It’s no secret that construction equipment is expensive and not easily replaced. High price vehicles, equipment, and parts are susceptible to theft on a job site. Theft is more likely to happen when construction sites are not monitored with cameras or proper security. In fact, it happens all the time.
Recently, in North Carolina, two trucks, two trailers, and two mini excavators were stolen from a construction company. Also, there were arrests made for stealing excavators, skid steers, trailers, and other equipment from construction sites across Florida and Georgia. Locals in Cleveland are charged for stealing more than $1 million in construction equipment. All of these theft incidents occurred within just a few weeks of each other.
Due to COVID, construction materials are in high demand and prices have skyrocketed. Unfortunately, this makes these materials even more susceptible to theft. Andrew Lambert, a group program manager at Milwaukee Tool, says industry research shows that 30 percent of tool and equipment purchases are made to replace lost or stolen items. So, how do we combat the high rise in equipment theft?
Technology is becoming so advanced, which means there are several options available to construction companies to avoid theft. For example, HCSS offers GPS technology that will track the usage and location of the equipment. In addition, Milwaukee Tool offers a One-Key solution, which utilizes ID tagging, equipment trackers, and barcode scanning to create an asset-tracking platform for contractors. Geofencing is another great feature for construction managers with alerting capabilities.
Remote video monitoring is another great option for enhancing job site security. The system can identify different sounds and send an alert as a security threat. For example, a sound like glass breaking will trigger a different response than the sound of a gust of wind. A motion-activated system will automatically trigger lights and sirens to scare off thieves. Although technology is a great tool to use, there are many other ways contractors can prevent equipment theft.
Ensuring there are as many physical barriers as possible is essential to preventing theft. Locked doors and climb-resistant fencing is important. Place surveillance warnings and penalties on trespassers signs on the fences surrounding the site. Contractors should also limit the number of access points to the site. Another option is to have security guards surrounding the site in high-crime areas. Lastly, bright lighting is critical and can be an effective deterrent for thieves.
Store portable equipment such as generators, welders, and smaller equipment behind locked doors. Among the most commonly stolen items are loaders and tractors. So, contractors should consider solutions like hydraulic locks. Locks should be secure enough that they can’t be drilled open. Take off the wheels on gang boxes before leaving. Bring as many tools as you can off-site to avoid theft. Securely store everything else left behind.
Valuable Assets Out of Sight
It’s important to keep valuable assets away from the edge of the fence. This will entice thieves, as the equipment would be in clear sight and easy to grab. Keeping valuable items closer to the job site will make it a lot harder for thieves to quickly snatch them, especially the smaller tools. General contractors may be managing a large project with many subcontractors, so it’s important to know who is on the site at all times. A great way to do this is by requiring name tags and having a check-in routine when entering the site.
We here at Waldron Carpentry know how valuable construction equipment is, and the high cost that comes with replacing it. Although theft isn’t completely avoidable, these factors listed above will surely make it harder for thieves to be successful.