"Canadian Contractor" magazine estimates that construction site theft costs Canadian builders up $300 million annually. Large equipment is most attractive to thieves, but materials and other assets often disappear as well. Follow these 4 tips to prevent construction theft on your site.

1. Light the Site

Construction site lighting prevents thefts by making your site less attractive to thieves. Since a burglar is more likely to be seen in a well-lit area, he or she will go elsewhere to avoid getting caught.

After you've set up lights, direct them at the ground in your job site rather than up in the air or toward the outside. Burglars take advantage of the glare created by poorly-positioned lights because they are blinding to observers.

2. Secure the Office

Choose secure office trailers, from companies like C & V Portable Accommodations Ltd, for your construction site, preferably with bars over the windows and a sophisticated lock system. Cover windows with blinds, drapes, or screens so thieves can't see any valuables inside, and use interior safes for high-dollar items.

Leave a light on inside the office after everyone leaves for the night, as burglars are far less likely to target a site that might be occupied. Install both interior and exterior security cameras, especially if:

  • The office holds valuable equipment or materials
  • The job site, building, or client is controversial 
  • The area is known for high levels of crime

3. Use Storage Containers

In addition to a portable construction office, use storage containers for valuable equipment and machinery. Large containers with steel walls not only make your assets more difficult to steal, but they also conceal them from view.

Portable containers work especially well because you can move them around the site based on your specific needs. Purchase containers for long-term use or rent them for short-term needs.

4. Employ GPS Technology

GPS systems prevent theft in consumer vehicles, but they also benefit construction equipment. Hiding a GPS device on a tractor or other earth-moving piece of equipment allows you to track its location if it is ever stolen.

To increase the effectiveness of GPS devices:

  • Install them in concealed areas, such as on the undercarriage
  • Use devices with weather-resistant coatings
  • Use a tracking program to monitor activity

If you know that theft is a recurring problem around your construction site, you might also want to hire a security detail. Alternatively, build relationships with local police officers who might be willing to drive by the site for extra security during the night.