Adequate security on a construction site can mitigate against theft and damage, saving time and money both directly and indirectly (through late penalties, bad publicity etc.). Here, some general guidelines to follow regarding construction security will be briefly covered.
Certain efforts can act to deter criminals from the site as a first line of defence, along with helping to find and prosecute them afterwards.
Lights fitted with motion detectors can act as deterrents, especially on sites within or very near to residential areas, where the cover of darkness is a necessity for the criminal. CCTV can also act as a deterrent and of course as video evidence after a crime is committed. There are a few features which CCTV can offer: a live feed of the site can be watched during the day and some systems allow personnel at a remote location to speak to intruders, as an additional deterrent. Mobile CCTV towers are available, wireless and easy to install. In the places where CCTV is being used there must be warning signs or the footage cannot be used to prosecute.
If the criminals are not deterred by the preceding measures then physical barriers are needed. Security fencing should be used to enclose the site, ensuring sufficient strength and height and avoiding the use of opaque materials as this will mask the crime while it’s occurring.
Lastly, security patrols, although offering some deterrent, are used mainly to interrupt a crime in progress, along with alarm systems which can be linked directly with the police.
Plant/equipment theft costs the UK construction industry over £400 million every year and less than 10% of goods stolen are ever recovered. This is because the criminals who steal such items are very good at quickly distributing them. When certain plant is stolen, there can be high hire costs to replace it in so that long delays are avoided.
There are two aspects to avoiding plant/equipment theft. The first is to avoid the actual theft and, failing that, increase the chance that stolen equipment is recovered.
A first step is to implement staff training, which will spell out good and bad practices with regards to keeping a secure site. Anything from as simple as good key management to establishing temporary enclosures in which to keep plant over-night or on weekends/holidays.
To increase the chance of stolen equipment being recovered it is recommended to ensure that it is adequately identifiable, so that authorities can better prove ownership. The CESAR scheme provides myriad security measures including identification.
Of course this brief article only covers a few points concisely and therefore more, extended detail is required to maximise construction security.