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What Are the Best Construction Security Systems?

Posted by Paul Gross on Dec 14, 2021

The construction industry is still dealing with a problem it has not dealt with until 2020. That’s the sharp increase in the cost of construction materials. During 2020, the supply chain took a hit which led to many problems.

Factories, sawmills, and others struggled to have enough workers. Without any employees to keep the machines churning, the factories produced far fewer materials. However, demand never slowed down. Therefore, with fewer materials available to keep up with demand, economics 101 kicked in.

Fewer supplies available drove up the prices to the highest seen in decades. Thieves know they can get good money when they resell materials. Not only that, but they also go after heavy equipment as some sophisticated crime rings have the resources to move them. Thus, construction sites become a very attractive target for thieves seeking these expensive assets.

Here are the five best security systems for construction sites. The more you implement, the more layers you will have in your security. If intruders break through one, you will have more barriers slowing down their efforts.

1. Put up a Fence Around the Property

It may or may not be possible to install a fence around the property. But if you can, it will give you a way to have a single-entry point and lower the risk of trespassing on your construction site. Having one entry also provides you with greater control over managing who comes and goes, including deliveries and pick-ups.

Even though criminals can climb or cut the fence, you may be able to add another obstacle by using barbed wires. The harder you make it for trespassers to get in, the more likely they’ll find another site with fewer barriers and leave yours alone.

2. Install Proper Lighting

A darkened site tempts passers-by with bad intentions to explore the construction site. One of the least expensive and most effective options for security is lighting. Having lights on the site when no one is on the property acts as a deterrent. Lighting also makes it harder for them to hide while they steal or vandalize, so they tend to move on to the next property.

The right kind of lighting does matter. Ensure you have proper lighting. It’s not just about the brightness of the lighting. Color and hue can have an impact. The best thing to do is talk to a security expert. It doesn’t take much to get the lighting wrong. Additionally, you want to avoid overspending on lights.

Another important consideration is the spacing of the light. Spacing the lights too far can create shadowy spots. A slight overlap of the lights will minimize that. There are a lot of variables to think about when it comes to effective lighting.

3. Use an Asset Management System

How much time does your team spend looking for inventory, equipment, and other assets? You may already be shorthanded between the shortage of workers and those who can’t work because of COVID-19 or other problems.

Assets wear down and break. Just like vehicles, they need regular servicing and maintenance. Without an inventory tracking system, it’ll be nearly impossible to track what needs repairing or servicing. What if your workers try to use heavy equipment only to find out it won’t start? Your project could lose hours of productivity because you need to find a replacement for the damaged equipment.

It’s possible you have a replacement for the damaged heavy equipment, but it may be located elsewhere. Perhaps it won’t arrive on the construction site fast enough. So, you are forced to look into an emergency rental. An asset tracking system can help prevent all this from happening. You’ll have the right asset at the right time. Plus, you’ll keep them in working order as the system will let you know when it’s time to take it in for servicing.

This is a common problem for construction companies. “Beating the low-productivity trap: How to transform construction operations” from McKinsey and Company lists internal challenges. These affect a construction company’s performance and innovation. One of those is “problems utilizing resources.”

“As engineering and construction companies have grown and diversified, they must increasingly deal with internal silos organized by geography, business unit, asset class, or any combination of these,” writes the authors. “Open interactive popup. The result is that they struggle to use their resources as effectively as possible.”

Assets aren’t optimized and managed efficiently due to the internal silos. This results in missed billable hours and revenue opportunities. Instead, the construction project racks up unexpected expenses when it doesn’t have the needed asset at the right time.

With the construction labor shortage, a project manager must maximize every worker and every asset. An asset tracking system verifies all working assets are in the right place and at the right time. No longer will you lose precious billable time from sending missing or broken assets to a site. They’ll also prevent employees from working with faulty equipment that could put them at risk for injuries.

4. Develop a Cargo Theft Prevention Process

While a cargo theft prevention process isn’t exactly a security system, it works in conjunction with security technology. Unfortunately, thieves have gotten savvier. They can create fake tags and identities.

Cargo theft is a huge problem that can be minimized with a process. Most thefts occur on construction sites with little or no security. For every 100 items stolen, only 20 find their way back to their owners.

Construction companies can reduce cargo theft by taking the following actions:

  1. Keep an accurate list of equipment with their serial numbers or PIN. (Asset tracking management helps here.)
  2. Register all serial numbers with National Equipment Register’s database.
  3. Analyze security clauses on freight contracts.
  4. Create a contractor selection and management process.
  5. Develop an evaluation process to approve and monitor suppliers.

To deter cargo theft, require that trucking companies call 24 hours before picking up cargo. They call should request the following information:

  • Driver’s name
  • Carrier’s name
  • Truck and trailer numbers
  • Insurance information

After the driver arrives, confirm the information matches. That’s step one. Protect your cargo by photographing the driver, truck, and bill of lading.

5. Invest in Remote Video Surveillance

With the increase in crimes comes a demand for the best security system that meets the needs of construction sites. A traditional construction site security system won’t be enough. That’s because traditional security systems tend to be reactive rather than proactive. Sometimes these security systems don’t catch anything. It’s not until workers arrive on the site to notice something is wrong.

The construction industry needs a robust security system that will help avert theft, monitor worker activities for safety, and increase productivity. Yes, a security system can help construction sites find a more effective way of managing all of its traffic. As stated before, the best security system must incorporate multiple layers. It takes breaking through a lot of layers to get to the asset.

One of the best security systems for construction sites is security cameras with remote monitoring and video analytics. Together, these provide a proactive security system because the video analytics intelligence and trained monitoring operators put two different sets of eyes across your construction site. It’s combining humans with technology. This partnership allows them to spot potential problems before anything happens.

A study from UNC Charlotte has found that more than 80 percent of thieves check for visible security like an alarm or video surveillance before breaking in. Therefore, remote video surveillance is one of the most effective crime deterrents that can deliver a fast ROI.

The advantage video surveillance has over other security solutions is that it lets construction sites monitor their entire site all at once. Additionally, the visibility of the cameras works as a preventive measure, especially when you put up signs indicating the area is under surveillance. It may be tempting to post dummy cameras with the signs, but this can create a liability issue. If workers and visitors think there are cameras watching them, they may let their guard down believing the cameras will record what happens. If they learn that’s not the case, then it has the potential to become a legal problem.

To implement video surveillance, start by inviting security consultants to survey your property and requirements. They will customize a video surveillance system that meets your needs.

By the way, the trained operators are not on the construction site. They can see trespassers approaching the property and respond as needed. The operator can issue a warning on the audio speaker system. This works some of the time. When gutsy trespassers continue moving toward the property, the operator can call the police and keep them updated on the suspects’ location.

To ensure your cameras can catch things, it’s critical to select the right equipment. Not all cameras can track the suspects’ movement. Not all cameras can identify license plates or faces. Not all cameras can handle extreme weather conditions that knock them out of commission.

Ask the security consultant about these features and how long they retain the recorded footage. Sometimes an incident that happens doesn’t come up until much later. Like a truck driver claiming the business scratched the truck. Trained analysts can review the footage to see if the scratch appeared before or after the truck entered the property.

Construction sites have a responsibility for the safety of workers, vendors, and visitors. The cost of not having the best security could hurt your bottom-line and business reputation. It protects your expensive assets and materials. Video surveillance offers the highest level of security for your construction site while reducing liability. Best of all, video surveillance can get an ROI within four months.

To learn more about construction security, pick up your free guide to securing your construction site.