger items.
Securing building materials poses some additional challenges. Suppliers usually bring materials to the site before they’re needed, and some high-value items could be leftover once the job is done. Try to keep on-site inventory to a minimum, make a point of verifying all deliveries, and supervise trash removal following project completion to make sure no authorized personnel is attempting to walk away with valuable building materials.
Working With Security Personnel
If a construction site is large, requires the use of high-value equipment, or houses a lot of expensive building materials, it’s always best to work with construction site security experts. Security guard services can provide on-site protection for the job site and everything within its perimeter fences.
A good security service will offer custom solutions to meet your needs, but it can still help to know what to expect and how to guarantee a good working relationship. If you’re responsible for hiring uniformed guards, be clear about the company’s budget, timeframe, and general expectations.
Choose the Right Security Partners
JC Protection LLC provides comprehensive on-site security services not just for construction sites but for a full range of locations and organizations. You can learn more about our security team and the services they provide by browsing our website or calling (646) 793-9878 to speak with an authorized representative.