Construction site theft prevention

Delays in North Carolina construction projects can frustrate contractors, developers, property owners and other project stakeholders. Reasons for delays are nearly infinite, but the most common causes include bad weather, budget shortfalls, design changes and scheduling conflicts between the contractor and subcontractors.

If you’re a contractor or subcontractor, you know that another common cause of construction project delays is theft of construction equipment and materials. The types of valuable equipment stolen includes bulldozers, generators, wheel loaders, light towers, excavators, backhoes and skid steers.

The National Equipment Register estimates that up to $1 billion worth of construction equipment is stolen each year – a figure that doesn’t include stolen tools and building materials (lumber, copper, etc.).

Thieves’ impact

Thefts impact builders in many ways: scheduling delays, replacement equipment rental fees and insurance premium hikes. In some cases, a firm’s insurance coverage doesn’t include full replacement costs, which can extend problems with scheduling and equipment rentals. If the equipment was uninsured, there’ll be the expense of its replacement.

Note: A construction industry publication listed North Carolina in ninth place among the states with the most construction site equipment thefts.

Preventing theft

What can you, as a contractor or subcontractor, do to prevent equipment theft? Experts recommend several steps, including the following:

  • Hire security guards
  • Keep all equipment in fenced and locked, well-lit areas
  • Install security cameras
  • Install immobilization devices
  • Use cab locks
  • Lock tools in cargo trailers secured with tamper-resistant locks, chains

Experts say heavy equipment can be secured by battery and/or wheel removal or lowered blades and buckets. More sophisticated security measures include the installation of GPS tracking devices, geofencing, fuel and ignition cut-offs and alarms.

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