How to Protect Against Construction Job Site Theft

In the construction industry, job site theft is a serious problem. High-value equipment and materials combined with unsecured locations are tempting to thieves. This is especially true if the job site is in a remote location. The National Equipment Register estimates the cost of equipment theft each year falls between $300 million and $1 billion. And companies that have equipment stolen only recover it around 22 percent of the time, so these losses are usually permanent. In addition to monetary loss, stolen equipment causes your project to come to a screeching halt. You can’t work without your gear, and this sets you behind on your deadlines. So, how do you protect against construction job site theft?

It helps to remember job site theft is a “theft of opportunity.” Thieves look for opportunities that are easy and fast. Make the opportunity less enticing, and you’ll reduce the risk. These five tips will help you protect your job site.

1. Install quality temporary fencing

A barrier between your job site and the rest of the community is your first line of defense. The right temporary fencing creates a barrier that makes it nearly impossible to remove large equipment from the job site. Choose options like barbed wire or a pounded post chain link fence. These deterrents make it harder to move the fencing. When a potential thief sees fencing in place, he already thinks twice about entering the job site and will move on to an easier target.

2. Use lockable construction storage containers

A fence is a first line of defense, but you can do more to make your job site secure. Add lockable, weatherproof construction storage containers for additional security. Insist all tools and valuable materials are stored inside at the end of the day. You can also store large equipment and electronics inside. Doing so protects your equipment and materials from theft and from the elements. Should a thief get across your fence, or a rainstorm hits during your downtime, your most critical items are still safe.

3. Keep it lit

Hiding under the cover of darkness is important to thieves. Keep your space well-lit to deter potential crime. Security lighting that stays on all night is helpful in keeping your space protected, but that can be expensive and not energy efficient. To save on energy, use motion detector lights that only turn on when someone approaches. Also make sure the lighting illuminates the entire job site, or at least any areas where equipment and materials are stored. Eliminate as many shadowy areas as possible, and thieves will go looking for a less-lit target.

4. Set an alarm

Job site theft risk drops significantly when you install an alarm system. If a thief enters your construction job site and hears an alarm, he will run. Alarms also alert those around your job site to the theft, so help can get to the site more quickly. Alarm systems may have flashing lights and other deterrents as well as audio alarms. With most systems, you can set mobile alerts to keep you in the loop when problems happen.

5. Invest in surveillance

Visible surveillance cameras make thieves think twice about entering your job site. They also provide photo and video evidence of any thieves who do steal from you. This increases the chance you will recover your property. It’s not enough to just buy a dummy camera, although that’s an option. Installing a full video surveillance system is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of a major job site theft.

And one bonus tip: If you know your job site is going to house a lot of expensive equipment and materials, consider investing in a security company. Nothing quite beats a human security guard patrolling the area. On-site security prevents theft, and it also helps prevent illegal dumping and other illicit activities on the property.

Securing a job site against theft requires some thought and action, but it’s a job worth doing. ZTERS offers construction fencing and storage container rentals, and we can help you decide on the right products and services to help protect your job site. We’ve been providing construction site services to companies for more than a decade, and we work with thousands of vendors nationwide. Give us a call to find out how we can help.

How do you install a job site storage container?

Have you ever shown up at a job site only to find all the copper has been stripped from your makeshift security shed? If you have, you’re not alone. The FBI has called copper theft a threat to critical U.S. infrastructure. Theft is a serious risk on construction sites. The high value of construction equipment, tools and supplies makes them a prime target for thieves. And the difficulty of properly securing items on an open construction site only adds to the problem. This is where installing a job site storage container can make a world of difference.

The cost of not being secure

It’s hard to calculate an exact cost for these types of thefts—from equipment to time lost—but the estimated annual value of items stolen from construction job sites is between $300 million and $1 billion according to video monitoring company Stealth Monitoring. Around 25 percent of stolen equipment is never recovered. That’s a huge loss to your project in both time and resources.

This is a costly problem, but it has a simple solution. On-site storage containers provide you with a secure and organized place to store equipment and materials. They provide peace of mind at your job site.

You may already be using temporary fencing, and that’s a great first line of defense to boost site security. But it is just one measure. Storage containers provide a weather-proof, durable, and mobile storage solution for your construction site. They can be locked, and they are difficult to break into.

