Construction is an important part of the modern world and one of the biggest industries in the UK. There’s always the need to build one thing or the other and you won’t walk or drive much far without coming across a site under construction.
One of the main issues faced by construction contractors is that of security, with theft and vandalism costing the industry a whopping £800 million a year.
What makes construction sites such a lucrative target for criminals? Due to the nature of the work, the sites store a lot of expensive plant equipment and high-value goods which are generally left there overnight to be used the following day.
This, coupled with the open nature of the construction sites make them an attractive as well as an easy target for thieves who will often be found returning to the same site to attempt further theft.
Providing security for these construction sites is an absolute necessity since the inability to do so may provide easy access to criminals, consequently putting the entire project and its success at risk.
Construction site security can be particularly tricky since the layout keeps evolving as the project is being developed, changing it in size, value, and the people who may need access to the building on a regular basis.
Read on to find out why construction site security is so important and what you need to do to make sure it remains protected from all kinds of security threats:
WHY IS CONSTRUCTION SITE SECURITY IMPORTANT?
Each construction project is unique and carries its own particular set of issues depending on the size, nature, and location of the project.
There are, however, certain security threats that all construction sites have to face. They include:
- Threat to property and equipment,
- Threat to operations, and
- Threat to human life.
The main causes of these threats are theft, vandalism, and terrorism that don’t just cause losses in terms of damages but also increase the project’s costs by putting it on hold for several weeks, reducing business growth, and creating a poor customer experience.
Construction site theft is fairly common due to the large amounts of valuable materials and equipment that provides thieves with a quick and easy profit.
In addition to stealing tools and machinery, another high-value product that is particularly popular among thieves is the fuel that is used to power generators and vehicles across the site.
Fuel theft is difficult to trace and can be extremely costly to construction since none of the machines can operate without it, and stealing it may cause damage to the fuel tanks which may delay the project.
Construction sites may also fall target to vandalism, arson, and deliberate damage by people just wanting to cause damage and destruction, or by people opposing the project for personal, commercial, or political reasons.
In addition to the three major threats discussed above, there is a range of other security risks that construction sites face. They include the site being used by people to commit suicide, by protestors campaigning against the project, and to access other nearby buildings.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?
With the heavy amount of foot traffic, vehicles and equipment requiring access into the premises, and the generally hectic nature of a construction site, it can be a little difficult to keep up with security.
To become less vulnerable to criminal activity, construction sites need to adopt strict security measures and invest in a comprehensive security solution that will not just deter threats, but also detect, and possibly delay them by providing an immediate response.
There are a few ways in which you can achieve construction site security by incorporating all four of the aforementioned functions. They include:
- Restricting access to the construction site,
- Protecting and securing site assets,
- Putting the premises and people under surveillance,
- Providing overall site safety,
- Training the workers to adopt the best security practices, and
- Liaising with the relevant law enforcement agencies, local authorities, and stakeholders.
CONSTRUCTION SITE RISK ASSESSMENT
You can’t offer a solution for something without knowing what the problem is, can you? Similarly, you can’t implement the right security measures on a construction site without knowing the risks and threats that need to be minimised.
Before working on making the site secure, you need to determine the level of security required and the extent of the threats faced, which is best achieved through a risk assessment of the construction site.
A risk assessment is a thorough analysis of the threats that need to be addressed, how severe they are, and the best way to eliminate them.
It is carried out in five steps:
- Identifying the risks,
- Identifying those at risk and how they are affected,
- Evaluating the extent of the risk,
- Recording the findings and identifying the security measures that need to be implemented,
- Regularly reviewing and updating the findings as the work progresses through the different phases of construction.
What comes to your mind when you think of construction site perimeter security? If it is a wall or fence around the construction area, you are not wrong.
Walls and fences are probably one of the most cost-effective ways to define the boundary and create a barrier between your property and the outside world.
However, merely installing the barriers is not enough. To make sure they serve their purpose of keeping unauthorised access at bay, you need to reinforce them and make them impossible to bypass.
According to the UK’s Security and Resilience Industry Suppliers Community (RISC), perimeter security must be at least 2.4 metres high to make it difficult for thieves to climb.
Other ways to prevent climbing is to install anti-climb or welded mesh fencing as they not only reduce unauthorised access through climbing but also make the intruders visible.
There must be only one entry and exit point to make it easier to monitor who goes in and out of the construction site.
Securely locked keyless access gates that allow entry after a strict check by validating the user’s credentials is a suitable method to only allow authorised construction workers into the site.
It also helps to post a “no unauthorised entry” or “no trespassing” sign to make it clear that only certain people are allowed to enter.
To make perimeter security the most effective, you may keep the site under 24-hours surveillance via monitored CCTV cameras and security alarm systems that are quick to detect intrusions and provide full coverage, leaving no blind spots and vulnerabilities.
Lighting is an effective security measure that must be fitted all around the construction site to act as a deterrent against intruders and trespassers.
Keeping a construction site well-lit increases the chances of potential thieves to be seen and caught, naturally minimising the threat and protecting the property and its assets.
The type of lighting and its placement plays an important role in its effectiveness. It is best to choose bright white lights that provide good colour differentiation and make it easier to identify people and objects.
LED lights are an excellent option that is not just energy-efficient and durable, but also provides instant lighting that can be very beneficial when used for security purposes.
They must be placed in all corners of the construction site, making sure their power source is protected from being tampered with and power lines are high enough to avoid them from being cut.
Security lights can work alongside other security systems such as motion sensors and security alarms where they automatically turn on as soon as someone steps foot under them and also sound an alarm to scare away the intruders and alert the people around of the intrusion.
