Security Blog

The Essential Guide to Construction Site Security

Sep 27, 2021 2:14:59 PM / by Titan Team


Construction sites are like living, breathing organisms, evolving and literally changing the landscape over the course of a project. During construction, multiple contractors are constantly entering and exiting the site, various raw materials and supplies are delivered, generators, large tools, and earth-moving machines are left outside overnight, and visibility to key areas becomes obstructed as walls rise. When it comes to security, these things and more combine to present unique challenges to construction firms.

Some construction projects begin with a perimeter fence and add security to a site only after a theft has occurred. The cost of doing nothing is the price of replacing stolen assets and resulting delays in construction – most often greater than the cost of implementing a security plan at the outset.

Best to get ahead of the bad guys and put that money towards protection rather than replacement. Titan is a security firm with deep experience in protecting active construction sites.

Here are some of the most frequent issues clients raise with us, and our advice, regarding construction site security:



1) Construction Site Security Cameras

Use live security monitoring - not just recording - to deter theft

Do not confuse recording with monitoring. Security cameras that simply record footage are great for capturing evidence of theft but do nothing to deter it. Smart cameras connected to a live monitoring system not only record suspicious activity, but they also use motion sensor technology to alert trained operators who can take appropriate action in real-time. Voice warnings, lights, and audio alarms let a trespasser know that they have been spotted and that police or patrol services are on the way.

Further Reading: How a Remote Video Monitoring System Proactively Protects Your Construction Site

Live security camera monitoring offers key advantages over on-site security officers

First, it’s much less expensive to remotely monitor a construction site with strategically placed cameras versus the cost of physically patrolling the premises, especially large sites where multiple guards would be needed. Second, the cameras are all-seeing, never sleep, and are motion-activated, whereas a guard’s vision is limited to direct line of sight and whose alertness may impacted by long, mundane overnight shifts. (Often, a blended approach with patrol services or onsite security officers works best).

Live security camera monitoring helps business lower costs

In addition to reducing loss from the theft of equipment and supplies, construction sites with live security camera monitoring qualify for insurance premium discounts, putting dollars back in construction firms’ pockets. More than a theft deterrent, live remote monitoring services are endorsed by insurance companies as they can also provide early warning to respond to catastrophic events such as a fire or flood, which can result in widespread damage to the project and much larger claims than the theft of a generator or a bobcat, for example.

Further Reading: Five Cost Saving Advantages of Mobile Surveillance Trailer

Considerations for proper construction site security camera equipment

When ground is first broken there may be no services available; utilities have yet to bring electricity, water, and communications to the job site. That means any surveillance technology will have to be independently powered and connected to the internet to enable live remote monitoring. Consider options such as solar or battery-powered equipment and wireless networking with routers and hard-wired repeaters placed at optimal intervals so signals can reach the monitoring station with sufficient strength until utilities come online.

Considerations for proper construction site security camera positioning

Strategically position cameras to provide site coverage using the fewest number of units possible (less equipment to purchase and install, fewer cameras to monitor). At the end of each day, cluster construction equipment together so that all assets are within field of view of one or two cameras rather than spread across the property. Cameras should be positioned high enough so that visibility to key areas is maintained and the units cannot be damaged or stolen. Consider portable mounting methods so cameras can be moved to new locations as construction progresses and views become obstructed. Advanced planning around construction milestones is critical.

Further Reading: Is a Mobile Camera Monitoring System Right for Your Business

Protect assets, not areas

A perimeter fence is just that – on the perimeter. Storing equipment and materials near the edge invites opportunities for thieves to cut a hole in the fence for a quick grab-and-go. Place assets close to the center of the site to create a buffer between them and the fence line. Train the cameras on the assets, not empty spaces, keeping surrounding areas clear of obstructions so any suspicious activity or approaching individuals can be easily spotted.

CCTV can be more costly, less responsive than Live Remote Monitoring

Closed-circuit TV may be sufficient for passively viewing and recording activity at key building egress points, capturing video evidence of a break-in, or reviewing footage of a personal injury accident on the site, but CCTV is mostly a tool for local security applications, not crime prevention. Most CCTV systems are hardwired into the building and are watched by on-site private security guards. They cannot connect to remote monitoring systems or alert external authorities. That means paying for both technology and live guarding services 24/7.



2) Construction Site Security Systems

Approach construction site security proactively

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Construction firms report jobsite theft is on the rise. Don’t wait until after a theft has occurred to invest in security assets. Assume criminal activity will be attempted at your site and implement a security plan ahead of time. Don't get caught trying to recover from delays and expenses caused by preventable actions – it’s easy with a little forethought.

Gauge the effectiveness of the overall security system

Is the construction site and its contents adequately protected given the security assets in use at the moment? Do you know if all the equipment is working properly? Is the goal of the system to passively monitor the site and simply record video evidence in event of theft, or to actively deter criminal activity? What is the total monthly security expenditure, and is the business receiving maximum value for its security dollar? Can live remote monitoring complement or substitute for live guarding services to reduce costs? Are mechanisms in place to escalate response such as voice-down technology, lights, audio alarms, or a link to alert external authorities? The answers to these questions will help determine if your security system is aligned with site needs.

Incremental value of Live Remote Monitoring Systems

Another advantage of live remote monitoring systems is the ability to leverage the same technology used for site protection and surveillance as a project management tool. Project managers can dial into a construction site remotely to check on supply deliveries, contractor productivity, even the weather, in real time without physically going to the site. CCTV systems will not support access from outside the closed network.

Creating an event-proof construction site security system

Geography and environment greatly impact security considerations. The needs of an urban high rise construction project are very different from a sprawling rural site. Where and when equipment and supplies are delivered and stored, managing vendor and contractor access, how the site is patrolled after hours, and optimal camera placement vary from project to project. Titan can help evaluate the unique security requirements of any construction site and build an umbrella of protection against all threats, including sensors that detect water and smoke for flood and fire prevention in addition to monitoring the site for theft.



3) Construction Site Security Guards

When to use live on-site security guards

Security guards are necessary for site access control, as well as temporary fire and flood watch duties during construction. Human intelligence and presence are needed to vet vendors and check visitor credentials, and to do things machines cannot, like make subjective decisions about suspicious activity or be on hand to quickly intervene in case of a fire or water emergency. Once the building is enclosed or the fire protection system is installed, those responsibilities usually can be transitioned to a live remote monitoring system.

Armed vs unarmed security guards

The question of whether or not weapons are required on site is a function of the type of project and the environment. If the guard is there to primarily patrol for fire and flood prevention during construction, then probably not. If the project is in an unsafe area or has a lot of high-value equipment and supplies stored on site, then perhaps. Another element to consider is cost. Armed guards will most likely have more training, experience, and certifications, and typically cost more on an hourly basis than unarmed guards.

Are live security officers worth the cost

It depends. If the objective is purely jobsite theft prevention, an overwhelming majority of Titan construction site clients opt for live remote monitoring systems, with some adding a temporary physical presence for a blended solution. However, some clients are simply old-fashioned and prefer a live security officer. Other construction projects like a pipeline or highway that spans miles may require too much equipment to monitor remotely and are better served by a live guard on patrol.


In Conclusion

Don't wait until after a loss occurs to shore up security at your construction site. By then you’ll already be behind the eight ball, playing catch up with deadlines and cost overruns caused by replacing stolen or damaged equipment.

Titan offers an exceptional blend of 24/7 live remote video monitoring services, on-site security officers, and patrol services to provide peace of mind at an affordable cost. Together, we can help develop an overall security strategy to protect your next construction project and the assets stored on site.

Contact us for a no-obligation assessment.

Topics: Construction Site Security