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Best Practices for Theft Prevention on Construction Sites

July 10, 2024
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Construction sites are full of valuable items, which unfortunately attract a lot of opportunistic thieves. Millions of dollars worth of tools, materials and equipment are stolen from Australian construction sites every year, increasing the costs and delays of the building process. If you operate or work on a construction site, theft prevention should be among your highest priorities. Strategies to prevent theft on build sites don’t have to be difficult or expensive.

Construction is one of Australia’s largest industries, employing almost 10% of the workforce and making massive contributions to the country’s economy, infrastructure, and economic growth. However, the fact that construction sites are often left unattended, coupled with the high costs of tools and materials, means that items like power tools, lumber, copper, aluminium, and sometimes even machinery are prime targets for thieves, including fellow tradies.

As site security professionals, SSTC has seen the difference a well-trained security team and other measures can make in protecting a vulnerable construction site.

The Way Theft Can Occur On a Construction Site

Construction sites are not only full of valuables but also left unattended for long periods of time, including overnights and weekends. They are often located in quiet areas, lack CCTV and other forms of comprehensive security, and frequently change access points during a building project. Without regular updates to security strategies, resourceful thieves—including insiders and organised crime gangs—have the knowledge to make your site their next target.

Your construction site may not be as secure as you suspect, and being targeted by a thief can lead to a loss of revenue, decreased productivity and damage to your reputation. Your best defence is to take decisive action on construction equipment theft prevention early.

Prevention Methods to Reduce Theft

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There are a number of steps you can take to prevent construction site theft during each phase of the process, from pre-construction to the fit-out stage. Some important steps you can take include: 

Hire or purchase CCTV cameras

Sometimes, the mere signage of security cameras on site is enough to deter potential thieves. If that doesn’t work, hiring or purchasing CCTV cameras will at least catch intruders in action and provide valuable evidence to the authorities.

Install temporary fencing

Secure temporary fencing can block intruders from accessing your worksite as well as assist the police by providing information like builder details and after-hours contacts.

Install fuel cut-off switches on large machines

Fuel cut-off switches allow you to control when fuel is available to the machines on-site, meaning you can cut it off remotely after hours. Thieves will find it a lot harder to steal your machinery when they have to disable the switch first, making these switches useful tools for construction site theft prevention.  

Use temporary power and lighting

Temporary power and lighting at the front of the site can act as a deterrent, especially in areas where street lighting hasn’t been activated.

Coordinate deliveries

Most construction site theft occurs when items are left unsecured for long periods, such as overnight and on weekends. To help prevent theft on building sites, time the deliveries of goods and materials to reduce the length of time between their arrival and their usage. 

Use an on-site storage container/compound

Consider storing valuable tools and materials in a container or compound secured by locks or window grills, behind fencing, or under CCTV surveillance.

Mark all materials with the company name or building site number

Marking all hand tools, power tools, and other machinery items with the company name and building site number proves ownership and helps keep a record for insurance purposes.

Lock windows and doors

Ensure that all doors, windows, and other entranceways vulnerable to intruders have locks fitted and that these locks are secured when the site is unmanned.

Have alarms fitted

Alarms can detect break-ins and other intrusions to your construction site, alert police, and scare off thieves before they have the chance to take anything.

Secure valuable items

Pay special attention to items on your construction site that are particularly valuable or easy to steal, like copper and small hand or power tools. These and other high-risk items, such as air conditioning units, should be secured with measures that make them as difficult to take off with as possible. Examples of anti-theft measures include strong bonding adhesives or metal fasteners.

Hand over quickly

Once the construction process is completed, make the handover as quick as possible, as a newly built empty building can be an easy target for thieves.

Hire a security team

Workers on construction sites have enough hazards to deal with without also having to worry about unauthorised intruders with malicious intentions. One of the most effective ways to defend a construction site against vandalism, theft and trespassing is to hire a strong security team.

The Impact A Security Team Can Have On Theft

A competent, highly skilled security team can help deter construction site theft in a number of ways. Their mere physical presence can act as a deterrent, with criminals less likely to attempt a break-in if they know there are guards inside. Security guards can monitor access points so that only authorised personnel and vehicles can enter the site, and security cameras can also be monitored. In the event of a security breach, guards are trained to respond swiftly and appropriately.

A security team can also help implement preventative protocols like tailored security plans and staff training.

Real-time monitoring of your construction site for security can take many forms, from electronic surveillance to static guards at specific access points to roving mobile patrols. A good security firm takes a comprehensive approach to construction site theft prevention that covers everything from simple steps each worker can take to what to do in case of emergencies.

Prevent Theft with SSTC Security Services

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SSTC is paramountly concerned about the safety and security of your team and worksite. Our Sydney-based security services range from static security guards to mobile patrols, K9 security, and even security consulting. Company director Liam has instilled in his security guards 12 years of military experience, and we cover all bases with our disciplined security response.

Our K9 services include highly trained and skilled guard dogs that offer the highest level of professional security. These dogs have a fierce enough bark to scare off many thieves before they even make it into your site, and they’re carefully selected for their intelligence, strength, and loyalty. We can also offer a K9 security handler strapped with a body cam to livestream activities in real-time.

Nothing is ever too hard or too much of a hassle for SSTC. Trusted by some of the country’s largest construction companies, we have over 25 years of combined experience, plus competitive rates and RMS-accredited guards.

If you’re serious about preventing construction site theft and maintaining strong security on your work site, contact the SSTC team for a free quote

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