With festive seasons on the horizon, for construction workers and project managers there’s never been a more crucial time to start thinking about the all-important shut down period and how you can plan ahead for efficiency.
The following is an essential construction site shut down checklist to ensure both you and your site are well prepared for safety and security over the festive period. From storing away potentially dangerous building materials to ensuring the foundations of your site remain safe while vacant, we’ll be giving you actionable advice for greater peace of mind during this season’s downtime.
Conduct a risk assessment
Risk assessments are an essential process for ensuring the safety of any building project, but during a period where a construction site may be left vacant for longer periods of time, it pays to be prepared.
Firstly, establish if there’s any planned activity during the holidays which may require workers to have access to the site. If limited access will be needed, be sure to put robust safety and security measures in place, identifying any possible risks to workers or the site during this time.
This could be providing site security with a list of who will be on site, informing all employees of specific safety and security measures they need to be aware of and any additional protocols required to ensure work can be carried out properly, such as on-site power and water supplies, equipment and safety gear.
If the site is completely shutting down over the Christmas and New Year period, your risk assessment should include notifying when the site will be closed and reopened. You should also do a site visit to identify any areas that could be a safety or security risk – this could be access points, dangerous building materials, site foundations and such – ensuring the necessary steps are taken to minimise any potential hazards or concerns while the area isn’t occupied.
Secure building materials and equipment
It’s almost impossible to clear an entire construction site of building materials mid-way through a project, but you should secure away as much as you can to avoid making your site a target for theft and vandalism. Firstly, think ahead to ordering stock, ensuring there aren’t going to be excessive amounts of unused materials left unattended while work is paused for the holidays.
The same goes for building equipment, which can be expensive to replace. Where possible, take the appropriate measures to secure materials and equipment (such as tools and ladders) left on-site in locked containers or sheds, ensuring they aren’t visible.
The less there is on show, the lower your chances of these materials being targeted by opportunist thieves during this quiet time. In instances where there isn’t sufficient storage on location, you could also consider renting storage space nearby while the site is closed.
The outlay of renting a storage unit will be money well spent if it avoids the high cost of having to replace stolen materials and equipment, not to mention the cost of a project overrunning due to delays while you wait for replacements to arrive.
Up your security
Take the time to fully assess the required security needed to protect your construction area during this time. This should include fitting strong locks on all doors, windows and other access points to individual buildings and the site as a whole.
In addition, keeping the area well-lit could also be an effective preventative step towards securing your site efficiently. On larger sites, you may also want to consider additional barriers to prevent trespassers gaining access, employing a security company to patrol the area around the clock or installing CCTV throughout for better visibility.
You should also check your insurance to make sure you’re fully covered if any break-ins occur and ensure warning signs are mounted throughout the construction area. This isn’t necessarily going to stop an intruder, but they’re injured on site, your business and builders will be better protected by the law.
When it comes to security and safety, these extra efforts will make your construction site as safe and secure as possible, giving you greater peace of mind during the festivities. Factor in the elements An unsupervised site is left exposed to the elements and the last thing any site manager wants is to return to work after the holidays to find all the pre-Christmas progress been undone by extreme weather conditions.
Where possible, ensure buildings are weather tight, boarding up windows and doorways to keep out the wind and rain. In cases where building materials are unavoidably out in the elements, however, consider investing in durable protective packaging materials like a protective film or wrap that can be laid over concrete foundations and floors to minimise contact with moisture.
The same principles can be applied to any immovable building materials – a secure tarpaulin cover will effectively provide a protective barrier against inclement weather. With the above measures in place, we hope you’ll be in a better position to relax and enjoy all the festivities to come, knowing that you’ve taken the right steps towards securing your unsupervised construction site as best you can.
Author bio: Alex Jones is a content creator for Kendon Packaging, who manufacture and supply a range of quality cardboard boxes, protective packaging solutions.