A new report has suggested that the construction industry could make better use of security systems.
Insurer Allianz Cornhill has released a report that shows more than £70 million worth of construction equipment, including excavators, compressors and even cranes, has been stolen from sites in the last 12 months alone.
The government had already tried to encourage building firms to make use of newer and more sophisticated security features and technology and construction firms may now start to take note, as the report goes on to highlight that the initial figure is in fact dwarfed by the losses incurred as a result of the crimes.
Allianz Cornhill believes the industry is losing over £800 million a year when expenses such as plant replacement costs, hire of replacement equipment, loss of business and increased insurance premiums are taken into account.
Newer security features such as access control and IP CCTV cameras may be needed as the insurer discovered that professional thieves now employ more sophisticated criminal techniques than simply breaking and entering. Often criminals pose as plant manufacturers or maintenance workers in order to remove vehicles from site.
The thieves are aware that the construction industry is an easy target, as high-value goods can be subject to lax security due to the nature of the work. Tight deadlines and the fact that ease of use is of primary importance often result in many vehicles being left on site and the problems are compounded by the common practice on building sites of leaving keys somewhere in or near the equipment.
Alan Harris, Allianz Cornhill's engineering director, said: "The UK construction industry can ill afford to continue to lose equipment to theft at this rate. We knew the problem was bad but had not realised the massive economic impact this must have on the industry. As the commercial and residential property markets slow and the construction industry sees increasing pressure on profits, it cannot sit back and let more and more equipment be snatched from under its nose."
He added that investments in security will be money well spent for construction firms.