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Protect Your Project: Site Security Checklist

Cynthia Cline
October 6, 2023

In the constantly shifting landscape of security to protect construction sites, having a detailed, comprehensive plan of attack and consistent follow-through are crucial to maintaining the site's safety and security.

The plan must cover several areas to be effective, and the good results will speak for themselves. The following steps explain why you need a master plan for your construction site security and the essential policies and procedures it should contain.

Craft a Master Security Policy

One of the most important ways to secure your construction site is to lay out a master security policy while the job is still in the pre-construction phase. Tailor your plan to the area, factoring in local crime rates, the need to keep high-value equipment on site and other considerations. Any project details that create additional risk, such as local controversy surrounding the project, warrant greater security than you might need on a standard construction site.

The plan should detail the project's beginning and end dates, contact details for the site security manager, and a list of project personnel with approved access to the site. It should also list the layers of security protection, such as fencing, lighting and camera surveillance, that will be used to secure the site.

Post the list in a prominent place at the worksite and establish ongoing communication with local law enforcement. Provide a number to call regarding suspicious activity and encourage them to patrol the site at night.

Add Perimeter Protection

To keep equipment and materials safe on the project site, create a secure perimeter by installing sturdy fences and gates. Use windscreen fabric on the fencing to keep construction dust and debris from getting out of the worksite and keep curious eyes and potential troublemakers from looking inside or entering the work area.

Have a regularly scheduled inspection on your construction site security checklist that entails checking fences, lights, locks, and safety equipment. Stay alert for any signs of tampering, wear and tear or damage. Address any of these issues promptly to maintain the integrity of your site's safety perimeter and protection.

Use Surveillance Systems

Consider installing security cameras to monitor the construction project site. You can use remote monitoring to check on the site 24/7 and identify any unusual or unauthorized activity.

Post warning signs in strategic locations to alert visitors and curious passersby to the presence of surveillance cameras and security officers. Signs can also state the penalties for theft or vandalism as a reminder for troublemakers who might attempt to access the site because they're looking for something to do.

Local teens may decide to break into the construction site and enter unfinished buildings, walking into unsafe areas such as an incomplete, dangerous balcony or open landing. They can also tamper with heavy equipment and do other behaviors that might not be malicious but can result in damage, injury or worse. Onsite accidents and lawsuits are another crucial type of loss that can happen on an improperly secured construction site.

Hire Security Officers

Depending on the area and characteristics of your project, you can hire a licensed and insured construction security firm to provide onsite security personnel. Having security officers on the construction site is a highly effective way to deter theft and vandalism. They can add an extra layer of 24-hour and physical protection at night, on weekends and on holidays.

As part of your construction site security checklist, schedule security officers to patrol the site regularly, note suspicious activity and report any suspicious events. They can also maintain visitor logs and have visitors and vendors sign in and out so you will always know who is onsite.

Install Security Lighting

Keeping the construction site well-lit increases its safety. Criminals and vandals are much less likely to trespass on a site where they can be easily seen. Bright, energy-efficient lighting also provides more safety onsite for workers and other authorized personnel. Install enough lighting to illuminate the entire construction site, even after dark.

Control Access

Control access to tools and equipment by locking them in sheds and storage containers when not in use. Invest in high-quality locks to deter break-ins and theft. Limit personnel access to the worksite by issuing keys or access codes only to authorized personnel. Maintain an access log to track who comes and goes from the site.

During the project, you may have many other people besides employees accessing the work site. It is crucial to thoroughly check out all employee hires, contractors and suppliers who will spend time on the work site. Check out architects, builders, outside security and cleaning crews to ensure reputable, honest workers. Check references and identification, and keep information such as names, date of birth and other features on file to identify personnel.

Manage Security Incidents

As part of your security protocols, require workers to report any theft or vandalism incidents immediately. At the beginning of the project and for any new hires, clearly state the procedures for incident reporting and who they need to contact. Consider using a standardized incident reporting form to ensure that workers include all of the relevant information. Site supervisors can create a form for their needs or find an incident report template online and tailor it to meet their project or site's needs. Have personnel file separate incident reports for missing items that reduce inventory versus vandalism damage.

Maintain a repository of all security incidents from workers and officers because it can be helpful in investigations. Keeping thorough records can establish a database of information to spot suspicious patterns.

Keep an Inventory of Valuable Equipment and Tools

Another critical component of a construction site security checklist and one of the best ways to spot thefts is to maintain an inventory of equipment, tools and materials. Implement a centralized system to identify and track tools and equipment so you can always locate missing items. Mark tools and equipment with engraved inventory numbers in multiple places, making it difficult for thieves to sand or shave off the identifying marks.

Mark tools in hidden spots as well to make identification easier. Your inventory list should include serial numbers and photographs of all expense equipment and tools. For larger pieces of equipment, you can add GPS tracking devices and register the equipment with third-party tracking programs to increase the chances of recovery if stolen.

Set up a checkout system so that people using tools and equipment sign the pieces out and back in when finished using them. This process helps everyone understand they have personal responsibility for the item while they have it signed out.

Construction Site Security

Assembling a list of protocols for security on a construction site can keep workers safe, help expensive tools and equipment stay put, and protect the project's bottom line. Reputable outside vendors, such as deck coating companies, can provide vetted professionals for your project so you know you're getting high-quality work while keeping the construction site secure. Construction sites present many security challenges, but with a well-thought-out plan, you can minimize theft, vandalism, project delays and potential liability issues.