Often, just having a locked metal container is all that’s needed to deter a thief looking for an easy snatch-and-grab job. Stash your copper, tools, and smaller pieces of equipment in a storage containers, securely lock it at the end of the day, and you add a layer of protection to your job site.

Types of construction storage containers

When choosing the right storage container, you have three basic options to choose from. These include:

  • Standard storage containers – Storage containers that can be opened on both sides. They provide weatherproof storage for construction equipment and supplies. You can also install technology like video cameras or WiFi hotspots inside if you are using a computer system on the job site. You can rent sizes from small 10-foot containers up to large 40-foot containers.
  • Office containers – Office containers are small mobile offices inside a storage container. They’ve had doors and windows cut into them, they offer no-frills workspace, and they can be air conditioned.
  • Office storage combination containers – These containers combine office units with storage for one-size-fits-all solution.

Prepare your job site for delivery

Before your construction storage container is delivered, make sure the site is properly prepared to receive it. You will need a flat, fairly level area that is larger than the width and length of the container. There has to be enough room to safely access the storage unit without interfering with the construction itself. And there must be enough room for the doors to swing all the way open on either side.

Keep in mind, the delivery truck will need access to the site. Make sure the delivery driver will have clear access to the site to deliver your storage container. You may need to coordinate with them on the best route to the job site. Are you working in a remote area—or a heavily populated urban area? We specialize in working with you to make sure you and the delivery driver have all the information needed for a smooth delivery.

Consider container blocks

An additional consideration is whether to place the container on blocks. If your job site is not flat, blocks can help keep the storage unit level. Also, if the job site is wet or you expect wet weather while you’re working, blocks can help prevent water seepage and moisture problems.

Though the containers are weatherproof, if they sit on wet ground for too long the dampness can sweat through the flooring and into the container. This causes damage to everything inside. We can help you figure out your options to help prevent this from happening.

Finally, if you place a container on blocks it helps stop animals from digging underneath and nesting below the container. Keep in mind that placing the container on blocks will increase the height of the step into the container. Make sure to have the right sized step and use good quality blocks—make sure they aren’t cracked or misshapen—so they don’t break or rot and send your container crashing to the ground.

Additional site security

Your storage container in and of itself is a great security measure, but you can also add additional security. Some additions to consider include:

  • High-security lockboxes
  • Heavy-duty padlocks
  • Temporary fence rentals to add fencing around the container
  • Alarm system
  • Video cameras
  • Crossbar locks

No matter which security measures you choose, a mobile storage container will help keep your equipment, materials and overall job site secure. And your tools and materials will be much more likely to be there when you return each morning.

ZTERS bundles services like storage containers, temporary fencing, portable toilets and office trailers to make your site management simple. One call. One invoice. Give us a call to get a free quote on storage containers or a full bundle of job site services.

waste advice from ZTERS

Ask Angela: What goes into temporary fencing rental fees?

Angela Phillips is a Senior Account Manager III at ZTERS Site Solutions. She helps customers with some of their most challenging site service issues, and she answers your questions here on our website.

Hi, Angela. I was pricing temporary fencing for a construction project. It seems like fencing rental is priced kind of high, in my opinion. Can’t you just put up a few panels and call it a day? Why is temporary fencing so expensive?

Angela: Thanks for asking this question. A lot of people don’t understand everything that goes into installing temporary fencing. Fencing rentals can be expensive for a number of reasons, including (but not limited to):

  • Labor costs—it takes time to load fencing on a truck, drive to a location, set up, break down, and then, of course, there’s removal and offloading it at the yard.

Depending on the length of fencing, a crew of at least two to six installers, on average, is needed for any site. These installers are paid an hourly wage for drive time and the time it takes to actually install the fencing.

Prevailing wage (or government jobs) in most states are higher than installers would typically make elsewhere. And when installers do these jobs, they have to be paid according to a prevailing wage pay standard.

Most places have a minimum dollar amount, which means the installers get paid a set minimum amount for any job. They receive that set rate even if a project comes in at less than that minimum amount.

