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Building up your construction site security 2 June 2014

Want to be sure that your construction site is completely secure when you walk away at the end of the day or for the weekend? Concerned about unwelcome, opportunistic visitors whilst your site’s open but everyone’s busy on the build? Then you need to implement the same approaches as you do to your construction work: a solid foundation, the best quality materials and no short cuts! To support this, you’ll need a complete checklist approach to get all your security covered!

The blueprint…it all starts with the planning

To get started you need to have a plan, just like any other construction project. The first thing to do is to risk assess your site against three main issues:

  • Theft – do you have potentially valuable materials and construction plant on-site 24/7? There’s a considerable risk of theft of such items, by organised criminals who specifically target construction sites, as well as opportunistic thieves.
  • Vandalism – is your construction project contentious in such a way that an individual or organisation might want to deter, delay or prevent the construction process? Or is the area prone to vandalism and anti-social behaviour? Are there highly flammable materials stored on site which maximise the risk for arson?
  • Environmental risk – is the area prone to flooding, landslips or some other environmental risk?

Consider each of these elements in the context of your site (a) during working hours, then (b) evenings and weekends. Identify the potential risks in all areas and at all times, as once you have a good overview of all your areas of risk, you can then start to formulate a plan to mitigate the likelihood of these at your site.

Marking out a solid foundation

The next thing to do is to identify how to manage each risk factor. Broadly speaking, you have three choices, including:

  • Ignoring – by taking no action perhaps because it’s not appropriate or deemed necessary in the project context (but consider all implications of this, including cost, impact and risk to others).
  • Minimising – perhaps by increasing insurance, improving working practices by not leaving keys in plant vehicles or restricting access.
  • Addressing – by taking action to not only minimise the risks, but actively try to prevent problems.

It’s worth noting that in the context of making your site secure and in ensuring that any minimal action you take (such as increasing your insurance) is not invalidated, ignoring the situation is really not an option upon which the solid foundations of site security can be built.

Building on what you know

Now you’ve identified the risks and that you can take some minimal as well as direct action to address these, it’s a case of identifying exactly how you might do so.
Although every construction site is different, there are key actions to consider which work well at an industry-wide level:

  • Restricting and monitoring access to the site during working hours.
  • Implementing work-practices which protect the site’s assets, such as removing keys from plant vehicles when not in use; locking plant away separately at night; keeping only limited amounts of identified, high-risk materials on-site at any given time.
  • Surveillance and monitoring of the site, both during and outside of working hours.
  • Liaison with the local authorities, local police and local community – because as well as your own risk, criminal activity on your site presents a risk to the wider local community too.
Pascal Capon
Director, SafeSite Facilities

Securing your structure

Deterrents are the ultimate in minimising the risk of break-ins and maximising security. Consider a range of security options in the context of your construction site to see whether there are anything you need to (a) improve upon or (b) implement as a matter of urgency, from the many types of boundary security available:

  • Solid, secure fencing for perimeters is a given, but consider too the fencing off areas inside for extra security of plant or valuable materials. Because these inner areas are likely to be smaller, more expensive and effective types of fencing could be cost-effectively used both for protection and to delay and deter any intruders who might have got past the site perimeter.
  • Industrial quality locks, along with key-safe working practices.
  • Use of anti-climb paint and removal of objects inside or outside of the perimeter which make access easier for criminals, for example by locking ladders away at night.
  • High quality surveillance – from CCTV as a minimum, but possibly by also using a reputable security company for on-site security.
  • Intruder alarms.
  • Appropriate signage – both to warn that the premises are protected, but also to call on the community to report any suspicious activity or signs of break-in.

Evaluating entries and exits

However secure your perimeter is, it’s no help at all if your entries and exits are just wide open during working hours. Again, assess your working practices and improve or implement as required:

  • Entry and exit routines for authorised persons.
  • Visitor policy and practices – to help ensure that only authorised persons are on-site and that any visitors are accompanied and / or closely monitored.
  • Thorough vetting and reference checking of new contractors / employees.

Finally, the “roof” which covers this whole building up of your security is having a clearly stated policy for on-site security, that all of your staff are:

  • Aware of.
  • Knowledgeable about how to implement in their daily work.
  • Able to contribute to by recognising potential security problems.
  • Aware of who to report to or what action to take in the face of a security breach or being the first-on-scene in the event of a security problem.

Although it might not seem cost-effective having a member of staff walk a new member through the security policy and practices, in the long run, everyone working as a team for the security of your construction site could save time, money and increased insurance costs!



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