Maintaining security of a construction site is a long-standing problem and creates many challenging issues. Construction sites present a huge risk because of their very nature – ie heavy duty work is being carried out and incomplete buildings and possibly large excavations exist – but also because of the people and equipment required and the ever-changing status of the site. Many different contractors visit site, lots of different vehicles, materials and equipment come and go, and at the end of each working day, the site will look different to how it appeared at the beginning. So managing security is very much like aiming at a moving target.
Construction sites are an attraction to thieves and people intent on causing mindless damage, but they can also be intriguing to children and something of an exciting playground to people with no malicious intent. People may also use them as a short-cut on their way home, particularly if the site now bisects the route someone has historically used. Construction site security involves protecting the site from theft or damage, but the employer or principal contractor also has a legal duty to protect the safety of the public.
So here are seven tips to look at and consider in order to maintain professional and robust site security at your building site at all times:
Having specialist security personnel on site, particularly overnight and during site shut down periods, acts as a visible deterrent to opportunist thieves and prevents people trespassing on the site. Having effective systems for security personnel to physically patrol the site periodically and report findings will go a long way to preventing any issues.
Investing in a temporary system of strategically-placed CCTV cameras can guard your site and provide evidence if needed. CCTV cameras can either be prominent, to act as a deterrent, or discrete, but you must have signage if the camera views public areas such as the footpath bordering your site. Technology has evolved to provide an excellent quality of footage with facilities to playback, download and share evidence as necessary.
CCTV systems can be designed to provide live feeds that can be monitored from home (or from your security provider’s control room). This allows employers or principal contractors to observe activities on site from their own home and react to issues as required.
There are a number of professional and easy to use systems that can be designed to control access to your site and prevent unauthorised people entering . These can be integrated with attendance and salary systems, but from a safety and security point of view you need to know who is on site and when, and these systems can therefore prevent access without the correct pass or fob. Again, such systems can also be monitored remotely and even controlled from your phone
Lighting is very important on a construction site after hours, mainly to highlight the physical dangers that exist, but also to make intruders more visible. A good lighting set up can also provide the impression that people are still working on the site, so this may deter an intruder from entering.
Construction sites need to have good systems for the storage of vehicles, power tools, equipment and materials. This of course is to prevent theft, but is also a safety measure and acts to reduce the attraction for someone entering the site.
All these measures listed above will combine to prevent unauthorised people accessing the site, but if these systems are somehow breached, an intruder alarm can act to raise awareness. Bespoke systems can trigger alarms in zoned or vulnerable areas that you highlight, and can be used in combination with other security measures to provide a robust system.
Perhaps the most important tip is that all site security measures should be combined in a system that is continuously monitored, so that the changing status of a construction site is under close scrutiny at all times. This means that daily shutdown systems and checklists, with specific responsibilities assigned, should be in place to ensure that however the site is left each day, the appropriate security measures are in place.