Additional fees for fencing often include:

  • Hand carry fee—this is a per-panel cost for sites where the installers have to carry panel fencing more than four to six feet. This usually happens when they can’t get the truck closer to the designated fence line.
  • Damages—this fee can be as small as a few dollars for a missing or broken part, or as large as a few hundred dollars if a fence panel has to be replaced. It depends on the damage done to the fence. Ask your broker or hauler for a list of damage fees when you’re ordering your fencing.

Screening is also an additional cost, and there are situations where screening isn’t recommended. This is another place where it’s useful to ask your broker whether screening is really necessary for your project. Sometimes it adds an extra layer of security. Other times it can be left off.

At ZTERS, we offer a six-month minimum rental. Fencing can be removed at any time, but typically with any temporary fencing the initial rental will be six months. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but it is on a site-by-site basis. We help you calculate how long you’ll need your fencing, and we work to find fencing that fits your budget.

One other note about fencing: military discounts. While we don’t offer a military discount, per se, we do work with local vendors to make sure that temporary fencing for military installments are as convenient and cost effective as possible. We know sometimes these projects can be a big challenge, so if you need temporary fencing for a military project, give us a call and we’ll see what we can do.

I hope that answered your question about the cost of renting temporary fencing. If you ever need help or have more questions, give us a call! We’re glad to help.

What to Know About the Types of Temporary Fence Rentals

Installing a fence is a costly and labor-intensive project, and you don’t need long-term fencing for construction sites or events. Temporary fence rentals give you the option to place fencing temporarily, provide a solid barrier, and protect your site without a permanent fence structure. Not sure what options are available with fencing rentals? Here’s a closer look at when you’ll need temporary fencing and the types you can rent.

When do you need to rent fencing?

On construction sites and at festivals, safety is usually your top concern. And temporary fencing is a critical component to your safety plan. In fact, it is considered so important to the safety of a construction site, that fencing is required under state and federal laws. It also helps minimize your liability, and your insurance costs, if an accident occurs.

Temporary fencing also helps with outdoor events. Rent event fencing to set up parameters for the event to ensure only paid or invited guests participate. It also helps with crowd control. Not only does it keep people in safe areas, but temporary fencing can set apart VIP areas, keep restrooms more secluded, or to protect talent from excited fans.

Will you have alcohol at your event? Local and state ordinances may require you to fence off areas where alcohol is served. Be sure to check regulations and get the proper fencing.

Types of temporary fencing

Temporary fencing comes in several different varieties to meet a range of needs. Before renting temporary fencing, determine your needs and goals for the fencing. Do you just need a visual barrier, or are you looking for more safety and security to keep out intruders? Here are the most common types of temporary fencing to consider:

Fencing panels

Add the benefit of a chain-link fence without the installation hassle by renting fencing panels. The panels resemble chain link fencing and are typically made from durable steel in 10- and 12-foot widths. They come in heights of 4, 6, and 8 feet to accommodate your specific site needs. These fencing panels create a tall barrier that is difficult to pass. And you can add sandbags, privacy screens, and gates to improve the function and durability of the fence while it is set up. This is the most common type of construction temporary fencing.

Barricades

Barricades are lighter weight and shorter than fence panels, which makes them easier to maneuver into place. Plus, they’re made of strong, galvanized steel. Their strength stands up to aggressive crowds when needed, yet they’re relatively lightweight. Barricades are sometimes also called “bike fencing” because you can also use them as temporary bike racks. Temporary barricades are easy to hook together to create the boundary you need. This means you can easily set them up and take them down, even for one-day events. Use them to establish boundaries for races, concerts, and similar events where spectators need to be able to see while still staying away from the action.

Orange fencing

For areas where heavy machinery or other dangerous tools may be in use, temporary orange fencing is a strong plastic mesh that warns people to stay out of the area. Check local ordinances. You may be able to use orange fencing versus fencing panels as a lightweight alternative. If you have a large or complex site, may want to use both. Either way, make sure your crew and others are safely away from construction danger zones.

Need orange fencing as an add-on to your other site services like portable toilets, portable offices and storage containers? We can get that delivered for you.

No matter which temporary fencing you choose, it will improve the safety and security of your construction site or event. Renting temporary fencing instead of buying it allows you to keep your costs down, because you only pay for the fencing you need as you are using it. Call us to schedule fencing for your project, and we can help you decide on the type and amount you’ll need.

