Unfortunately, construction site owners and tradesmen often do not do enough to protect themselves. The result is that, according to a survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Building, 92 percent of respondents claim to have been affected by crime – and a further 21 percent state that their site is robbed on a weekly basis.
The good news is that there are plenty of easy, cost-effective construction security strategies site owners can do to protect their businesses.
In this article, we ask what is construction security, show you some simple strategies you can put in place to reduce the chances of your site being targeted by criminals and assess the benefits of professional construction security.
Construction security is an umbrella term that refers to the various security measures that can be used to protect a construction site. This includes things such as CCTV surveillance, security fencing, manned security guarding, security alarms, access control, guard dogs and staff training.
Of course, securing a construction site is very different from securing, say, a corporate environment or a retail outlet. As such, the security techniques and strategies construction site owners need to be aware of should be appropriate for the industry they operate in.
Furthermore, the security measures that should be prioritised should be determined by each site’s specific requirements – such as location (urban or rural), local crime rates, the value of on-site materials, average local emergency response times and so on.
In order to determine the security measures which will be most effective at your site – and so, in order to determine where you should be putting your resources – you need to conduct a security assessment.
We show you exactly how to do this in Office Security: A Comprehensive Guide. Although the article focuses on office security, the methodology for conducting a thorough security assessment is just as applicable here.
There are lots of things you can do to ensure that your construction site remains protected. Many of these cost absolutely nothing. However, by ensuring you implement them, you will go a long way to protecting your site.
• Create And Maintain an Up-To-Date Inventory
With so much equipment and material on site, it’s possible that criminals may be taking advantage of you without you even realising it. To ensure you know exactly what is and what isn’t on site, you should maintain an up-to-date inventory of all the tools and materials you have.
This should be updated at least weekly to give you the best chance of spotting and responding to theft. After all, the police have a far greater chance of returning any lost belongings if they are reported as missing quickly.
• Maintain a Clear Zone Around the Perimeter Fence
Thieves are always looking to minimise risk. As such, thieves will target sites which they believe offer easy pickings. For a thief, the less time they can spend actively involved in a crime the better. This means that construction sites which make stealing as difficult as possible are far less likely to be targeted.
Simply maintaining a clear zone around your perimeter fence can make stealing from your site much more difficult. This is because it makes it hard for thieves to see what is actually on your site and it means that they have to cross the site itself in order to reach your belongings – which makes the chances of them getting spotted much more likely. Ideally, your clear zone will be between five to 10 metres. However, on smaller sites, this may not be possible. In which case, simply create as big a clear space as possible.
• Mark, Stamp or Paint Equipment
By marking equipment, you make it much harder for thieves to sell on anything they’re able to take from you. Since many of your tools will be metal, the easiest way is to engrave them. Engraving machines are relatively cheap and easy to use; but the amount of money they may save you could be substantial. Make sure that you engrave each tool in multiple places – in particular, create a new mark on any pieces which can be removed – for maximum protection.
You may also want to consider painting your tools a distinctive colour. This will further decrease the value of the tools without impacting their functionality and alert potential buyers that they are stolen. Spray paint is likely your best option here since it’s easy to use and relatively inexpensive.
• Reduce Access Points
Your construction site should be surrounded by secure perimeter fencing. The function of this is to prevent intruders accessing your site. As such, it should be robust and impenetrable. Of course, workers and any other people with a legitimate requirement to access your site still need to be able to enter.
Although – particularly on large sites – it may be tempting to create multiple access points in order to allow workers and vehicles to flow into and out of your site with ease, it’s crucial that you keep access points to a minimum. From a security point of view, every access point you create is a potential vulnerability. This is especially true when it comes to secondary access points where security may be lacking.
To make illegal entry as difficult as possible, reduce the number of access points you have to a minimum – ideally, just one. Position manned security guards, CCTV cameras and security lighting at this point.
• Train Your Staff
Maintaining excellent security is a team effort. It only takes one person to drop the ball for your site to become vulnerable. As such, it’s critical that every member of your team understands how important security is and what their role requires them to do to maintain proper protection. Particular duties will include signing in and out of your site, locking up tools and locking out vehicles, maintaining the clear zone, reporting any suspicious activity they observe and so on.
No matter how comprehensive your security plan is, if your team fail to follow it, it’s essentially useless.
While it’s possible for construction site owners to greatly improve their site’s security with the measures highlighted above, the very best security can only be attained by provisioning the services of a professional security company.
Professional security companies have access to a wide range of technologies as well as the necessary expertise to create and implement a proper security strategy. When you choose a good construction security provider, this process will involve assessing your individual needs and creating a bespoke security solution to match.
Construction security services include:
• Manned guarding
• Regular and unscheduled mobile patrols
• CCTV installation and monitoring
• Alarm system installation and monitoring
• Security lighting installation
• Perimeter fencing and professional signage
• Security consultancy and provisioning
• Guard dogs
• Emergency service liaison
• Rapid, 24/7 alarm response
• Health and safety and first aid trained security officers
Although it may be possible for construction site owners to create a team(s) to carry out this work themselves, doing so is often slow and expensive. A professional security company, on the other hand, will be able to deliver these services rapidly and cost-effectively.
In Security: In-House Vs Outsourced we assess in detail some of the reasons businesses may choose to use a professional security provider as opposed to building up an internal security team.
If you decide to use a professional security provider, there are several things you should look out for to ensure you get high-quality, comprehensive protection.
• SIA-Licensing– The SIA is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the UK. All individuals operating within the security industry require an SIA license to legally carry out their job. As such, ask a potential provider if their staff are SIA-licensed. If they’re not, the company is breaking the law.
• ACS Pacesetters– The SIA operates a scheme to help businesses and individuals identify the very best security providers. Called the ACS Pacesetters, this group represents the top 15 percent of UK security companies. This is determined via extensive and continued assessments by the SIA itself. If possible, choose a company which belongs to the ACS Pacesetters.
• Other Accreditations – Good security providers will also place a high value on gaining additional accreditations. These will include accreditations which demonstrate that they treat their staff properly (such as Investors in People), that they operate in an environmentally friendly way or that they adhere to proper health and safety practice.
Since its foundation in 1993, Churchill Security has grown into one of the UK’s leading private security companies. All of our security officers are SIA-licensed and we belong to the top five percent of all UK security companies – making us a top-tier member of the ACS Pacesetters.
We also have ConstructionLine membership – which ensures we our services are fit for private and public sector security work – and are SafeContractor approved.
In order to grow into the nation-wide security provider we are today, our company has been through plenty of changes. That said, our ambition has always been the same: to provide first-class, cross-industry security services to companies of all sizes.
We have a ninety-five percent customer retention rate, maintain an average of 350 active sites and have and average alarm response time of 30 minutes.
Churchill Security provides comprehensive construction security solutions for companies all over the UK. We can help your business achieve the very best levels of protection.