Securing a Large Job site: Best Practices
Construction sites and large job sites are frequent targets for enterprising criminals, vandals, and trespassers. In a recent survey by Builders Online, 90% of respondents had experienced criminal activity at their job site in the last year. And securing these large work areas is much different than securing a business, warehouse, or event, and it can be difficult to determine what the best practices are in these situations. Securing such a site comes with its own challenges, and those challenges should be met with only the highest-level of security techniques.
Here are some tips for securing large job sites:
Understand the Layout
To secure a large job site or construction site, the first important step to take is to understand the layout of the area, especially in regard to distances between key points and the location of important equipment and supplies. It will be important to identify:
- Entry and exit points where traffic to and from the site will be moving
- Actual construction areas where active work will be occurring
- Mobile offices, work trailers, and other headquarter areas that may be locked and/or contain sensitive documents or equipment
- The location where heavy equipment is parked and/or stored
- The locations where supplies and tools are kept and/or stored
- Employee break areas, common gathering areas
- Possible blind-spots for people, equipment, and cameras
Control Access Points
Knowing just where everyone is coming and going (and where they’re coming to and from) is a key step in securing any large job site. The work site might be physically expansive, but it’s likely that there are only a few specific areas where people and vehicles can enter and exit the perimeter. This means there are also only a few places where tools, equipment, and supplies might come and go as well. Controlling these areas and monitoring them with the appropriate electronic detection devices and sensors should be a top priority.
The most powerful tool in securing a large job site or construction area is electronic detection and monitoring. The sheer size and broad layout of a large construction site can make it difficult to physically secure the area with gates, locks, and security guard patrols. That’s where electronic detection can play a key role.
A professional security firm can create an effective and efficient detection system, which might include motion and vibration sensors, HD video cameras, wired or wireless sensors, permanent or mobile security units, security lighting, and beam detectors. Knowing just how to install and implement these measures is almost as important as using them in the first place.
Once installed, a sophisticated electronic detection system can be monitored remotely by a monitoring service, which may even include monitoring by a dedicated virtual guard. The system can also be run through a video analytics system, which can be used to seek out only specific activity in specific areas, and to analyze that activity—all before a monitoring service is involved. Effective monitoring and analyzation of the system is critical.
Large job sites bring challenges to even the savviest electronic detection system installers. Don’t forget to consider:
- The distance of sensors from cameras. You don’t want to have an alert that can’t be monitored due to the extended distance between sensor and cameras.
- Placement of security equipment. Likewise, you don’t want to have the inability to monitor an alert because cameras or sensors have not been placed in the most optimal locations, or they’ve been placed where obstructions may occur.
- The number of sensors and cameras. Depending on the job site, it may take more or fewer security stations, cameras, and sensors. Don’t skimp on an element of security that will wind up burning a client later.
The way a site is lit will critically inform and affect the way that security can be implemented, especially in regard to electronic detection systems that utilize motion sensors and video cameras. Working with the property owner to maximize existing lighting and install supplemental lighting where necessary is an important proactive step in securing a large job site. Lighting can often act as a deterrent itself, but it’s also a large factor in the success of electronic monitoring devices. You can’t track and confirm threats that you can’t see due to poor lighting.
The way a site is organized will also play a major role in how security can be established. In addition to understanding the layout of a work site, as described above, it’s critical to work with a client to understand the way that the site is used and organized. Work with the client to make the day-to-day organization of a worksite work with security, and not against it. This might mean evaluating where tools are stored, or where employees come and go for their lunch breaks. It might mean moving large equipment to more visible areas or reducing clutter around to increase visibility. Don’t be afraid to work with the client to create a more organized and “security friendly” work site.