In addition to providing several security benefits, a well-lit construction site is also essential for the safety and general well-being of the workers.
A lot of construction work is carried out during the night time to cause less disruption during the day, making it all the more important to provide a high level of temporary lighting to help identify and possibly avoid any hazards.
Construction sites are full of expensive materials and equipment that must be securely locked away in dedicated secure storage when not in use.
To prevent them from being stolen, and to remove temptation by being so easy to access, all movable tools and equipment must be hidden away from plain sight.
You must make sure that you store all equipment and tools away from the perimeter so that it becomes more difficult for thieves to access them from the outside, and also prevent construction workers from slipping them through the fence for their gain.
Equipment that is no longer being used must be taken back to the main storage yard, and if it can’t be moved, it must be anchored to the ground using chains and cables.
All storage areas must be securely locked using state-of-the-art anti-snap locks that are strong and resistant to tampering.
The quality of the locks is very important since the security of the door and the possessions inside are dependent on it.
Some of the most common locks include padlocks, deadbolts, rim or mortice locks, euro profile cylinders, and smart locks.
Alarms are an effective security measure that works to serve two basic purposes; alerting the relevant people of the intrusion and scaring away potential intruders.
Depending on the best option for your construction site, you may opt for audible or silent alarms for security.
They work using a series of sensors that may include motion, infrared, ultrasonic, microwave, magnetic, photoelectric, and glass-break detectors, that go off as soon as an intrusion is detected and may either set off a loud siren with flashing lights or simply send an alert to the site manager, supervisor, and the authorities to take action.
Placement of the sensors plays a huge part in how well they work and it is best to place them near the main entry points such as the doors and windows while making sure that their range isn’t blocked.
All the high-risk potential break-in points must also be covered including the perimeter fencing to ensure no unauthorised entry goes unnoticed.
Monitored alarms provide the highest level of construction site security and involve the sensors being linked to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) manned by professionals where the alarms are first verified and, depending on the type of contract – keyholder or police response – the relevant people or authorities are contacted right away.
Professional alarm monitoring is ideal for construction sites, especially those that are large-scale and located in isolated areas.
Security alarms can also be integrated with other security systems such as CCTV cameras, providing the ARC with video verified alarms and higher on-site visibility and control, recovery of stolen goods, and an increased chance of catching the criminals.
Surveillance systems such as CCTV cameras provide great control and visibility over the operations of the construction site, along with ensuring that even the tiniest bit of suspicious activity is monitored and recorded.
CCTV cameras can monitor and record events happening around the construction site and display them in real-time or saved to be viewed later.
Combined with motion sensors, and placed on all the key locations of the site, CCTV cameras offer round-the-clock security that not just deters criminals but also helps catch them if they try to gain unauthorised entry.
CCTV cameras can be integrated with motion sensor alarms as well as security lights that get activated as soon as an intrusion is detected, recording it all in action.
There are many options when it comes to CCTV cameras for construction sites and choosing the right type of system is crucial for it to be an effective deterrent.
Depending on your security needs, you may opt for:
- Bullet CCTV cameras,
- Dome CCTV cameras,
- C-Mount CCTV cameras,
- PTZ Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras,
- Day/Night CCTV cameras,
- Infrared/night vision CCTV cameras,
- Network/IP CCTV cameras,
- Wireless CCTV cameras, or
- High Definition (HD) CCTV cameras.
To add an extra layer of security to your surveillance systems, you may consider opting for professional video monitoring where highly trained professionals monitor the site from an off-site monitoring centre, inform the concerned people, and dispatch the authorities right away.
Professional CCTV monitoring isn’t just beneficial in detecting intrusions and burglaries but is also a great safety feature for construction sites.
Choosing the best one for your construction site depends on several factors that include the camera’s resolution, the field of view, placement, power supply, budget, and additional features that include smartphone notifications, remote access, and two-way communication.
While every property owner is permitted to use CCTV cameras for safety and security, they must be used and operated responsibly.
Certain laws govern the use of CCTV systems, the adherence to which is mandatory for all those using them, including construction site contractors.
According to the CCTV code of practice issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), you must have a legitimate reason for using CCTV cameras, taking special care as to not infringe on other people’s privacy and ensuring the safety of the recorded data.
You are bound by the law to inform everyone in the area that they are being recorded, which can best be achieved by putting up clear signage or communicating with the people involved.
CCTV laws for businesses and property owners are taken very seriously and the consequences of breaking them can lead to criminal charges and the owners/managers/contractors facing huge fines of up to £500,000.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Every construction site is different with unique security needs. Something that might work for one site may be completely wrong for the other.
And for that reason, it isn’t just important to implement construction site security but do implement the right construction site security.
Security professionals have the relevant knowledge and experience to give expert advice and offer the best solutions to not just deter, but also detect, delay, and respond to all kinds of security threats.
At Calder Security, we understand the unique needs and requirements of different types of properties including construction sites and provide a comprehensive security solution that includes not just professional installation of security systems but also their monitoring, maintenance, and repair.
We are SSAIB approved installers and follow all the best practices in the industry. We do not compromise on quality and install only high-quality, state-of-the-art security equipment that is compliant with the law.
We offer various levels of monitoring via a 24-hour monitoring centre using Dualcom and BT Redcare signalling, which is the most secure alarm monitoring system and the largest supplier of intelligent alarm signalling services in the UK.
We understand the importance of having to regularly maintain your security systems since the inability to do so might result in serious faults and consequent vulnerabilities.
We provide professional maintenance checks and reminders for when the checks are due and work fast to restore your security systems to excellent condition.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our leading experts right away!