By Jeremy Cook
Potential theft of property is something we are all concerned about at some point or other. But in the construction industry, the very nature of what we’re doing is unfinished and therefore not necessarily covered by planned security systems, making sites especially vulnerable. Even something as simple as locking the doors might not yet be possible. Unless you’ll have workers (or a guard) on the site 24/7, you won’t always be able to keep an eye on your power tools and other expensive equipment, leaving sites and property at risk for theft. Since you need your tools to complete the job, theft can really be a hit to productivity and throw you off schedule. Fortunately, there are some electronic devices available to help keep everything secure.
Perhaps the most obvious method for securing your company’s valuables is through camera monitoring. Depending on the connection (Wi-Fi) and power options available at the site, nearly any security camera can be used as a cost-effective solution. Wireless and waterproof models that are easy to set up are ideal for this environment, as eventually you’ll be moving on to the next job and can take them with you when you go.
On the other hand, some camera systems are especially designed for construction sites that can operate over a cellular network and offer enhanced features in addition to providing security. Onsiteview, for example, features cameras that can be used for live site-viewing over a cellular network and archives images for you to view later, email to a colleague or even create a time-lapse sequence. TrueLook’s cameras offer many of the same features, and they have one model that can operate via solar power for a truly off-grid recording system.
Although having a video surveillance in use on the site would certainly deter some criminals, it may not help you if a theft is successful. If someone is determined to steal a tool and succeeds, once it leaves that premises, you likely have no idea where it has gone. Fortunately, there is a solution for that in the way of a GPS tracker. Units like the Spy Tec model can be hidden inside of an object, and let you check up on the location of your valuable equipment. You can also set up a perimeter—called geofencing—around your worksite, so that if something does decide to “walk off,” it will notify you immediately. That way, you have a much higher chance of recovering stolen tools.
Sensor-Based Alarm System
A different, and perhaps more active, method for deterring theft is an alarm system. Such systems as the Contractor Guardian use an array of sensors to ensure that everything from table saws to drivable equipment is still in its place. The systems listed can also detect fire, protecting the job and valuable equipment stored on-site from this additional threat.
No matter which security measure you choose, taking steps to secure your tools can ensure that you don’t take a hit to your team’s productivity.
Jeremy Cook is an engineer and writer in the southeastern United States, with a BSME from Clemson University and over 10 years of factory automation experience. He’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind. He also writes for Home Depot, who carries a wide selection of power tools similar to those discussed in this article.