Construction sites are notoriously difficult places to secure, as they’re attractive to would-be
burglars and arsonists. This is so for several reasons.
Why are building sites difficult to secure?
Firstly, they’re physically easy to access when compared with a complete building, owing to the fact
that the walls haven’t yet been completed. Secondly, they’re often filled to bursting with high-value
goods, which can be easily picked up and taken and sold on the black market. Thirdly, construction
projects often demand that outside contractors come on site to perform specialist tasks, like
installing wiring or plumbing. These tasks typically only take place over a tiny fraction of the total
build time, which means those working on site can expect to encounter unfamiliar faces every so
often. This provides would-be intruders with a perfect means of slipping on-site undetected.
These dangers are all the more pressing in the case of smaller building sites, which might not have
the necessary resources to take thorough security measures. This means that thieves might target
them rather than incur the risk of attacking a larger site.
Fortunately, even small operators have the means to fight back against would-be intruders. Let’s
examine the problem from the perspective of a smaller site, and see what we can do to guard
Ideally, we’ll want to prevent unauthorised people from coming onsite at all. We might do this by
putting into place barriers that prevent them from doing so. Of course, some construction sites –
especially ones where space is at a premium – might have buildings built right next to the site
perimeter. This might provide would-be intruders with a means of getting over the fence as they use
scaffolding to get over. It’s best, therefore, to avoid placing scaffolding too close to the edge of the
In order to catch intruders in the act, larger sites often employ a combination of CCTV and onsite
security personnel. When the CCTV operators detect a problem, they can get in contact with the
security guards, who will go to the area in question and investigate further. In most cases, this will
be enough to persuade the intruder to turn and run.
Smaller sites, by contrast, might not have this luxury. They instead must rely on CCTV alone. Now,
CCTV can provide a useful service and a worthwhile deterrent (even when the cameras aren’t
actually functional), but the technology is at its most effective when it’s combined with on-the-
ground manpower. With modern security systems like those provided by TAG, even smallest sites
are overseen constantly by always-manned central monitoring stations. This means that any
intrusion can be addressed immediately, and a response team can be dispatched to the site – no
matter how tiny or remote it might be. This affords even small operators with the same protection
that large ones enjoy.
While security cameras might seem an expensive hassle for a smaller site, their installation is
speeded considerably with the help of wireless systems which can be simply wheeled in position and
connected without the help of cables. When the job is done, they can be simply moved to the next
site – thereby negating the cost of installation. For companies who have to deal with many small
builds, this is an ideal way of proceeding.
As well as ensuring that we can see everything that’s going on onsite, we should also be sure that we can control who’s coming and going, and at which times. Electronic access control allows us to do this. We can dispense with the mechanical keys that traditionally provide us with a means of controlling who’s coming and going, and replace them with electronic ones.
Electronic keys have a number of advantages over their antecedents. Firstly, it’s possible to have
many electronic keys fit the same lock. And we can remove the permissions of a given key at any
time – which helps to remove the hassle of having keys re-cut and re-issued with every staff member that joins and leaves. Secondly, an electronic paper trail provides us with a means of seeing, at a glance, which member of staff was present onsite at a given time, which allows us to better investigate security breaches, and assign blame where blame is due.
Smaller sites often have to extract the greatest possible amount of utility from the smallest possible
investment. When it comes to preventing crime before it’s even occurred, one of the most effective
technologies is the floodlight – particularly if it’s motion-sensitive. Thieves who are suddenly caught
in the middle of a beam of blinding white light are likely to reconsider their decision and turn
around, as they must constantly guard against the risk of being caught.
The same sort of deterrent can be created with the simple use of signs, perhaps informing passers-
by that ‘thieves will be prosecuted’ or the ‘CCTV [is] in operation’. This simple measure will cost
relatively little, and produce worthwhile results.
Security measures which can easily be sabotaged or vandalised aren’t going to be as effective as
those which can’t. That’s why CCTV towers are particularly appealing; they contain no exposure
wires to attack, and their internal circuitry is closed off to the outside world, making them difficult
for intruders to vandalise.
Of course, there are other procedural ways to deter crime, such as ensuring that valuable goods are locked away or removed from site. By instilling a culture of vigilance into your workforce, you’ll be able to ensure that they take the treat of theft and vandalism seriously, and thereby protect your site against such threats without resorting to any technological aid.
If you’re the operator of a small construction site, then you might be concerned about security – and
you’d be right to be, as smaller sites are at the greatest risk of being targeted. With some simple
precautions, like those we’ve outlined here, you’ll be able to give your site the greatest possible level of protection at minimal cost.