The practicalities of maintaining a secure site through best practices

Maintaining construction site security can be a major undertaking as various threats including theft, vandalism, arson and general trespassing are unfortunately an occupational hazard.

Many thousands of pounds worth of expensive machinery, equipment and materials are to be found on most construction sites and, because of prolonged periods where no one is around out of hours, and some being in remote locations, sites can be vulnerable.

That said, there’s much that can be done to prevent threats:

Risk analysis and procedures

A form of prevention that can take place when planning the site layout; what particular security risks does the construction site pose?

Is it remote and very quiet at night? Are there going to be expensive and easily removed pieces of equipment used?

It’s worth reviewing the risks as time passes and work progresses since construction sites can change as they reach various stages of completion. For instance, more valuable or more easily portable equipment may be onsite later in the process so suddenly adding to the security risk.

Outline specific procedures to be followed to maintain sound site security; how equipment should be looked after and stored, what inspections should be carried out, and by whom.

Keep equipment inventory up to date

It’s not always the larger scale theft late at night; some thefts happen on an ongoing and gradual basis as isolated pieces of equipment and smaller quantities of materials can be ‘lifted’ at different times of the working day.

Keeping track of quantities of tools, equipment and materials by using a tool management software which will help detect possible thefts before they escalate.

It’s worth marking tools with a distinctive symbol or colour to make them harder to move on.


Modern CCTV is worth installing, preferably through a company specialising in systems designed specifically for construction site security.

The advantage of these specialist CCTV and alarm systems is that they can be powered with long lasting batteries as opposed to relying on mains electricity, and can be adjusted, moved or added to as the construction site changes and as building work progresses.

These systems can also be linked to a responder service where, once the alarm is raised, a responder will attend the site and may organise back up from local services such as police.

Use good lighting

A well-lit construction site is a key way to deter intruders and very much goes hand in hand with specialised CCTV systems as described above.

These two often provide a deterrent to intruders.

Limit site access points

The more entrances there are, the more vulnerable a site can be as it’s easier for one or more access points to be left open or unlocked.

It’s also easier to make just one or two access points more secure as these can be concentrated on with security aids such as CCTV cover, extra lighting and maybe someone to check vehicles and other visitors in and out.

Good fencing

A basic requirement, but ensure secure fencing is in place as soon as work starts, and that further fencing is either on site ready to be put into position or can be obtained quickly as the site expands.

Regularly inspect fencing; possible damage caused by machinery could make for a vulnerability, so ensure all fencing is in good condition. Also, it would be beneficial to check that sections haven’t been left open or even ajar having been moved – for example to allow site access for heavy plant.

Keep perimeters clear

Don’t store equipment and material near fencing as these can be easily seen and ‘scoped’ by potential thieves; they’re also easier to access, rather than if they were to be stored deeper within the site.

It’s also a good idea to keep the area immediately outside and inside the fencing barrier clear.

Collaborate with neighbours

If the construction site is close to other premises or homes, ask others to keep a look out on your behalf.

A neighbouring commercial premises may have night staff or others such as late cleaners or security guards, so these could be asked to report or raise the alarm if they notice anything untoward happening on the construction site.

Collective responsibility

Much can be achieved by asking all staff and contractors to stay vigilant around the construction site and suggest ideas for keeping the site safe; maybe they’ve spotted potential issues you haven’t?

Encourage everyone to play their part.


Some tips for effective construction site security including using specialised CCTV, lighting, good fencing and adopting sound procedures such as risk assessment.