Heavy equipment security systems have become a hot topic in the past year. While construction site theft is a long-standing issue facing the industry, there has been a notable increase in this type of crime since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been reported that there has been a 50% increase since lockdown began. Smart construction site security is a top tactic to effectively ensure the security of high-value heavy equipment – and this can be cost-effectively implemented too.

The cost of construction crime 

In a survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the pre-COVID costs of construction theft were revealed. This makes the recent recorded increase that much more concerning. This is attributed to the site shutdown following government guidelines – a situation which exacerbated the existing vulnerability of construction sites.

Some quick facts from the survey:

  • Prior to the pandemic, it is estimated that construction crime cost the industry £800 million in losses
  • 92% of those surveyed had been victims of construction site crime
  • 21% of those surveyed had experienced weekly thefts

When heavy equipment is stolen, the loss doesn’t stop at the value of the asset. This includes downtime, delays, unmet deliverables, the question of the availability of a replacement, and insurance implications.

Why construction sites are a target for criminals

Equipment value

Plant equipment is highly desirable to criminals for its value. One would think the size and distinctiveness of such machinery would render theft very difficult. However, it has been reported that there is a less than 10% recovery rate of stolen plant vehicles.


While construction sites are a mixed bag in terms of location, many sites are remotely located. This means increased vulnerability. Criminals often have ample time and are out of view of local communities.

The Busy Nature of Sites

Construction sites are a hive of activity, with many different people coming and going during the course of the day. For organised criminals and opportunists alike, it is not very difficult to enter a construction site to gather information on assets, security, and other factors.

On-Site Storage

It is not always a viable option to store equipment off-site to ensure safety. Where equipment is stored on-site, it is not always cost-effective or possible to do so safely. This often means these assets are out in the open until completion of the project.

Multiple access points

Multiple access points tend to be the norm on construction sites, with different personnel and vehicles requiring different access points. What’s more is that these access points are subject to change during the lifespan of a project. What this means for security is a challenge around policing entry and exit and access control.

Heavy equipment security systems in the smarter age

Construction asset management solutions from Smarter Technologies is the smartest way to mitigate risk around heavy equipment security. A system of CCTV, tags, sensors, pressure pads, and gateways work together to deliver real-time data to a remote dashboard for 24/7 visibility of construction sites and assets. By setting customisable parameters, foremen, owners, and managers get notifications through alerts – and have the ability to check in on site activity at any time.

  • Remoteness is no issue. The Smarter system offers reliable signal even where GPS and GSM do not.
  • Integrates with CCTV and other security systems to achieve perimeter and access control, lone worker protection, dynamic asset tracking and recovery, and daily auditing.
  • Data-driven risk assessments. Through a comprehensive overview of operations, you are best placed to assess risks, make changes, and enforce strategic security plans
  • SIM-free, long-lasting, battery-powered solutions are also cost-effective, allowing for smart, simplified construction site security.


Construction site theft demands a robust security strategy. Smart technologies deliver dynamic data and actionable alerts to safeguard valuable assets and increase chances of recovery. Security is only one benefit. These technologies are also highly effective at inventory control, supply chain management, maintenance scheduling, and digital transformation of construction operations. Collectively, these benefits are an exciting way to streamline processes, save costs, boost profits, and mitigate risk. Contact Smarter Technologies today to find out more about smart heavy equipment security systems.