In the UK, theft and vandalism are all too common problems on construction sites. Following the introduction of the coronavirus lockdown measures in 2020, there was a reported 50% surge in construction related crime rates.
Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, theft and vandalism were significant problems in the construction industry. According to information published by insurer Allianz, theft costs the UK construction industry an estimated £800 million each year. Additionally, in a survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), as many as 92% of respondents confirmed they had been affected by theft, with 21% reporting weekly site robberies.
This highlights the importance of always maintaining efficient site security measures in order to prevent the loss of valuable assets and ensure that projects can continue to run smoothly.
Construction is a highly valuable industry in the UK, worth an estimated £250 billion as of 2016. Its use of expensive and sophisticated materials, tools and equipment means that unfortunately it is often a popular target for thieves and vandals.
It is important to understand what the risks and challenges are for the construction industry, and what security measures are available to keep sites safe and secure.
What are the security threats for construction sites?
The most important first step to providing thorough and comprehensive security is understanding the threats and challenges that construction companies may face in relation to the security of their sites.
Unauthorised access to a site by any persons can present problems for construction companies.
- Causing dangers on site:
- Vandalism of equipment can damage it and make it dangerous to operate, putting site staff at risk. Electrical components could become exposed, and hydraulic liquid or fuel spillages could present a fire risk.
- It is also important to remember that it is possible that if a site is not adequately secured and a trespasser is subsequently injured, the company could be liable for this.
- Loss of equipment or materials:
- Theft or destruction of expensive specialist pieces of equipment and materials can lead to significant loss of revenue, as in most cases these will need to be replaced for a project to continue.
- Fuel is also a popular target for thieves, this can be expensive to replace and lead to delays on site.
- Disruption to the project:
- One of the biggest costs to construction firms following incidents of theft or vandalism can be the disruption it causes to the schedule of the project. If materials are stolen from a site, work cannot continue until new supplies have been ordered and delivered, and if important equipment goes missing, it will need to be replaced before work can continue. This is both expensive and time consuming.
There are two main aspects to most construction sites which present challenges to security.
- Constant movement – due to the nature of a construction site, they need to facilitate the movement of a high volume of people and equipment in and out of them relatively frequently. Unfortunately, this means that there may also be opportunities for trespassers and intruders to also access the site.
- Many points of access to the site – there may also be multiple access points to the site around the perimeter. These include access for staff, visitors, and vehicles. Access points can often change location as work on a site progresses, making them more challenging to manage from a security perspective.
What security features are necessary to keep a site secure?
Every construction site will have different requirements, but it is almost always the case that they will need to have:
- Comprehensive risk analysis already conducted.
- Protocols in place to keep the site safe and secure.
- Limits on access; preventing the public from entering.
Prior to the start of the project, NVC Security will carry out site surveys and liaise with the site management team. This allows for the identification of any potential risks and establishes which areas of the site are likely to be targeted by criminals. A strategy can then be formed to reduce these risks and make the site as secure as possible.
Additional important security measures
As well as the essential controls, there are several other measures that should be put in place to always keep the site secure.
- CCTV and intruder alarms – CCTV is an important tool in deterring criminals. Both visible cameras and bold signs highlighting the presence of security cameras are vital to deterring potential criminals. NVC Security can provide CCTV towers, or multiple cameras positioned throughout site to give maximum coverage. These can be linked to a video-verified alarm system to provide complete protection.
- Manned guarding – at important high-value sites, it can be necessary to put security guards in place. This can be a deterrent as much as a way to quickly intercept a crime that is in progress. Manned guarding with regular perimeter patrols to report any breaches is also important.
- Entry and exit monitoring – you may need to have security guards physically monitoring who is entering and exiting the premises in order to ensure that no unauthorised people are gaining access to the site.
NVC Security’s SIA licenced security officers are all highly experienced in many aspects of security and can offer a professional and comprehensive service to keep your site safe. For more information please see our ‘Services’ section, or get in touch with a member of our team on 01332 806 996.