Building sites have long been the target of criminals seeking an easy mark. Often building sites are located near residential areas, where compounds can be easily accessed by intruders. The traditional issues of theft of tools, diesel and other assets are ever present threats on building sites. Many construction companies are now also becoming concerned with safety and liability issues, as the mounting costs of legal pay-outs and insurance premiums hurt the bottom line of the project.
What are the traditional security issues on building sites?
Theft of tools
The threat of theft of tools stored in compounds at night, or even from vans during the day is a constant headache. Tools are valued by thieves because of their ease of transport and resale.
Theft of boilers/copper
Copper theft has seen a massive increase in the last 10 years. Eagle-eyed criminals are waiting for builders to install boilers, or other copper-based materials, before they target the site at night.
Proximity of intruders
Many building sites are near/in residential areas. This proximity can increase the risk of youths attempting to access the site to “hang-out” or to steal/vandalise assets on site. With a site being easily viewed from nearby houses, it can be relatively easy for someone to identify weak points in the security system currently in place e.g. static guard.
Why is liability is a major concern on building sites?
With the increasing numbers of fatalities on building sites, health & safety concerns are of paramount importance when choosing a security provider. Where traditionally theft and vandalism were the primary concern, we now see the focus shifting towards ensuring safety and preventing accidents on site.
A recent study, published by the HSA, reports that the average cost of twelve middle-range workplace accidents was approximately €52,000. If a business is found liable for an accident on the site, they may be forced to pay a large settlement sum, or face an increased insurance premium. Many construction site managers fear this unexpected cost above the cost if of tool or diesel theft. A monitored CCTV system not only mitigates the risk of intruders entering the site, but also provides evidence of intruder actions based on the recorded footage.
The often overlooked fallout from an incident on site can be the reputational/brand damage. This can be public perception of a construction company’s failure to meet safety standards, or provide adequate security measures, which resulted in an onsite fatality.
CCTV is often the key piece of evidence in proving a company’s innocence. After a major incident CCTV footage can be downloaded, distributed and reviewed as evidence of liability limiting/preventing damage to a company’s reputation. CCTV footage more importantly, should help companies highlight areas of risk to help prevent a serious accident happening in the first place.
A proactive CCTV system will not only record the footage for viewing, but if someone is entering a protected area, the system will alert sent the alert to the Communications Hub and therefore avoid any unnecessary accidents.
Why monitored CCTV is the best option for building sites?
Workplace theft is of continual concern for building sites. Unfortunately there can be issues with even staff stealing tools and materials in work hours. During the day a proactively monitored CCTV system is unarmed to ensure it is not sending unnecessary alerts of movement onsite into our Hubs. However, the cameras are still recording footage 24/7, which can be very useful in cases of theft. This means that a foreman or site manager can review the camera footage when they notice items are missing to establish the cause.
The foreman/security system administrator can view CCTV cameras remotely via an app. This means he/she can ensure that work is being carried out on site, safety procedures are being followed and they can view the site live should an incident occur.
Recording and logging of workplace accidents
Traditionally, building sites used a fixed CCTV system to record crime and vandalism taking place on the site. However, many sites are now focusing on using proactive CCTV to prevent crime and to ensure safety procedures are being adhered to. If a workplace accident does occur, footage can be downloaded and examined to identify the cause and or liability.
What is the latest piece of CCTV technology that benefits the construction sector?
Often we see construction sites without internet connectivity or onsite electrical infrastructure in place. It can be challenging to provide a CCTV security system to keep these sites secure. Some CCTV companies provide a temporary solution for building sites that is powered by a generator or battery pack. At Netwatch, we also have a temporary, standalone system known as our Commander unit that can be connected to the mains or a generator. In addition to this, Netwatch is the only provider of a CCTV system that is completely self-powered using hybrid gas technology. This temporary unit can be installed without the need for electricity, construction, cabling or communication works. This self-powered CCTV system offers many benefits to the construction sector.
What made temporary CCTV an efficient option
Where common temporary CCTV systems require power from a generator onsite or battery packs, the Netwatch Commander has a gas-powered option. Other systems require a generator to continuously run to keep the system live and actively monitoring. Refuelling generators constantly and recharging battery packs can be a costly and time-consuming task. The gas-powered commander unit is extremely efficient and can operate for up to one month independently before a refill is required. Netwatch will receive an alert once the gas pressure drops and will refill the unit, so that no downtime or additional cost is experienced by the customer.
Keeping your site secure and quiet
Many sites face noise restrictions past a certain time of day. This restricts the use of the more commonly used, noisy, diesel generator to keep the onsite CCTV system operating. The gas-powered commander unit runs silently and is perfectly suited for sites with this type of noise restriction.
What makes monitored CCTV a cost-effective option on building sites?
Utilising the latest technology, Netwatch provides a cost effective, accountable monitored security system for any premises on a managed service basis. A monitored CCTV system offers substantial cost savings compared to security guards or traditional CCTV system that simply records crime.
A proactive CCTV system will protect the perimeter of your site, acting like a security guard, but watching all areas of the site simultaneously. Many foremen or site managers find the true value in a Netwatch system is the peace of mind it brings, knowing that the site is protected from crime and that the footage recordings can prevent costly liability claims.
What do the sceptics say after they switch to Netwatch?
Some site managers are sceptical of what a Proactive CCTV system like Netwatch is capable of, versus a more traditional security guard option. They feel that the presence of a person onsite is more of a deterrent, even though that one person cannot monitor everywhere at once and can be subject to intimidation by others. Also, for some managers, it takes time for them to realise that the system is working quietly in the background even if it appears that no incidents are occurring. Clients receive incident reports of alarms caused by staff entering the site while the system is armed or site power loss notifications indicating the system has switched to backup power. These indications show that the system is fully operational and actively deterring intruders.
Chat with our construction advisor
Our construction advisor is Ross Jacob. Ross has extensive knowledge of the range of issues faced by the construction sector. From his experience of working with a long list of construction clients, he will advise you which solution will work best to suit your needs and budget.