Construction theft, it’s daylight robbery.


Post Written by Neil Jones

Sales Director

In 1696, William III of England introduced a property tax which required those living in houses with more than six windows to pay a levy. To avoid the tax, house owners would brick up all windows except six and the phrase ‘daylight robbery’ was born.

When I am out with our team of BDM’s it amazes me how easy it is for us to drive onto site and walk in to the compound or the cabins without anyone asking who we are? Quite often there’s never anyone around, but there are laptops and keys to machinery, vehicles and client properties sat there waiting for an opportunist thief.

£800,000,000 LOST

Last year, the UK Construction Industry endured losses of around £800 million. The costs incurred are caused by both the crimes themselves and the financial burdens which they create, which include project delays, replacement or repair of goods/work or equipment, and substantially higher insurance premiums.

This £800 million figure does not surprise me and the actual cost is likely to be much higher considering many crimes go unreported.

Most housebuilders and construction companies these days have some form of security whilst they are not on site, normally in the form of a guard or a monitored CCTV system. But what do they use in the daylight hours? For most, the answer is nothing!

Therefore, the thieves are becoming more and more bold and stealing in daylight hours. With nothing to stop them entering the site, filling their vehicles, and driving off. I have even heard horror stories of contractors helping them load up their vans!

How do you stop daylight robbery? Simple, ensure that your security measures are as tight when you are on site, as they are when you are not on site.

Physical Measure

  • Install controlled entry and exit systems, such as turnstiles which use facial recognition or card readers.
  • Give staff training to ensure working practices aim to secure on-site vehicles and machinery. If site staff are aware of the risks and dangers more will be done to minimise theft.

Technology Measure

  • Purchasing site security barriers from a reputable security company to reduce the ‘openness’ of your site. If power is a problem, user solar (we have a fantastic range available 😉)
  • Investing in deterrents such as CCTV and bright lighting so that thieves struggle to conceal their identity.
  • Investing in wider security such as immobilisers and tracking systems.

Extra security boasts an additional price tag and unfortunately, some construction managers decide to take a risk and choose not to invest in such measures.

Expensive, heavy machinery and building tools can be sold easily. What is more, the recovery rate of plant machinery in the UK is just 9%, compared with a 50-60% recovery rate of motor vehicles. So, in short, the thief can commit the crime without doing the time.

Construction site security should not be compromised based on cost alone. Whilst security measures can be expensive, a fit for purpose site that implements strict security, quickly regains the investment through theft reduction, lowered insurance claims and a maintained reputation.