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Feeling secure - June 2017

17 May 2017

Throughout a construction process, it is not uncommon for buildings to be left vacant for periods of time, making them an attractive target for thieves, vandals or even squatters, warns James Kelly.

VALUABLE EQUIPMENT is often stored onsite throughout the process and can be left unattended overnight; if stolen, this can result in significant losses, not only in terms of replacing stolen equipment, but also due to the cost of downtime, loss of business, reputational damage and increased insurance premiums. 

It’s important to take a holistic approach to site security, combining both physical and electronic measures in order to provide a comprehensive level of protection. A multi-layered ‘onion ring’ approach, in which the most valuable equipment and materials are stored at the core, can offer maximum protection of a site. Perimeter protection is often considered the first line of defence against intruders and can incorporate a number of methods including fences, gates, barriers and doors. For construction sites, such measures will often need to be temporary and easily moved as the site develops. Flat sided perimeter hoardings can be particularly useful onsite, especially as they are more difficult to climb and will restrict views to the site. If installed, they should be a minimum height of 2.4 metres and placed on existing concrete surfaces where possible.

In addition to robust physical measures, it is also wise to consider the installation of electronic security measures on site as well. Strategically placed CCTV cameras are one extremely efficient way of protecting construction sites, not only acting as a deterrent to would-be thieves, but also in keeping an eye on the premises around the clock. In order to keep a close eye on the premises 24 hours a day, it is a good idea to outsource the observation to a remote monitoring centre, where trained professionals can keep an eye on the premises and respond to any potential threats accordingly. Large sites can also benefit from detector-activated CCTV systems, where motion sensors can be incorporated in order to streamline the observation process; this way, if movement is detected, the camera will start rolling, a useful tool when monitoring a large site during dark evenings. 

Technological advancements

Advances in surveillance and communications technology means that the rapidly deployable nature of CCTV solutions makes them a suitable fit for the fluidity of construction sites. The latest video solutions on the market mean that such systems are able to be installed without any major works and consequently redeployed in new areas of a site throughout the different phases of construction. Fully-integrated mobile CCTV towers are one such solution; typically featuring a combination of cameras and detectors as well as a compact DVR, these towers can be moved to a specific location, automatically extended and fully functional within a few hours. Devices used within the towers can be powered via the site’s mains, on-site generators, solar panels or even fuel cells. This flexibility makes these solutions particularly useful at remote construction sites, including highway or other infrastructure projects where access to the grid is not always guaranteed.

Ruggedised camera platforms with built-in recording are another useful method, as these towers can be attached to an existing part of a building in order to cover gaps that the building work may have created. They can also be attached to lampposts within the vicinity, meaning the cameras can overlook the construction site to give a clear view. Ruggedised DVRS and cameras can also be mounted to the roof or dash of a vehicle, acting as a highly visible deterrent while also having the advantage of requiring minimal set up. These solutions also mean the vehicle can be moved around the site to cover specific areas as and when needed, without having to be set up again. 

While construction sites may initially seem challenging in their security requirements, rapidly deployable solutions means these sites can be managed securely and fairly easily. However, as always, the most important step when sourcing security solutions is ensuring that the product or service is chosen from a reputable supplier that meets with the relevant British and European standards. British Security Industry Association (BSIA) members all meet with rigorous criteria and offer a quality service, to find out more, visit www.bsia.co.uk/

James Kelly is chief executive of the British Security Industry Association