When crew members, subcontractors, or trespassers steal tools, materials, safety gear, or other equipment from a job site, it can have significant costs. Of course, there’s the expense of replacing stolen items and possibly renting equipment until it’s replaced, as well as indirect costs like increased insurance premiums and lost productivity. And major theft can even cause delays that lead to fines when deadlines are missed. So, preventing theft from the construction site should always be a priority.
There are no exact figures, but many industry experts estimate that theft-related losses from construction sites total up to about $1 billion every year. By applying the following tips for preventing theft from the construction site, you can reduce the chances that some of that is coming out of your company’s bottom line.
How to Reduce the Risk of Construction Site Theft
- Instate a zero-tolerance theft policy. Make sure all employees, subcontractors, and other parties know that any theft will result in immediate termination of employment or their contract. Also, make it known that you will press charges. And follow through. Also, be clear that the policy extends to “borrowing” tools or other items for side jobs.
- Make the site a less appealing target. Fence off the construction site and post “No trespassing” signs. Lock the gates. Keep the site well lit at night. Lock away tools and materials, and don’t leave anything tempting in sight. Invest in secure storage and trailers, quality locks and chains, and other security measures. Keep all the keys together in a secure place and keep track of who accesses them.
- Secure your heavy equipment. While it’s a lot harder to steal construction machinery than smaller tools and materials, it can be quite profitable for thieves and it does happen. There are low-tech solutions like removing batteries or wheels and lowering buckets and blades. There are also locks for immobilizing the machine’s controls. Higher tech solutions like alarms help too, and this is one of the many benefits of having telematics on your heavy equipment.
- Keep detailed inventories. Preventing theft from the construction site requires knowing about it when it’s happening. Which means you must know what tools, materials, safety gear, and other equipment you have on site. Maintain thorough logs of everything you have at each job site. Compare the records to what’s actually there at the end of every day.