The construction industry is in good form at present, despite challenges to financial security brought about by supply chain issues and rising overhead costs.
Smaller construction firms are right to make hay where the sun is shining, but are inevitably experiencing higher exposure to risk than before coronavirus or the cost-of-living crisis.
For smaller businesses, tools and equipment represent highly significant investments, the loss of which can cause existential issues. The cost involved in replacing bespoke or otherwise expensive professional gear could be enough to impact a small firm for decades.
As such, preventing the loss or theft of such equipment is vital for longevity. Just as exposure to risk is higher, so too is access to funds lower. With this in mind, what are some actionable low-cost routes to protecting tools, equipment and materials? Let’s find out!
Carry Out a Risk Assessment
Risk assessments are usually thought of in terms of worker health and safety, and rightfully so. The carrying-out of a comprehensive on-site risk assessment allows site and project managers to identify unique and specific risks, and to create plans of action for risk mitigation with accountability baked in.
The risk assessment can also be a useful format through which to examine potential points of entry or other vulnerabilities with regard to equipment theft. Rolling theft-related considerations with health and safety enables smaller firms to use their resources efficiently.
This process will deliver different outcomes from one site to another, but comprehensive risk assessment is crucial if you’re to secure your core assets and equipment.
Invest in Secure Storage and Inventory Management
To directly combat the risk of theft, construction businesses can invest in secure storage solutions for their equipment.
Locked toolboxes and supervised chest cabinets reduce the risk of opportunists, while fenced-off semi-permanent structures with involved inventory management, for larger projects, can deter would-be thieves while improving on-site logistics.
As part of your inventory management, keeping comprehensive lists of stored equipment and a logbook for removal and return will improve safety as well as safety of equipment.
Such inventories can be instrumental in the recovery of the value of a business’s equipment via their builders insurance policy; keeping logs of equipment with evidence make the claims process a relative simplicity, and remove barriers to re-purchasing missing equipment.
Employee Training and Awareness
The other side of the coin relates to the workers on site themselves. It is extremely important to educate employees about security procedures and theft prevention, in service of meaningfully creating a culture of vigilance and accountability among the workforce on site.
Regular briefing around local crime statistics and best practice for securing equipment can ensure everyone is on the same page regarding equipment handling.
Surveillance and Lighting
Finally, the sites on which a construction firm is working need to be adequately outfitted to deter potential criminal activity of any kind. Rather than investing large amounts of money on CCTV systems and 24-hour security guards, a business can make cost-effective purchases of lighting systems – which improve night visibility for staff on site and increase risk for potential trespassers.
The Last Word
As you can see, there are various theft prevention strategies available to small and independent construction businesses, many of which are cost-effective and inherently secure.
Ultimately, combining a broad range of theft prevention strategies is the most effective way to safeguard your site, and while this may require some form of investment, this can be managed in line with your budget and overall expectations.