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5 Tips for Construction Site Security

You will not hear about construction site thefts on the local news.  They have become too common place to be news.   Construction jobsite theft losses are more than just the costs of losing expensive equipment and materials. Contractors have to pay to replace or rent equipment to finish the job. There’s also the cost of downtime and project overruns if the missing equipment and materials delay a project. Plus, insurance premiums may increase.

1. Analyze Your Job Site’s Security Needs

In an ideal world, planning for job site security happens long before the job starts. Pre-job site analysis for theft and vandalism risks helps you minimize the chance that your site will be a target.
Is the job controversial?
Controversy could require increased security, and budgeting for it now could save you a bundle down the road.

Is there a history of crime in the area?
Talking to neighbors and police about crime in the area gives you more insight into how many layers of security you’ll need. Maybe a fence will be enough. Maybe you’ll need a fence and live monitoring.

Visit the site at night
A quick visit to the site one night after dark can speak volumes about potential vulnerabilities that you’d never see in the day time.

Identify site safety zones based on visibility from the road
While on that night visit you can work to identifying “safety zones” that are highly visible from the road.

2. Check Your Construction Site Security Lighting

Lighting reduces construction site crime because it not only discourages prowlers but offers any neighbors or passers by and your monitoring service to see any suspicious activity.

Bright White Light is Best
Bright white light provides good color differentiation making people easier to identify and license plates easier to read. Bright white lights are also more expensive to keep lit. The difference in visibility is worth the money though. As a general rule of thumb observers should be able to easily identify a face at 30 feet.

Protect Your Power Source
Thieves can and will cut power lines. Ideally, power lines stay at a height of 24 feet or higher.

While you could have your lights running all night at the construction site, lights with motion sensors can be an even better way to increase construction site safety and security late at night when no one is on the jobsite. You’ll save money by not having to have the lights on all night, which can make a big difference, especially if you are using the recommended bright white light, and the sudden switching on of the lights when an intruder approaches will often scare that intruder to think there is someone on the property and they have been spotted.

A great idea is to combine motion sensor lights with surveillance cameras around all the entrances to your site as part of your construction site security plan. Make sure you cover any spot where thieves or vandals could potentially enter the site easily without having to climb or cut open a fence. This setup can provide you with round-the-clock security for your construction site.

As soon as a potential intruder comes close enough to your site to be a potential threat to your operation, the lights will come on and they will be captured on the surveillance cameras, so you can take action if they do not leave the premises immediately. Most of the time, you can deter construction site vandalism this way, as potential vandals are likely to seek out an easier target.

3. Create a Pre-Job Checklist That Improves Your Job Site Security

Keeping your job site secure starts long before you install your fence and other security measures. This checklist will help you reduce job site loss for your next project and give you an increased peace of mind.

Determine who will be held accountable for job loss on your site
Identify who will be responsible for security on your site

Create and implement your loss reduction plan
This includes stuff like an inventory management system, badges, and uniforms for all employees and a mandatory sign-in form when anyone steps foot on your job site.

Gather contacts – police, fire, and neighbors
Dig out the phone book or search online to find the numbers of the local police and fire departments, as well as the local neighborhood association if there is one. You’re going to want good working relationships with these folks for the duration of your project so it’s a good idea to make contact early and ask if there are any special security precautions you should make. Be sure to drop off your business card with any and all folks you visit with.

4. Create Security Questions for Your Daytime Construction Site

Daytime security is an often-overlooked aspect of construction security. To keep unauthorized “visitors” off your site some security experts recommend that everyone be required to wear a standard uniform. Have your foreman trained to use a series of questions.

So instead of “Do you work here?” Train your crew to ask a series of questions along these lines:

1) “Who do you work for here?
2) “What do you do for that sub contractor?”
3) “When did you and your sub come on the site?”

5. Your Security Fence!

Your temporary chain link fence can and should be your first line of defense in your construction site security program. Not only does it aid in keeping your tools and materials in, but it keeps potential lawsuits from curious trespassers out. Of course, it’s important to remember that, “a fence system will only delay or reduce intrusion.”

How high is your fence?
The higher the fence the harder it is to climb. Further, high fences can serve as a psychological deterrent. Temporary fencing typically comes in 6 and 8 foot heights. You’re more secure going with the 8 foot heights in most situations, if only because it’s better deterrent for the “impulse” vandals and trespassers.

How big is the mesh on your fence?
The smaller the mesh the harder it is to climb or cut. 2 inch mesh is common on temporary security fencing but you’d be better with 1 inch mesh or even 3/8″ if available.

How wide is your clear zone?
Have you cleared brush, trash and storage away from the fence? Ideally you’ve got at least 5 clear feet on both sides of the fence to aid outside observers and reduce the ability to break through the fence undetected or even climb over by standing on debris.

How many gates in your fence?
The more gates you have the easier your perimeter is to breach. Minimize the number of gates through the perimeter if possible.


Follow these tips for a more secure construction site.  For more detailed information about construction site security see Jeremy White ‘s article.  If you want more help with your construction site security, contact us and let us use our experience and security tools to make your site more secure.