The first step to securing any construction site begins with the planning phase. Before a project even begins, a security assessment of local risks should be performed. That assessment should then become a site-specific plan, written out as a policy document. A consultative relationship should be established with local law enforcement, and internal company experts should be called upon for their expertise. Responsibilities for supervising security can be assigned to various managers, who should also impart an ethic of security to their workforce. The plan can be periodically reviewed and updated, as risks on the ground evolve.
Physical barriers are an obvious and essential component of defending a site. This means erecting a fence around the site that can be fully locked at night time, with manned access control points that allow flowthrough during the day. Said boundary can include material that deters fence climbing, and should be fully illuminated to expose potential climbers. Physical barriers don’t just include the walls, either. Keeping everything that can be locked, locked down, adds another layer of defense. Ensuring that vehicles and heavy equipment are secured with heavy steel locks, disabled, or protected with antitheft devices can prevent them from being driven off site at night. Vehicles can be outfitted with keyless ignition systems that require a unique PIN for operation. Establishing separate storage areas for more portable items such as personal affects, materials, and tools provides further barriers to theft. Such storage areas can be shipping containers, storage trailers or other units, and should also be guarded by heavy locks. Ensuring that fuel and oil cans are stowed away, and gas tank caps are locked, will also suck the oxygen out of arson attempts.
Visual and audio deterrence adds a more psychological advantage to security plans. Warning signs placed around the site can be a reminder to thieves that detection systems will enable their prosecution. The use of lights to illuminate the site after hours will eliminate visual cover for criminal activity, while obviously placed cameras will show that every action is recorded. Motion- activated lights, sirens and alarms can be utilized to create more panic for intruders. Incorporating visible on-site guards with monitoring stations and patrols are the most powerful deterrent, discouraging not only break ins, but minor probing attempts as well. Finally, simply staying on top of your security- from maintaining all systems, to responding to minor incursions- will show offenders that they do not have the opportunity to escalate.
For those that do choose to use camera or CCTV systems, there is a vast range of tactical and technological options available. Cameras should be effectively placed so as to ensure full site coverage; alternately, installing PTZ cameras with full 360° rotation can be effective. All cameras should remain out of the reach of intruders. Motion recording and thermal detection can enhance video capture and even trigger automated alerts. 24/7 recording, long range surveillance, advanced analytics, and facial recognition software can provide prosecutorial evidence after an intrusion. Finally, live monitoring by guards or off premise experts, combined with effective coordination with law enforcement, is the most powerful tool that managers can use to apprehend intruders.
Maintaining an inventory control system for all tools, materials, and equipment is essential for determining and rectifying theft. This not only includes recording identifiers like serial numbers, license plate numbers, etc. but registering them with state and local authorities. All items should be photographed in their original condition, as well as marked by the company in an obvious way. Verifying all deliveries, as well as creating a check-out process for tools or equipment keys, can eliminate much of the guesswork around theft and vandalism. At higher levels of inventory control, heavy equipment can be outfitted with GPS beacons (tracking), and smaller equipment and tools can all be RFID chipped or labeled with QR codes.
The construction workforce itself must be managed for security risks. Disgruntled employees are more likely to steal material from the site, and those who get away with theft are emboldened to escalate their sabotage. For these reasons, employers should strive to support the needs of their workforce, and address their grievances, while swiftly punishing any acts of theft or vandalism among the workers. Failure to adequately screen or drug test workers prior to employment constitutes a final potential security breach with your personnel.