How to Keep a Building Site Secure

How to secure a building site

The challenges and solutions to building site security.

In this article, we explore the challenges and offer solutions to common building site security issues.

26 February 2020

Keeping a building site secure can be difficult. They have long been considered an easy target by criminals. Building sites are often located near residential areas, where compounds can be easily accessed by intruders. The common problems of tool, diesel and material theft are a constant issue on building sites.

On top of this, many construction companies are also concerned with safety and liability issues. Mounting costs of legal pay-outs and insurance premiums hurt the bottom line of any project.


building site tool theftWhat 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.

Copper theft

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. This is a high-value item to thieves and there is a market for it.

Proximity of intruders

Many building sites are in close proximity to residential areas. This can increase the risk of youths attempting to access the site to “hang-out” or to steal and vandalise assets on site. If a construction site is within view of nearby houses, it can be relatively easy for someone to identify weak points in the security system currently in place e.g. static guard.


building site liability

Why is liability is a major concern on building sites?

With the increasing numbers of fatalities on building sites, health and safety concerns are of paramount importance when choosing a security provider. Traditionally theft and vandalism were the primary concern, we now see the focus shifting towards ensuring safety, and preventing accidents on site.

Insurance costs

A study published by the HSA shows 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 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.

Reputation damage

Keeping a building site secure

The often-overlooked fallout from an incident on-site can be the reputational and brand damage. This can be the 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 used when proving a company’s innocence. After a major incident CCTV footage can be downloaded, distributed and reviewed as evidence of liability preventing damage to a company’s reputation.

A proactive CCTV system will not only record the footage for viewing but if someone attempts to enter a protected area, the system will send an alert to the Communications Hub and therefore avoid any unnecessary accidents, intervening before the damage is done.


Why monitored CCTV is the best option for building sites

Workplace theft

Workplace theft is a concern for building sites. Unfortunately, there can sometimes be issues with staff stealing tools and materials during work hours. During the day a proactively monitored CCTV system is unarmed to ensure it is not sending unnecessary alerts of movement onsite into the Communication Hubs. However, the cameras are still recording footage 24/7, which can be very useful in cases of theft by employees. This means should a theft occur during the hours of the system being unarmed, the site manager can still review the camera footage to establish the cause.

Remote viewing

The CCTV cameras can be remotely viewed via an app. This means they can ensure 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 examined to identify the cause, and used to decide on liability.


What is the latest piece of CCTV technology benefiting 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 sites like this secure. Some CCTV companies provide a temporary solution for building sites that are 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. This temporary unit can be installed without the need for electricity, construction, cabling or communication works. This self-powered CCTV system offers the full benefits of the Netwatch service in a mobile format.

Why is temporary CCTV an efficient option?

Where common temporary CCTV systems require power from a generator onsite or battery packs, the Netwatch Commander Unit 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. A diesel generator can be used to keep the onsite CCTV system operating, but they create noise, so use can be restricted. 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 as 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.


How does Netwatch compare to a traditional manned guard?

Some site managers are sceptical of what a Proactive CCTV system like Netwatch is capable of versus a more traditional security guard. They feel the presence of an onsite guard is more of a deterrent, even though that one person cannot monitor everywhere at once and can be subject to intimidation by others.

It can take time to realise the system is working quietly in the background, even if it appears 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.


Building Site Security Ross Jacob

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.

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