Among the concerns of operating a business, job site security is one of the highest priorities in the construction industry. Obviously, this concern bleeds into vehicles used by a company.

Though efficiency is key, there can be no corners cut when it comes to job site security. Equipment and material theft is a major source of loss and while insurance can offset some of the financial impacts, many uninsured costs are left to contractors and fleet managers.

It’s estimated that construction site theft costs residential and commercial projects anywhere from $300 million to $1 billion every year. That being said, it’s important to exhaust every effort to protect the construction site. In this blog post, we’ll go over the following:

Why are construction sites and equipment targeted?

While construction sites may not seem like a hub for theft, construction site theft is more common than you think. These threats extend into operations, property and materials, and overall cost.

The primary reason a culprit might seem interested in your site is that there are valuable construction materials on-site, or in commercial vehicles. For example:

  • Construction tools that are pricey can be eye-catching. These can be taken by thieves in-the-night and, unfortunately, by construction site employees. Individually, these tools may not seem like a major loss, but the cost of these tools adds up.
  • Valuable materials such as lumber, copper, and other metals can be snagged from vehicles to sell for cash.
  • Heavy equipment, such as trailers, cranes, lifts, and more.
  • Finally, construction vehicles themselves! This includes larger vehicles such as tractors, bulldozers, and more. Professional thieves can find these particularly appealing.

Additionally, a site with massive amounts of material can be overwhelming to manage and track. With a high volume of supply, it becomes easy for materials to go missing, and typically, these instances go unnoticed until after the fact.

Another explanation as to why construction job site security may be vulnerable is whether or not it’s easily accessible. Expansive construction sites may have several ways in and several ways out. This can also include the risk of working with many contractors or partners who have access to the site throughout the day. Checking credentials for all visitors at all entry and exit points can become an exhausting, tedious task.

How to improve security on construction sites

Luckily, there are many ways to create job site security and minimize the risk of security breaches.

  • Physical security involves deeply weaving security into the infrastructure of the site. This can include alarm systems, construction job site security cameras, access control, fencing, locks, and more.
  • Operational security is the human involvement in the security of the construction site. The crew has responsibilities for tasks such as monitoring risk management, manned guarding, monitoring exit and entry points, securing tools, locking away equipment, and more.
  • Technology can also serve as a security ally. Geofencing, for example, is a location-based service that uses Global Positioning System (GPS), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), and cellular data or Wi-Fi to trigger pre-programmed actions when an RFID tag or mobile device enters or exits a virtual geographic-based boundary. Using this technology on trailers, heavy equipment, materials, and fleets will help recovery after any unsavory activity.

Invest in equipment tracking

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that the likelihood of recovering stolen equipment in the construction industry is less than 20%. For this reason, it’s critical to invest in tracking technology that helps prevent theft and trespassing, as well as locate stolen equipment. Investing in equipment tracking can be the first (and most critical) step in protecting your construction site and minimizing loss.

Buy vehicle tracking software

Having vehicle tracking software can give you a bird’s-eye view of all of your vehicles, equipment, and trailers so they can be located if they mysteriously go missing. With real-time tracking, you can even get instant alerts by setting geofences so that you know if a vehicle in your fleet enters (or exits) a yard or client facility.

Consider vehicle immobilization devices

One familiar example of a vehicle immobilization device is a physical tool, called a “boot.” The boot is a hub cover attached to the wheel assembly that prevents the vehicle from moving.

Too labor-intensive for your operation? There are other ways to immobilize vehicles remotely with GPS tracking. GPS tracking allows users to remotely disable a vehicle’s ignition in the case of theft or misuse. Vehicle GPS trackers and disablers expedite the retrieval of lost or stolen assets, thus minimizing the risk of vehicle, equipment, and financial loss.

Invest in security coaching and training

Training employees on how to secure a construction site empowers them to help keep the construction site secure. Limit how many employees know how to handle heavy equipment, and coach them to complete construction job site security checklists on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis so there’s constant visibility into inventory and vehicles.

Review construction site lighting, CCTV, and alarms

There are also physical aspects that can deter potential theft. Lighting can serve as both an irritant to thieves and as an aid to security, as it can provide protection to access points, and should be fitted to inaccessible areas that can’t be disabled by outsiders.

The presence of CCTVs alone can be enough to scare off would-be thieves and vandals as they provide video evidence of any crime committed on the construction site. Security cameras can also provide access to live footage around the clock, and sometimes remotely, to offer an extra set of eyes when your construction site is unattended.

Finally, alarm systems are key when it comes to warding off criminals the moment they begin their trespass. Alarm systems are also ideal for alerting those in the vicinity that something criminal is occurring. There are many alarm systems available, including 24-hour alarm construction job site security monitoring systems that note the date and time of any occurrence to help you keep track of any infiltration.

Tips for creating a construction security plan for vehicles

Creating a security plan for vehicles can help prevent any theft from happening at your construction site. Here are a few tips: 

  • Assess security risks. Analyze job site security threats and understand what your construction site is at risk for. These should be conducted regularly to keep track of inventory and vehicles. 
  • Use asset/equipment tracking technology. Find a reliable asset/equipment tracking platform to provide real-time updates on your assets.
  • Have all staff members undergo training. Ensure that your team is trained for job site safety and security.
  • Fence and monitor the construction site. Keep fencing high to make it difficult for potential intruders from entering the perimeter and limit access to employees, partners, etc. with secure ways to enter and exit.
  • Invest in a security system. Although an alarm system can’t 100% guarantee that it’ll stop theft, investing in surveillance cameras and alarms to provide additional security for your construction site will definitely make a would-be thief’s job a lot harder.

Motive is trusted by over 90,000 companies of all sizes, and was built to power world-class construction companies. With our GPS tracking, you can get real-time visibility into where your fleet is headed, and eliminate guesswork with advanced technology that provides specific addresses of where your vehicles are located. With our powerful platform, fleet managers can identify risks and correct inefficiencies to keep costs low and profit high.

“My plant managers can check their phones and find out vehicle locations in seconds,” says one user from Mohawk Materials. Now you, too, can have the comfort of knowing where your fleet’s vehicles are — any time of the day or night.

To learn more about how Motive can help solve your construction job site security needs, request a demo today.