How do you choose the right roll-off dumpster?

Construction projects of all sizes have one thing in common – you’re going to need a roll-off dumpster. Dumpsters are one of the first services you schedule when you establish a construction site. They come in several sizes, and the right one will depend on your project size, budget, and what you’ll be hauling away.

Roll-off vs. front load

If you’re new to the world of dumpster rentals, you might not know the difference between a roll-off dumpster and a front-load dumpster.

What’s an easy way to tell the difference? Roll-offs have an open top and are loaded on a truck (think “rolling off” a truck), while front-load dumpsters are the covered trash bins typically found behind restaurants, strip malls and apartment complexes. They’re called “front load” because a truck lifts them from the front of a garbage truck to dump the contents inside.

A roll-off is the way to go for clean-outs, renovations and any size construction site. With its open top and multiple size options, debris can easily be managed. Regular pick-ups also make it easy to haul off demolition and construction debris over longer periods of time.

Roll-off dumpster sizes

Roll-off dumpsters come in standard sizes, including 10-yard, 20-yard, 30-yard and 40-yard options. Not sure which size is right for your project? We put together an illustrated guide.

In a nutshell, a 10-yard dumpster holds the equivalent of about three pickup truck loads. Multiply those numbers to estimate the storage space of each size dumpster.

For small renovation projects, a 10-yard rental is enough space to haul off small amounts of piping, reflooring and renovation debris. It’s also a good size for disposing of concrete, dirt and other heavy materials because the sides are short enough to prevent overweight penalties.

On the other end of the spectrum, a 40-yard dumpster is the largest dumpster available and holds up to six tons of weight. It’s a good size for large construction sites. Before you book a dumpster this size, make sure you have enough site space and clearance for a truck to safely drop off and load a full dumpster.

National roll-off pricing

Dumpster prices vary widely across the country. And budget is a key consideration when choosing a roll-off. Areas with a lot of roll-offs available typically have lower prices. High-growth areas may be more likely to have high demand and high cost. Partnering with a reputable broker can usually help you find the best value and service options for your project.

Availability isn’t the only factor. There are also areas with higher waste fees and other pricing considerations. Again, this is where it helps to work with someone who knows the market.

When you see a rental quote with “flat pricing,” make sure you ask what fees are included. You might think you’re getting a great deal, only to find out there were hundreds of dollars in “extra” fees tacked on the final bill. What kind of fees? Weight limit fees, time limit fees, or fees for certain types of debris (usually heavy construction items), just to name a few.

By the same token, don’t think you can bypass paying for weight overages or other required fees. Pay close attention to what’s included in your rental contract. Overloading your dumpster or trying to throw out tires, batteries or hazardous materials will no doubt raise your bill. Have questions about what’s included in a “flat” quote? Find out before you rent.

Extra considerations

Before you book your roll-off dumpster rental, it pays to keep a few last things in mind. First, most areas have restrictions on dumping things like yard waste, flammable materials, and it’s almost universally true that you can’t dump mattresses without incurring extra fees.

Check with your rental company or broker before you commit. Otherwise, you could end up with unexpected fees.

Next, check on any local permits and parking regulations at your site. The last thing you want is a bill from the city because you don’t have the right permit for your dumpster. This is especially true if you might block a public access way.

Finally, make sure you set a pick-up date that gives you enough time to complete the job. When you don’t plan your timeline, you either end up with a dumpster sitting on your site too long or you pay additional fees for having to extend your time.

When planning a construction job, you’ll coordinate more than just your dumpsters. Site services like portable toilets, temporary fencing and even portable storage units and office trailers can all make your site run more efficiently.

Many site managers struggle with multiple vendors for each service. At ZTERS, we can bundle your site services and coordinate delivery and servicing of more than just your dumpsters. Give us a call and talk with one of our dedicated account managers to get a free quote on roll-offs and more.

temporary fencing

Is temporary fencing right for your project?

Purchasing and storing fencing for construction sites and events can be costly. It also requires transport and storage logistics. For many construction companies and event managers, the project won’t have a line item in the budget for purchasing new fencing outright, and permanent fencing is almost never practical. That’s why so many companies turn to renting temporary fencing solutions.

