Taking Site Security To
Unauthorised entry onto a construction site presents several threats:
To operations, including existing works and work schedules, disruption to which costs millions each year.
To property and materials – including buildings and outbuildings, structures under construction or demolition, as well as construction materials, tools, equipment, plant, fuel and petty theft of workers’ possessions and assets.
To life, including trespassers causing damage which has the potential to injure, maim or kill, such as ripping out fixtures and leaving wiring unsafe, as well as deliberate actions such as arson which threaten life as well as property.
The ever-increasing cost of fuel means that fuel theft is now on the rise: it can easily be reused and disappear without trace, whilst the single action of stealing fuel from a construction site can have repercussions which threaten operations, property and life:
Operational cost – few plant vehicles or generators can function without fuel. The delays caused by both the lack and the need to refuel affects schedules, which can affect overall progress towards deadlines.
Property cost – expensive plant may be damaged in the process of the theft.
Life – fuel spilled during theft is common and presents a fire hazard which could be both life-changing and life-ending.
Loss and liability
As well as the threats to operations, property and life, the actions of thieves who’ve gained access through inadequately secured sites threatens site owners or managers with liability for further loss and damage. For example, if plant and heavy, powerful vehicles are stolen in order to gain access or destroy other buildings, such as ram-raiding retail premises, or to gain high up access to a building, this consequential action of the theft can be costly in terms of both site loss and liability for other damage / losses occurring off-site.
Similarly, construction companies can find themselves liable for accidents involving trespassers or because of trespassers compromising overall safety. This is often the case when sites are inadequately secured against trespass and vandalism. Construction sites can be particularly vulnerable to vandalism as part of general anti-social behaviour or specific, renegade rebellion against construction being carried out in the locality.
Construction sites offer particular security challenges
• Busy sites mean constant movement. With workers being focused on their own areas and tasks, the site may be vulnerable to opportunists who may just walk in unchallenged to help themselves, or enter the site to check out the layout, value of assets and presence (or not) of onsite security, in order to return later for a more organised theft spree.
• A variety of access points are often needed, for vehicles, construction site workers and for authorised visitors, such as managers and building control. Access points and arrangements may constantly change as work progresses and may be particularly vulnerable as phases of work move on.
• Movement and storage of vehicles which may need to be kept onsite temporarily can be a challenge to secure in a cost-effective and safe manner.