Construction site theft has become a rising concern for employers across the country. According to the National Crime Information Bureau (NCIB), as much as $1 billion a year is lost nationwide due to theft of construction equipment and tools –and the recovery rate is less than 20 percent. Furthermore, as the prices of various building materials, such as steel and lumber, continue to surge, job site theft is only expected to increase within the construction industry. Theft also spikes during peak construction months.

In addition to the cost of property losses, theft impacts construction projects with delays, downtime for skilled equipment operators, increased insurance premiums, and even cancellation of insurance in some cases. Yet there are several measures construction employers can implement to increase job site security and deter theft.

Consider these theft prevention tips:

Implement Safety Measures

Because of high resale value, equipment is the most targeted property on construction sites. Equipment theft happens most often in locations where construction activity is booming. Bolstering the security of your construction site can make it more difficult for potential thieves to access work equipment and materials, as well as deter them from attempting to steal these items altogether. Important job security protocols include:

  • Keeping premises well-lit, especially during evening hours.
  • Installing and utilizing video surveillance throughout the construction site premises.
  • Investing in an alarm system that will sound in the event of a trespassing incident.
  • Posting signage that clearly states the premise’s security measures and emphasizes that trespassers will face consequences.

Utilize Proper Inventory Protocols

Hand tools and small power tools are often targets of opportunity for quick resale.

One simple, yet effective, step for preventing tool theft is designating someone to track tool usage and inventory. Doing so will allow you and your employees to better keep track of these items and easily notice if they go missing. Be sure to conduct regular inventory checks and maintain accurate records for all equipment and materials. Require employees to sign equipment in and out of a logbook during use and instruct them to store any equipment not being used in a secure location.

It could become part of a supervisor’s duties to monitor tool use and the process, incentivized by connecting it to their performance and as a determining factor in their compensation or bonus structure.

Also, keep in mind thieves often target construction sites with large piles or groups of materials under the impression that it will be less noticeable when only a few items are stolen. Try to avoid storing excess materials at the job site. Ask your suppliers to conduct deliveries on an as-needed basis.

Ensure Frequent Communication

Lastly, make sure to discuss the value of effective security and inventory procedures with your staff during routine construction site meetings. Recognize and reward employees who uphold these procedures. In addition, ask your staff to provide regular updates regarding project progress, equipment needs, and material usage. Frequent communication shows your employees that you take theft prevention seriously–motivating them to do the same.

For more information on how to protect your construction sites from theft or to learn more about insuring your construction business contact the Healy Insurance team.

About the Author

John Kersey joined Healy Group in 2003 and has 30 years of experience designing risk management programs for commercial clients. As a risk management advisor, John strives to build strong relationships with his clients and business partners to understand their needs better and provide the best risk management strategies for their unique situations.