Benefits of temporary fencing

Businesses and government organizations use temporary fencing as a reliable and cost-effective means for creating a short-term secured area. Whether you’re securing equipment and supplies, or you need crowd control measures, temporary fencing provides an easy solution. Many project managers rent temporary fencing for:

  • Long- and short-term construction sites
  • Demolition sites
  • Outdoor music and sporting events
  • Municipal events like fireworks displays and city celebrations
  • School events
  • Conventions
  • Weddings
  • Outdoor markets
  • Disaster relief efforts
  • Work Zones

Types of temporary fencing

There are many kinds of temporary fencing to choose from, including chain-link fencing and free-standing fence panels. Chain-link fencing can be locked and provides a longer-term solution for construction projects. Temporary fencing also has a wide variety of accessories, including privacy screens, and vehicle access gates. To improve stability, wind braces and sandbags are available to keep fencing in place. Reflective delineators can be added to improve safety.

If you’re unsure whether to purchase and store fencing your own fencing or to rent a portable fence, here are five questions to consider when making your decision.

What’s your budget?

If you have the money available in your budget, and you can store and transport fencing from site to site, then buying your temporary fencing may be a wise investment. These fences can be broken down, put in storage, and taken to the next project whenever needed. In most cases, budgets are tight and the added expense of not only buying temporary fencing but also storing and transporting it, adds to the bottom line. To see an overall profit in the company, managers have to watch potential ongoing costs like storage and replacement fees when you own your temporary fencing. Renting it instead may help keep your company in the black.

How much fencing do you require?

If your event only requires a few panels, and you know you’ll reuse it and you have a place to store it inexpensively, you may be able to purchase temporary fencing without breaking the budget. However, if you need thousands of feet of fencing, renting is probably your best option. Evaluate your site and consider what areas need to be secured. Equipment, open work areas, private sections, and mobile offices should be included in the protected regions with temporary fencing. It’s often not economically feasible to buy, store, and transport that much fencing on your own. Temporary rentals are the way to go.

How long will you need the fencing?

For events or construction projects that last six months or fewer, renting temporary fencing will likely save money. If the project is going to last longer than that, you may or may not save money by purchasing temporary fencing outright. However, you’ll be responsible for removing all the fencing when the project is finished. You’ll also have to figure out what to do with it when you no longer need it. For your specific project, compare the cost of renting temporary fencing vs. buying a fence to make the best decision.

Will you need to use it again?

Temporary fences are made of high-quality materials and are built to last. You could purchase temporary fencing if you know you’ll need it regularly. On the other hand, temporary fences can be set up, delivered, broken down, and picked up by a professional fencing company quickly and easily. If you have a standing event, you can schedule regular deliveries and pickups in advance, so you don’t have to worry about it every time. For one-off events like an event or a short-term construction or demolition project, renting temporary fencing makes the most sense, and you can order all kinds of fencing in advance.

What about quality?

Do some research. You may see low fencing prices on the internet but remember the adage: buyer beware. Cheap temporary fencing may not be very high quality, especially when it comes to plastic fencing. Flimsy, poorly constructed panels can lead to ineffective fencing. Worst-case scenario, it could blow away! To prevent this, rent from a reputable company that will ensure you get the quality fencing you need. When you order, ask the representative what types of fencing products they deliver. Ask them if they recommend accessories like sandbags for the kind of fencing you’re requesting. And if something happens with the fencing after it’s delivered, find out the company’s policy on damage and replacement. If something goes wrong, make sure they’re willing to have a new fence delivered as soon as possible.

Temporary fencing from ZTERS

ZTERS is your partner in construction and outdoor events. In addition to quality temporary fencing rentals, we also provide commercial dumpsters, portable toilets, and storage container rentals. Give us a call to speak with one of our account managers about all the ways we can make your project easier.

storage container

Five reasons your construction project needs a storage container

Where do you find storage space for all the supplies, equipment and tools required for your project? If you’re like many construction companies, you probably rent space at a storage facility, ask subcontractors to store things (and hope you see everything again), or build a temporary shed and cross your fingers no one cuts the lock. Each of these solutions comes with a set of dangers that will cost you time and money should you have to replace anything. There is another option, though — onsite storage container rentals.

