When spring comes to Washington D.C, Maryland, Virginia and the surrounding areas, hundreds of contractors and sub-contractors take advantage of the warmer weather to get started on all sizes and types of construction projects. In most cases, each construction project will have tools, equipment, vehicles and valuable building materials on site, and the task of protecting these items is a major concern. Many companies choose to hire a security company to protect their site. Here are some of the primary threats to security at construction sites and steps that can be taken to protect your site from these threats.
Copper and Metal Theft
Although construction sites are always a target for the criminal faction, some types of security threats are occurring now more than ever before. Copper theft poses a real threat to the bottom lines of contractors, developers and property owners. Copper is garnering record prices on the salvage market and both thieves and drug addicts know that construction projects are a copper-rich environment. The American Supply Association says Copper theft is a pervasive, opportunistic crime which poses a risk to public safety, communication, transportation and construction sites…
In minutes, these criminals can rip copper piping and wiring from the walls of homes and businesses under construction. Not only does the expensive, stolen copper material have to be replaced, but this type of theft causes massive damage to the building, costing tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs, labor costs and time. Other metals are also targeted, including aluminum, brass and steel. In short, any metal that a thief can sell for scrap is at risk of being stolen.
The wealth of gas and diesel-powered equipment on most construction sites is a magnet for the fuel thief. Even with locking gas caps and locked fuel storage tanks, the experienced fuel thief is not easily deterred. They simply strike when the site is unmanned, giving them ample time to cut locks or puncture tanks to get to the fuel. Evening, weekends and holidays are often times when sites are unmanned, leaving the thief plenty of undisturbed time to steal.
Vehicle and Vehicle Parts Theft
Car thieves also consider construction sites to be a target rich environments. Contractor vehicles and even locked sub-contractor trailers full of tools and supplies represent a steady supply of easy to fence auto parts, tools and equipment for the car thief and an expensive loss for the construction companies and their contractors.
Unfortunately, the criminal faction is not the only threat to the construction company. Every industry has to deal with employee theft, but construction companies are particularly prone to employee theft issues. While a percentage of employee theft involves employees making off with small items and easily concealed tools during the work day, more determined attempts will involve returning to the site after hours to retrieve larger, more valuable items. Since they are familiar with the site layout and schedule, they can quickly load up their stolen goods and make their getaway.
Incidents of vandalism skyrocket in the D.C, Maryland and Virginia area as bored teens and young adults look for ways to entertain themselves with graffiti and property damage. Even worse, are the incidences when off duty employees decide to give themselves a financial boost by causing vandalism damage that they will later be paid to repair during working hours. Malicious vandalism can also result in costly damages if a disgruntled former employee uses their knowledge of the site to vandalize it.
Proactive Ways to Protect Your Construction Site from Threats
Sadly, construction companies sometimes wait until a theft or problem arises before taking proactive protective security measure for their property. This can be a very expensive mistake. In fact, just one burglar or malicious vandal can create crippling losses for the construction project. Even worse, insurance coverage can become prohibitively expensive or even unable to obtain at all, if the insurance company feels that your site is not adequately secure.
Security companies in MD, DC and VA often recommend that construction companies consider using the following guidelines to decrease their security risks and protect their business assets.
- Commercial Fencing – installation of secure fencing around the entire site perimeter that is checked daily for breaches and only accessible by secure entry gates that are locked and unlocked by a site supervisor
- Screening – carefully screen any sub-contractors and employees that are to work on the site, sticking with those who you know and avoiding any who hire day laborers with no verifiable work history or references
- Documentation – for all delivery people, site visitors, inspectors, trash service personnel and others who come to the site each day and have them sign in and out on a dated, timed log that includes their name, reason for the visit and contact information.
- Storage – creating secure storage areas for equipment, supplies, tools and fuels should be a priority on every construction site to deter all types of theft
- Signage – while the installation of a sign may not prevent all crime, it can help prevent random vandalism and make criminals less likely to commit a crime. Unfortunatley, it does not p
Maximum Security Calls for Professional Security
Fencing your site and taking the other proactive security measures listed above are crucial to protecting your company’s assets, but for the Washington DC Metropolitan area, they are still not enough. To maximize the benefits, it is important to add the protection of a professional Washington, D.C., Virginia or Maryland security companylike this one to fully implement the best security protocols.
Based on our experience, local crime data and industry-wide information, we know that construction sites benefit most from:
- Uniformed, highly visible security guards patrol the site every 30 minutes
- Guards patrols scheduled to be perfomred at night and weekends, whenever construction workers are not present on site including holidays.
- For large projects, a guard should be stationed at entrance and exit gates to monitor deliveries, and employee and sub-contractor arrial and departures.
In addition to maximizing construction site security, utilizing a reputable security firm can also result in lower insurance premiums, reduced risk, less lost time due to vandalism or missing materials and a safer working environment for all your employees and sub-contractors. When you contact security companies be sure to ask them these questions.