Hassle Free and Cost Effective Construction Site Security
This is a guest post by Gary Frith, an expert on construction site security from RSI Video Technologies. The views & opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SECOM Plc as a whole.
Poorly protected construction sites present a potential treasure trove for low level opportunistic thieves as well as organised gangs. Typical low level thefts include fuel, construction materials, and tools, and there is also the danger of arson, vandalism, and other site abuse from intruders. More organised thefts include construction plant & equipment, and building fittings, e.g. copper boilers, new school equipment, etc.
Site Security Essentials
The first step in any site security should be the erection of an effective site perimeter with boundary fencing of ideally 2.5 to 3 metres. Site access should also be carefully controlled, with only authorised vehicles and staff allowed on site. For larger or high value sites the use of turnstiles or access control technology should be considered.
It is also essential to have sufficient lighting on site, particularly around gates and other entrances. Lighting should be sufficiently robust to be able to contend with different weather conditions, vandalism, and tampering.
All tools, equipment, and fuels should be locked away at night, ideally in steel vaults or containers. Site offices and buildings should also be well secured and steel huts offer the best resistance to theft or arson.
Larger sites may also require one or more dedicated manned guards to provide a night time or 24 hour presence. There are also guard tour systems available to ensure that guards are making their regular rounds.
From a security system perspective there are a number of options available depending on site size and availability of services such as mains power and broadband. If power is available perimeter protection can be undertaken using technology such as beams, with an alarm being activated when the beam is crossed.
From a CCTV perspective there are a number of options available, from large trailer towers with a 360 degree PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) camera mounted on the top of a pole, to the placement of CCTV cameras around the site. Standard CCTV cameras will, however, require power and cabling.
Videofied Security Systems
In recent times a new construction site security system called Videofied has gained popularity. Videofied is a wireless alarm system with integrated video verification. When one of the PIRs (Passive Infrared Sensors) activates, the on-board camera takes a 10 second video clip that is wirelessly sent back to a control panel. The alarm and video clip are then instantly sent back to a monitoring station over the GPRS network. The operator can view the video clip to identify if there is a genuine crime in progress or whether the PIR has been activated by animal movement, flapping plastic, etc. This avoids costly and time consuming false alarms.
From a site manager perspective Videofied has the advantage that there is no power requirement (all devices including the control panel have a battery life of 2 years plus), and there is no requirement for any cabling. The wireless PIR cameras can also be moved around the site as it develops over time. Videofied is also a cost effective solution when compared to conventional CCTV or manned guarding.
Whatever security system is used it is well known that construction site theft can sometimes takes place with “insider” involvement and it is recommended that security equipment is briefly checked at the end of each day to ensure that nothing has been tampered with. By taking a conscientious approach to the set up and day to day management of your security system, it is possible to minimise the threats facing your construction site.