Many construction projects operate to tight budgets and pressing deadlines, meaning hired or owned equipment and tools need to be easily and quickly accessible to contractors.
But the open nature of building sites, along with insufficient storage and security measures, can make construction projects a tempting target for thieves.
What’s more, statistics from the NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) reveal that tools and equipment have a relatively low recovery rate. In 2014 only 23% of stolen construction equipment was eventually returned to its owners.
How to prevent construction site crime:
- Pay attention to people
Unsavoury as the thought may be, crimes can often be carried out or assisted by staff with ‘insider knowledge’, while an unfamiliar face wandering onto a building site may be overlooked by staff who are used to an ever-changing rota of contractors.
- Only hire SIA (Security Industry Authority) approved security guards
- It is recommended that you background check new employees
- Train your personnel to recognise unusual behaviours and react in accordance with your risk management plan
- Invest in strong protection
Physical security measures are your first line of defence, so investing in the toughest tech and strongest locks can pay off.
- Lock up your equipment with strong chains and locks, including combination padlocks
- Ensure all areas of the site are well-lit at night, and install motion sensor lights
- Install security cameras with 24/7 coverage and night vision
- Take advantage of technology to monitor job site access. Create a database of all personnel authorised to access the site, and log who uses each piece of equipment
- Consider where you store equipment
It’s not just about how you store your machinery, but also where. This is especially important overnight and when not in use.
- Move equipment off-site when nobody is around, helping prevent opportunist theft
- If possible, store it in low-risk places such as locked warehouse storage
- Know what you’ve got
Sounds simple, but a detailed list of the equipment you own can be invaluable if something goes missing.
- Catalogue everything on your site including vehicle registration details, make, model and serial numbers. You can also register your equipment with various security and registration schemes.
- Make your equipment distinguishable
- Always report a crime
As well as an inconvenience to your business, it goes without saying that theft and vandalism are criminal acts. Therefore you must make sure you report any break-ins or thefts to the police, even if only a small or insignificant piece of equipment is stolen.
The police will then be able to start putting together a pattern if any more crimes are committed, either against you or nearby businesses, while insurers can sometimes ask for the Crime Number given to your by the police.
If something is stolen and you try to call on your insurance, failing to take sufficient precautionary measures could lead to rejected claims. It is also important to correctly estimate the value of your business tools and equipment, as underinsuring them could see an insufficient payout.
EIC Insurance can help you provide a thorough assessment of your business assets and arrange insurance with adequate cover limits for your construction business. Please contact the office via email or call the office on 01442 286910