How to keep your construction site secure over Christmas

Winter brings plenty of challenges for the construction industry – from reduced daylight hours to plummeting temperatures. It is no wonder we look forward to a well-deserved break over the Christmas period.

With many sites closing for up to two-weeks, keeping your construction site secure will be at the forefront of many Site Managers minds. The last thing anyone wants to hear during their time off is that a site has been broken into, vandalised and valuable tools and equipment stolen.

“It is estimated that the construction industry suffers a loss of more than £400 million a year due to vandalism and theft”  CIOB

On-site theft within the construction industry is nothing new and unfortunately, thefts from both opportunistic thieves and highly organised criminal gangs are on the rise. Indeed, during the first covid-19 lockdown of 2020, The CEA (Construction Equipment Association) noted that here was with a 50% increase in construction site thefts

Of course, it is not just thefts that are a concern. Unauthorised access to a site presents several very real dangers, not just theft and vandalism but a potential threat to life.

It is up to Site Managers to ensure their construction site is both safe and secure through familiarising themselves with the relevant regulations such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 (CDM Regulations).

So, what practical steps could you take to secure your site and protect your tools and equipment over the festive period?

Plan ahead – create a checklist

It may sound obvious, but planning for all eventualities will save time, reduce stress, and give you the chance to relax over the Christmas break.

Think about what steps you may need to implement to prevent unwelcome access and ensure your site is both safe and secure. Creating a simple checklist is a good way make sure you have everything covered in order to keep your construction site secure. For example, you may want to consider the following questions

What are you planning on removing from the site and what are you intending to keep on-site?
How do you intend to store the materials and equipment you are planning to leave on site?
Are you able to limit the number of excess supplies you have on site? What deliveries does it make sense to delay until your site re-opens?
Are you off-hiring any tools – when is the last date you can off-hire?
Have all the hazardous and waste materials been removed or safely stored?
Has your hoarding and external perimeter fencing been recently checked?
Have any excavations been secured with barriers, or safely covered off?
Have you made all your site workers aware of how they can play a key part in helping keep tools and equipment safe?
What security monitoring will you have in place – CCTV, Drones, or security patrols?
Who will be the site contact in case of any emergencies?

Implement all-round site security

As Site Manager, it is your duty to ensure you are doing everything possible to prevent access to your site. Making your construction site secure and safe is paramount.
For example;

Is your hoarding strong and secure – does it meet the required regulations.
Have you walked around the perimeter fencing and checked there is no damage or any potential weaknesses?
Are access gates kept to a minimum? All gates should be strong with robust locking mechanisms such as padlocking. Avoid chains which can easily be cut.
Highly visible alarms and security systems should be in place alongside prominent warning signs. And, if you have manned guarding make sure people are aware that security guards are regularly patrolling the area.
Ensure any access equipment like ladders have been removed so that they cannot be used to reach raised platforms or scaffolding – which is often used by intruders to additional access.
Keep your site well-lit whilst it is closed. Thieves are more likely to avoid a site where there is a higher risk of being seen or identified on CCTV.
Materials, equipment, and tools should not be visible from the perimeter fence – keep things out of view and where possible securely locked away – for example in tool chests and secure in containers.

Taking some time now to think about how you can best protect your site will help you relax over Christmas period safe in the knowledge you have done all you can to minimise the risk of unauthorised entry and break-ins.

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