Helping to secure your construction site 

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Construction site security has become a major concern over the past few years, writes Christopher Walters, Technical Services Manager, BCD

While the national inflation rate is currently at a two year low, construction companies still need to guard against theft, vandalism and property damage – all of which affect project profitability as well as project timelines.  

The National Equipment Register shows that the annual loss to construction sites nationwide ranges somewhere between $300m to $1b. These numbers only include thefts that are reported.  

So, how do we mitigate those losses? Several states have implemented security site requirements that are mandated by law.

Some of the items included in these mandates are signage, perimeter fencing, lighting, the “disabling” of motorised equipment during non-working hours and a site security plan, while other states have no such requirements.  

In this article, we will be looking at video surveillance systems for construction sites and some of the key factors that should be considered regarding implementation. 

While all these security requirements add to deterring theft at construction sites, they should be augmented with video surveillance or security video systems (SVS).

SVS systems provide several key benefits that help with securing a construction site.  

It helps to provide a “visual” deterrent. Several studies have shown that just the presence of a security video camera will likely cause a potential burglar to move into a location that does not have cameras.

An additional benefit is that if a crime is committed on the construction site, the camera(s) can provide evidence to the authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) and lead to identifying a suspect as well as helping identify items that were taken.  

If you are going to implement a SVS system to help secure your construction site, choosing the appropriate camera and camera location is important to consider.

Camera needs vary by site and location. Some things to think about when implementing a security video system are as follows: 

Camera location 

Is the camera directed at the area of interest? For example, most storage/cargo containers are equipped with only a front door.

With this in mind, is the camera focused on that door and area just in front of the cargo container or is the camera view focused on the fence behind the container?  

Moreover, where and how will the camera be mounted to monitor the appropriate area and will the camera’s field of view be affected by the sun or any other light source?

Does the camera adequately cover the area of interest or are additional cameras needed to properly monitor the area?

Does the location allow the camera to be easily moved/vandalised by a potential suspect?  

Camera type 

Not only is it critical to consider if a camera is rated for interior or exterior use, but it is equally important to take into account whether the camera is wireless or solar – does it need to be hardwired for power and video?  

In addition, if the camera is wireless, are there spare batteries available? Are the batteries being maintained and, if so, by who? Other questions worth posing include:  

  • Does it require Wi-Fi? If so, how close does it need to be to the router to obtain the Wi-Fi signal? 
  • Does the camera have an infra-red (IR) sensor or does it need additional exterior lighting to illuminate its field of view?  
  • What is the camera’s focal range – is it better suited for a field of view that is closer or further away? 

Key considerations 

NVR location – if the recorder for the cameras is to be located on the construction site, where should it be installed? I have witnessed on several construction sites, the NVR sitting on a desktop in the general contractor’s office/trailer, with no attempt having been made to hide it. The NVR should be placed in a spot that is inconspicuous and out of the way. Ideally in a location where access to it is concealed and secured behind a lock. 

Camera analytics – most of today’s cameras come equipped with built-in analytics, such as motion activation and alert notification. This is helpful as the camera will notify you via text, email, etc. that it has detected movement. This feature is beneficial when coupled with a security officer service. Even if there is no security officer on-site at the time, the authorised person or the officer can view the camera remotely to determine if the notification requires further action. 

Site lighting – the lighting provided on-site can help to deter unwanted access and assist with better quality images for the cameras that are being utilised to monitor the site after hours. Proper lighting alone may be enough of a deterrent to potential thieves to convince them to move on. 

Security officer service – a security officer service is another thing to consider when attempting to secure your site. Security officers provide an immediate response to any situation that may arise during off hours at the site and, as mentioned, coupled with the appropriate SVS, can help make a formidable team.  

There are a variety of options available when securing your construction site, from basic to high tech.

Utilising a combination of the options available will often provide you with the best solution for securing your site.

Contact our team at BCD to build a solution tailored to your construction site: 

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