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Construction Site Thefts are Costly
According to the National Equipment Register, the average value of construction equipment lost to theft every year is between $300 million and $1 billion in the United States. A loss of $46 is recorded in Canada annually due to the same situation. While there is recovery, the recovery rate of stolen equipment is less than 20%.
All the numbers above represent heavy equipment theft – it does not include the vandalism and theft of other small tools and machinery, nor damage costs associated with these actions.
Effects of theft and vandalism on construction sites
Costs associated with vandalism and theft on construction sites are not limited to replacement, cleaning, and repairing machines, tools, and equipment. Most project coordinators work with a plan of what equipment should be on the ground to handle the project’s aspects. This means the unavailability of particular equipment, either due to theft or vandalism, can jeopardize the entire plan.
It will not only mess up the budget but also alter the project timeline. In extreme cases, it may force an abrupt termination of the project. The level of damage or vandalism determines the consequences and how fast you can remedy the situation.
Virtual damages and thefts in construction
Damages on construction sites are not limited to physical attacks; there are also digital attacks. Cyber-attacks and cybersecurity issues are now common among construction companies, especially with the increasing digitalization of the construction industry.
There is telematics built into newer equipment models. Companies now adopt online systems of payment to pay for jobs and employees. Up to 75% of construction companies now rely on cloud systems to keep project information and other vital documents. Likewise, more than half of contractors now rely on one or more digital software to ensure on-site safety and keep up with inspections.
So, as much as we focus on protecting the physical components of construction sites, we must not ignore the digital aspects.
Preventing Damage, Theft, and Vandalism on Construction Sites
Prevention remains the best approach to theft and damage on sites. We have provided a few helpful tips to ensure theft on construction sites does not happen.
Adopt a visible monitoring system
People are more likely to look somewhere else if they knew someone could see them via security cameras. Likewise, knowing they are being watched mid-theft would force them to abort the thieving mission abruptly.
You can either install real on-site security cameras if your budget permits or install fake signs on the public-facing fences to show that the area is on constant surveillance. This will drastically reduce potential theft or vandalism on construction sites.
Introduce on-site surveillance
This option is ideal for companies with a large security budget. Having actual on-site security cameras complements the police’s efforts to follow up in cases of burglary or theft.
Likewise, the presence of a visible camera deters thieves and vandals from breaking in or causing problems, except, of course, they want to be caught. It also works the same way for your employees – you can easily track the actual happening in the event of a missing tool or other unusual happenings.
Again, ensure these people know they are being watched, and you can inform the public of the presence of surveillance cameras.
Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) or video surveillance on construction sites comes with a couple of important benefits. This modern construction tech comes in handy to monitor health and safety, project progress, productivity, and watch the equipment.
In terms of health and safety, the camera technology can help identify employees with fevers and other obvious symptoms. Recordings from the camera can help understand accidents and indemnify the company from any fault or insurance issues.
Facial recognition through the camera technology can also replace the manual punch-in-punch-out system. These cameras can automatically clock a contractor in and out of the site. They also inform the manager of any breach or unauthorized access.
Have security guards and robots on the ground
Yes, cameras are gradually replacing security guards, but they remain a primary form of security. Having physical bodies on the ground can deter possible acts of vandalism on a construction site. Robots are an alternative to security guards, with the former more ideal for specific projects. For instance, the Spot by Boston Dynamics is an excellent surveillance tech that mimics a moving body to scare intruders away.
Install coded entrance and barriers
A physical barrier is an effective means of preventing unauthorized access. Having one in place means anyone who should not be on site cannot gain access. Barriers can come as fencing or more sophisticated systems that require a special pass to unlock. These innovative security systems also help keep track of people when they enter or leave the premises.
Install bright lights
Installing bright lights is an effective security measure, especially if the project happens at night. It ensures everywhere on the site is clear and visible, contributing to the project’s safety and productivity. Advanced lightings, like motion-detecting lights, can do more than illumination. They can help deter intruders when the site is closed and complement surveillance systems by ensuring everyone can see and be seen clearly on the recordings.
The Basics Are Still Important
Technology is good, but it will never replace the basics. Regular security measures like placing equipment keys in a lockbox in the site trailer, keeping small tools and hand-held machines away from public places, or reporting any unusual activity or strange individual on the worksite are still crucial.
Whether on a small or large scale, preventing vandalism or theft will ensure everyone, and everything on site is safe. Remember, you can hardly make progress or complete a project successfully in the right timeframe and budget if you do not reduce or prevent crime on construction sites.
Article by KEP Services for Caterpillar spares in the North East UK.
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