Written by Mike Bowles
Top Guard is often tasked with securing construction sites and providing consultations to assist these projects become safer and more secure. Valuable equipment and materials are especially susceptible to theft, as they are routinely left out in the open in this setting out of necessity. It is estimated that over $1 billion dollars a year is lost in the U.S. due to theft from construction sites. In some cases, intruders aren’t looking to steal anything. They just want to vandalize the site. This also comes with its own costs. Insurance may or may not cover these losses, but time and money lost in work stoppages and missed deadlines waiting for replacement materials or repairs is costly regardless. Fire hazards at construction sites are also an on-going threat. Cigarettes, sparks from tools, and electrical issues can cause catastrophic damage in a short period of time. Some of the biggest fires occur at properties under construction, in part due to a lack of detection and protection features that help control fires, like sprinkler systems, which haven’t been installed yet.
The task of protecting construction site assets is a major concern, and Top Guard has been hired frequently for this specific purpose. An alert and highly visible security officer performs a valuable role on a construction site. As an active crime and hazard deterrent, well-trained security officers readily identify most problems quickly, and prevent extensive damage with the support of local emergency services when needed.
Basic Responsibilities of the Construction Site Security Officer include:
- Traffic control and documentation of all vehicles, deliveries and visitors entering the construction site.
- Securing access point(s) during non-operating hours.
- Performing consistent foot patrols (ideally monitored by an electronic touring system in real time).
- Inspection of any perimeter fencing, with emphasis on identifying any security breaches.
- Maintaining watch over construction equipment, materials, office trailers, and other assets.
- Emergency response (fire, law enforcement, other EMS).
- Performing inventory checks on all the equipment as directed.
- Preparing daily activity and incident reports for customer records.
Protect Your Construction Site from Threats
Often construction companies are reactive, waiting until a theft or problem arises before taking protective security measures for their property. This can be a very expensive mistake. In fact, just one significant theft or malicious vandal can create crippling losses for a construction project. Even worse, insurance coverage can become cost prohibitive if the insurance company feels that your site is not adequately secure. In addition to assigning a qualified security officer to any significant construction site, Top Guard strongly recommends that construction companies consider using the following basic guidelines to decrease their security risks and protect their business assets:
- Security Plan — Create a job site security plan before the project commences. Have a written security policy, and a security plan specific to the job site.
- Commercial Fencing – installation of secure fencing around the entire site perimeter as a first line of defense, and maintain a clear zone adjacent to fencing.
- Screening – carefully screen any sub-contractors and employees that are to work on the site, sticking with those who you know and avoiding any who hire day laborers with no verifiable work history or references.
- Documentation – for all delivery people, site visitors, inspectors, trash service personnel and others who come to the site each day. Individuals must sign in and out on a dated, timed log that includes their name, reason for the visit and contact information.
- Storage – creating secure storage areas for equipment, supplies, tools and fuels should be a priority on every construction site to deter all types of theft.
- Signage – while the installation of a sign may not prevent all crime, it can help prevent random vandalism and make criminals less likely to commit a crime.
- Video Surveillance – Positioned strategically, a 24-hour video monitoring system can provide pedestrian and vehicle footage to be used later as evidence in liability cases and insurance claims.
- Situational Awareness – Consistently remind employees and subcontractors to take responsibility for a secure site and to immediately report any incidents of theft or vandalism.
- Lighting –Light up the job site to effectively deter theft and vandalism.
- Access Control — Control site access by establishing – and monitoring – only one access point. Consider limiting vehicle access. Provide parking areas outside of the site for employees and visitors.
- Asset Control — Identify assets and property onsite, then inventory and track them regularly.
- Support System — Assign supervisory security responsibilities, and encourage security awareness among all workers. Contact the local police and fire departments before starting a job to establish cooperative efforts. Establish contact with management of neighboring properties, and encourage them to report suspicious activities.
Security for a construction site is just as important as with any other type of property, sometimes more important. Utilizing a reputable security firm can result in lower insurance premiums, reduced risk, less lost time due to vandalism or missing materials and a safer working environment for employees and sub-contractors. If seeking tailored guidance on securing a construction site in line with the unique risks of a specific location, Top Guard can provide the assistance you need. With several decades of experience in designing multi-layered security strategies for a variety of industry sectors, you can rely on our expertise.