The UK construction industry, on average, loses £400m per year due to equipment theft and other common crimes. Recent research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) into construction site crime, held that 92% of site managers have reported being affected by theft either weekly, monthly or yearly.
Clearly, theft on construction sites is a widespread problem which needs to be addressed and taken seriously by all site owners and their staff, particularly where expensive plant and equipment is being kept on-site.
Theft is often a crime of opportunity, meaning that it is frequently carried out by a site’s own employees. However, having the right preventative procedures in place can reduce the chances of it happening to you.
We discuss several straightforward ways to effectively avoid employee theft occurring within the construction site.
Employ certified staff only
It is extremely important to carry out regular, thorough background checks in order to ensure that every employee, contractor and supplier has the right accreditations to enter or work on your construction site.
If you wish to hire manned guards to patrol your site out-of-hours, you must ensure that those hired are fully certified by the correct body. SIA guards are industry credited and have been through the right training to ensure they are capable of protecting your site to a high standard.
Always report crimes
Reporting theft of site equipment is important, as not only does this increase the chances of your belongings being found and returned, but in most cases, it forms an integral part of the insurance claims process.
Moreover, having a clear process for reporting crimes, which all employees should be made aware of, demonstrates to workers just how seriously site theft will be taken, which may act as a deterrent.
Train staff properly
It is vital to fully equip all staff members with the right knowledge so that they are well aware of how to identify and deal with any issues. Training sessions for new employees should, therefore, be arranged as soon as possible.
Staff should know how to store equipment at the end of the day, including itemisation and securely locking up. Instilling this information in employees from the moment they begin working on site ensures they are aware of the seriousness of site security from the get-go.
Monitor job site access
It is important to monitor exactly who is coming in-and-out of your site throughout the day and night, in order to ensure that people who are not supposed to be there cannot gain access. Remote CCTV monitoring works 24/7 and can help in identifying issues extremely quickly.
Of course, allowing unqualified people and strangers to enter greatly increases the risk of your construction site becoming a victim of theft, as well as other serious misconduct like vandalism and health and safety issues.
To keep trespassers firmly out, you may wish to install modern access control systems, which are a technologically advanced means of ensuring only authorised members of staff can enter your site.
Identify high-value equipment
It is not unsurprising that the recovery rate for stolen equipment is rather low, which could certainly be a motivating factor amongst light-fingered construction site workers. However, having strategies in place which help make the identification of stolen goods much easier, should hopefully make employees think twice before attempting to steal from their place of work.
If tools and equipment go missing, they are simply much easier to find if they have characteristic values, which enable authorities to easily identify them from other, generic pieces. As such, marking high-value equipment in distinctive ways, as well as taking a note of the serial numbers on each piece and ensuring they are logged in a site inventory, is key.
Moreover, you can tag all equipment and add it to a central database, run by the Construction Equipment Security and Registration Scheme (CESAR), which allows site owners to easily locate stolen pieces using the individual tracking codes.
Either that or you could spray paint all of your pieces a lovely shade of neon pink!