Here are five reasons why even small and mid-sized construction companies benefit from renting onsite storage containers for their construction projects:

Storage almost anywhere

Very few locations are off limits for today’s shipping and storage containers. They’re specifically designed to be transported on a standard flatbed trailer truck, and they can be shipped just about anywhere you need them. Use temporary storage containers anywhere from a downtown construction site to a country home renovation. No oversize or overweight permits are required. And once they’re filled, they can be picked up and delivered to any destination you choose. Same-day pickup service is also often available.

Containers are cost effective

When you require extra storage space, an off-site unit in a storage facility may end up costing you more money than renting a storage container. In most cases it costs less per square foot to rent an onsite storage container rather than an external site or to build a temporary shed. Also, storage containers are conveniently delivered to your site. Store all your essential documents, supplies, tools, and equipment on the site and save significant money in transport costs. You also save travel time because crew members aren’t scrambling to pick up or drop off equipment and materials.

Inventory stays secure

Weather and vandalism are two major concerns for construction companies. Most items lost due to storm damage or theft are covered by insurance, but it takes time to replace them. That can be a project killer if you have a tight deadline. Storage containers help prevent this costly loss. They’re built to last, so they keep equipment and materials as secure as an offsite storage unit. They’re also water resistant, pest resistant and able to withstand strong winds. And their windowless metal exteriors and double lock doors serve as a theft deterrent.

No assembly required

The time and cost of building an onsite storage shed quickly adds up. You can’t store materials until the structure is complete, which could take days. This adds time to your project, and it may take resources away from the project itself. These structures are also often made of wood and more susceptible to damage from vandalism and weather. In some cases, the damage from a storm or destruction may be so extensive you’ll have to build a new shed. Temporary storage containers bypass these problems. There are no construction costs, and the container is delivered to your site ready for immediate use.

Onsite convenience

Documents, supplies, equipment, and unused inventory can all be securely stored inside a storage container. There are no restrictions to what you can keep inside or when you can access the contents. This makes temporary storage containers an ideal solution no matter what type of construction project you’re managing. The contents are always available. There are no offsite storage hours to be aware of, and no rushing to pack up before an offsite storage unit closes. Also, the storage container can be transported. Use them in more than one location. After you wrap up one job, you can move a container and its contents to a new site.

ZTERS provides effective construction site solutions

ZTERS provides portable and secure storage container rentals, along with a wide range of other construction site solutions, including portable office trailers, temporary fencing, and portable toilets. Contact ZTERS today to learn how we can coordinate rental equipment for your project.

waste management for contractors

Waste Management for Contractors: Avoiding the Transfer Station

As working contractors, we know that your time is valuable. That’s why ZTERS offers a variety of convenient products and services to help your job site run smoothly and effectively. A complete waste management plan shaves off enormous planning time and trips to the transfer station.

When you hire ZTERS to collect, transport, treat and dispose of your waste, you save time not only in the short-term scope of the project but in the long-term as well. How? When we provide waste management for contractors, we ensure you are in compliance with the garbage collection codes in your area. Our services are completely integrated, meaning that you never have to take time out of your workday to handle any complaints, schedule pickups, or pay any fees for not disposing of waste properly.

Here’s some advice for setting up a solid waste disposal plan that saves you and your crew precious time and money:

  • Create a budget. Think about how many times you drive to the transfer station to dispose of waste from your job site, and how that translates into expenses for your business. Account for your employee’s time in loading and unloading, their time in traffic, the wear and tear on your company vehicles, and how frequently you make these trips.
  • Look at rates for scheduled pickups or regular services. Garbage collection companies like ZTERS can set you up with a flexible plan that conforms to the frequency of trash disposal at your construction site. These services are often quite affordable when you consider the hidden costs of taking on garbage collection yourself.
  • Inquire about sustainability services and recycling. Simply put, creating less waste in the first place translates to a cheaper waste management bill. Most construction and demolition waste currently generated in the US is destined for landfills, whereas recyclables usually cost nothing to dispose of. In addition to being a wise economic decision for you, using green solutions to waste disposal is often attractive to prospective clients.

You are now armed with the tools to save money at your next project! Don’t forget that ZTERS is available to help provide commercial dumpsters suitable for jobs at any scale, as well as regular pickup service. Contact us today to learn more.