01st March 2016
Theft and vandalism is costing the UK construction industry an estimated £400 million a year, according to the latest statistics. A report from the British Chartered Institute of Building revealed the shock figure for 2015, while pointing out this could be a conservative estimate, since some crimes went unreported.
Theft is the most common crime, with 21% of companies admitting they experience theft every week. A massive 92% of construction companies said they were affected by theft at least once every year. Among the types of equipment stolen are forklift trucks, generators and trailer mounts, in many cases by organised crime gangs.
In fact, the most commonly stolen site equipment included excavators, trailers, telehandlers and site dumpers, with an average 900 thefts of trailers in one year. There has also been an increase in the theft of agricultural tractors and portable generators. Any equipment that doesn’t have a serial number is at risk and can easily be sold on to an unsuspecting contractor, or even stripped down for parts.
The BCIB points out the cost of replacing stolen equipment is only part of the issue, as theft and vandalism have a knock-on effect on insurance premiums, leading to price increases for contractors and clients and delays in completing projects.
An effective way of combating crime is to install high security perimeter fencing around construction sites. There are various choices for construction site security, a popular option being the erection of anti-climb fencing that doesn’t have footholds.
This is not only a deterrent against intruders, but also stops children, members of the public and animals from inadvertently entering the site. In order to create an exceptionally strong barrier, the fence can be reinforced using concrete blocks and corner braces. A combination of products can make security fencing particularly effective.
The problem in the UK has become so severe that leading insurer RSA has warned companies who rent out construction site equipment to be extra-vigilant to help combat the threat of plant theft. The RSA states that crime adds a “significant amount” to the costs of insurance claims, leaving the policy-holders as the real victims, as they end up paying higher premiums as a result.