Updated: Oct 6, 2020
As those of us who have the privilege to live and work in Central Florida will know, Orlando and its environs are booming with construction project activity. I-4 is getting a major upgrade and of course we all know it if we use it for part of our commute. The art of it of course is to use the less well-known routes – and honestly there are some!
With all this growth comes the inevitable construction security and just as with contractors, offices, warehouses, and theme parks, they too need to be secured to prevent theft, and to keep trespassers out. The risks of not securing a solid security for construction sites, should be obvious. Pools of deep water, dangerous machine, unstable surfaces, cranes, materials that can fall in high winds. Security should be a paramount consideration and not left to chance.
So how should a construction professional approach the topic of securing a site during the construction phase? Of course, security and exchange commission should be part of the overall development plan, and budget but on occasion it can be left to the last minute, or a vendor lets a client down and there is a gap in the planned arrangements. Loss equipment and materials can run into hundreds of millions of dollars of lost revenue so in the words of Benjamin Franklin “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”. We think this a particularly apt quote when applied to all our security clients and their valuable business interests.
Effective Ways to Secure Construction Sites – big or small – in beautiful Central Florida
1. Figure Out Perimeter Security
This is basic – so forgive us for stating the obvious. But you would be surprised the number of sites we see where the perimeter is not clear and is not secure. So, taking control of the perimeter to any site is the starting point for a construction site security plan. The site is going to be staked out and a perimeter fence of some kind is usually going to be created. Once the site is designated there are the usual considerations of access and egress on to the site. These should be managed so that management know at any time who is on the site and what their purpose is for being on site. A way to do control this is by having a construction site security guard shack (if possible) where visitors and employees are required to sign in and sign out. You may be able to introduce a pass system. Whatever you plan, the entrance to the site needs to be sufficient to allow plant, machinery and materials to enter the site, but in a controlled way. Using security officers and or CCTV can ensure the entrance is monitored 24 x 7.
2. Choose the Right Level of Security
In our experience, Orlando and Central Florida is waking up to the fact that security services are not just about putting people on the ground who have a mild interest in protecting property. The best private construction site security companies take a pride in adding that extra layer of construction security monitoring presence to a client’s operation and being more akin to a private law enforcement team. Heads of security, and leadership teams must keep their eye on the cost of a security operation, so the aim is to get the best value from a team who demonstrate pro-active and modern security system. External security teams need to demonstrate an understanding of the risks of a construction environment and have the experience and foresight to plan the security operation to meet the needs of the client. And going back to what we said in Step #3, a risk assessment of the site is another check on whether the preliminary site security plan is going to achieve its purpose of managing the people on site at any one time and protecting the site and its assets.
For construction sites we are promoting the deployment of highly trained security K9s and their handlers, to provide patrol services. Firstly no one wants to tackle a K9 if they are found to be where they shouldn’t and secondly the K9 actually provides a level of security post orders for the handler/officer who is often working alone in unsociable hours.
And lastly on the point about choosing the right level of security presence, we encourage the use of CCTV which is deployed and then followed up with 24x7 monitoring from our control center.
3. Get Creative with Signage
In the UK, the construction industry has made signage on construction sites an art form! So here in Orlando as we live and work right next to the House of Mouse – we can learn from the Masters down the road how to make construction site hoarding and fencing super attractive. We can’t say it can ever be pretty – because at the end of the day it is a construction site. But just think of all that free advertising space your company may have right next to a main highway or even I-4. Are you getting best bang for buck in using it to promote your construction business or new development? On top of that UK security companies protecting construction sites in the City of London (Shergroup’s historical home town) put up exciting and innovative sites which do two things. Firstly, they remind visitors and anyone thinking of trespassing that the site is monitored for security purposes 24 x 7. Secondly, they promote the security company in a positive and pro-active way. This means developers and builders can warn anyone coming to site that security is present and they have a professional and responsible team delivering the security service.
4. Shine the Right Light
There are several ways to install and manage lighting on a construction site. Before deciding where to place lighting and when to turn it on and off we recommend completing a full risk assessment of the site which will include assessing the site whilst in darkness to see where the lighting should be placed. Lighting options are considerable and its certainly not a case of one size fits all. Lighting is needed to protect anyone moving around on site after dark, but also to protect the site and its contents from trespassers and vandals. Not only does theft or vandalism create a hole in the budget for the construction but it can also cause delay, which in turn adds to unnecessary cost. In construction terms this is never going to be a small sum – so planning to protect a site after dark or when the construction teams are not on the site is vital.
5. Upgrade Your Security Planning Process
Our continued mantra is – before you write your security management plan for construction site – have you risk assessed your site? If you have – great – we are on the same page. If you haven’t risk assessed the site, then how do you know what security policy you need? Security management good practice demands that the risks of a construction site – along with all other types of property – are assessed and understood so that the construction security plan mitigates those risks and goes as far as it can to eliminate them. So, we encourage our client community to upgrade their thinking when it comes to putting a construction site safety planning & management together. Yes, it is a cost, and a significant one, but it is also a necessary part of your business process, and certainly in Shergroup’s experience we work to come up with a cost effective and sensible plan that meets the real risks that you need to guard against.
Here are some final thoughts on what you should have in your security plan
Have you organized for a current site map taken from on the ground, and from above using satellite or drone imagery – so easy to do in line of business!
On that map have you identified
All access and egress points
Location of the site office(s),
Locations for plant, machinery and materials
Location of emergency resources such as first aid stations and fire extinguishers/hydrants
Placement of lighting fixtures – which should be identified so that security officers can ensure all lights are operational as part of their post orders
Placement of security camera and security plan to record/monitor activity on site | If recording footage – comprehensive plan for how long footage will be saved
Location of any solar power installations for construction site cameras/lights – and checks for maintenance – particularly during severe inclement weather/or if vandalized in a Nutshell
If you’re in construction, you know the risks to your site just from what you do. But we encourage you to document those risks and plan for them – however unlikely. This will mean your site is secure and safe to anyone – even trespassers – who come on to the property.
Shergroup can offer all the services mentioned in this piece so please feel free to book a discovery call with our knowledgeable team today and find out if there is more you can to protect your business through its security operation.