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.