Security Tips For Your Construction Site To Reduce Liabilities

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Since the pandemic, the price of building materials has been on a steady rise. According to the National Association of Home Builders, prices jumped as high as 19.4% between 2019 and 2020 – the highest since the 1970s.

What does this mean? The prices of homes have gone up, but also, construction materials are extremely valuable! Security at construction sites should be a priority for site managers. Security lapses would result in damage or theft and significant losses.

Theft in construction sites – the billion-dollar illegal industry

Statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the National Equipment Register indicate that each year, construction sites in America lose between $300 and $1 billion in equipment and material theft and losses. Further analysis reveals that theft occurs in lay down zones and areas not covered by commercial video camera systems. The tips below will help you prepare and execute effective and sustainable security measures to protect your construction site. Consequently, you will reduce liabilities due to loss or damage.

Develop a comprehensive construction site security policy

All players in the construction industry experience losses due to security lapses. However, the impact in large-size construction firms is not as significant as in smaller firms. Large construction companies often have security policies and designated managers responsible for implementation of technology to keep up with the latest security trends. However, small firms don’t. Don’t overlook your construction site or term it as too small. Design a security plan for your building site that will help you have a structure in implementing measures effectively. Some of the points to consider in your plan include the following:

  • Instituting measures for identification and training of all personnel and contractors on site.
  • Setting up systems to register all equipment on-site, ensure proper handling, and safe return.
  • Criteria for enlisting security service providers.
  • A description of the physical security measures on the site like fencing and gates.
  • Establishing access control and movement control measures.
  • Installation of security equipment like commercial video camera systems, motion sensors, and alarms.
  • Reporting procedures for incidences and review of security issues.
  • Liaison with local security agencies like police departments.

The security policy will be the blueprint to guide you on how you will prevent theft and damage of materials and equipment.

Know your team

Now that you have a plan, shift your focus to the people on site. If you can get the right personnel on board, you will have solved half the problem.

The pressure to set up a team quickly is a reality you must contend with and avoid. Go the extra mile and identify everyone who will access the site. Whether a staffer or contractor, ensure everyone provides the correct credentials during hiring. You could also make it mandatory for everyone to undergo a criminal background check before hiring.

Secure the construction site and control access to different areas

Each year many construction sites experience vandalism from outsiders. But you can prevent vandals by properly securing the construction site.

Build a fence around the site and limit entry and exit points. Make sure the perimeter fence is sufficiently robust to withstand the local threats and schedule regular checkups to ensure breaches are fixed.

Besides securing the perimeter, ensure that different locations within the construction site are properly partitioned, and have proper access control measures. For example, you can use a physical access control system for your employees to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering construction areas or equipment areas.

Install security equipment and systems

Technology is a crucial part of securing construction sites. Ensure you install commercial video camera systems on the site. Modern commercial video surveillance systems can watch over a wide area. Some have excellent capabilities, like zooming in and infra-red, boosting your security significantly. Besides security cameras, you can also install apparatus like panic alarms and control locks to protect the site.

Set up security procedures and processes

Set up processes and procedures to help reinforce security at construction sites you have undertaken. For example, you can establish an electronic equipment registry and ensure staffers or contractors sign in before accessing the equipment. Other procedures and processes to institute may include incident reporting and equipment management procedures.


Most construction site thieves and burglars are opportunistic criminals. Criminal activities in construction sites can be reduced and deterred significantly if the perpetrator is aware of the security measures.

Put up notices announcing the construction site has security cameras or have a poster that says the alarm will go off when certain limits are breached. Ensure all personnel and contractors understand and follow the security procedures.

Hire a professional security services provider

There are many security risks in the day-to-day management of a construction site, which could allow for a security lapse and result in losses. This is the top reason you should hire and delegate to a professional security services firm. Professionals can help you manage the security cameras and content. Also, security companies will provide personnel to man entrance/exit points.

Time your operations to remove the targets for theft

A study by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department revealed that timing your operations to discourage opportunistic theft can significantly reduce the risk of theft and liabilities. For example, in the study, the Police Department recommended that the installation of appliances should be delayed until the homeowners or tenants have taken up residence, thus effectively removing the targets of theft. You can also employ a similar approach concerning your equipment and materials – remove valuable items from the site as soon as the purposes are fulfilled.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Lastly, integrate your security measures and systems

The above tips on security at construction sites would be less effective if left to work in isolation. Ensure all construction site security systems and measures work as a unit. For example, you can integrate your on-site access control and video surveillance for theft prevention and prevent/identify any types of vandalism.

You can also integrate the equipment borrowing system with staffing records to ensure that only trained personnel access the right equipment. The above tips will help you create a more secure construction site with minimal liabilities.