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Heavy Equipment Security Systems Need Not Be Heavy on Your Pocket

– By Bradley Wingrave

18th January 2021

Your World, Smarter.

Heavy Equipment Security Systems That Protect Your Interests

Heavy equipment security systems have become a hot topic. 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. While the lockdown context has been eased, the industry has come away with smart solutions that are set to become the new norm for construction security.

The high value of these assets makes them an attractive target for criminals. It also comes with the knock-on costs of delays and associated costs, as well as reputational damage. 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 that 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, replacement rental costs, the question of the availability of a replacement, and insurance implications.

While lockdowns created an isolated context in which to view construction security, the pandemic has had a knock-on effect on the industry. This has endowed heavy equipment security systems with ongoing importance and smart technologies are part of the evolution of these systems. Some of the post-lockdown challenges include global supply chain issues and plant shortages around construction equipment and the inflated price of second-hand machines as a result.

The demand for machinery has also seen an increase in crime. This includes a surge in power tool theft and opportunistic heavy machinery theft. The delays in replacing machinery also create real worries for owners and managers around continuity in event of theft. This makes choices around heavy equipment security systems important.

Cost of Construction Crime - Smarter Technologies
Construction Security Smart Cameras - Smarter Technologies

The Need for Construction Security: 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.

Remoteness

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. This means heavy equipment security systems face challenges around policing entry and exit and access control.

Heavy Equipment Security Systems In The Smarter Age

Construction asset management solutions from Smarter Technologies Group 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 Security Is a Building Block in Smart Systems

The smart construction technologies – like those available from Smarter Technologies Group – are being used for their benefits for construction security and beyond. These are being used to address common challenges in the industry – and will come to define the norms of tomorrow. Other benefits of these smart solutions include:

Automation

According to McKinsey, productivity in construction has been slow to progress, with very few changes being noted in the United States between 1947 and 2010, for instance. Automation takes many forms, from 3D printing advancements to physical processes. Another element of automation is digitisation, with the use of technology streamlining on- and off-site activity to achieve high-level efficiencies. Among other things, the move to machine-based processes removes the resource intensiveness and risk of human error associated with their manual counterparts.

Highly organised workforces

While automation often goes in-hand with the worry around job losses, the future of construction is likely to be defined rather by the efficiency of its workforces and shifting skills sets. The Government aspires to deliver 1.5 million houses per year in 2022 and 300 000 homes per year in the mid-2020s. To meet these benchmarks requires workers – plenty of them – but the clincher is productivity and efficient processes.

A green future of construction

According to the Construction Leadership Council, the construction industry accounts for 33% of waste and 45% of all CO2 emissions in the UK. Smart technologies empower all stakeholders to reduce environmental impact from the very start of the building lifecycle. Smart construction has the potential for reduced waste, reduced environmental impact of operations, and raised quality standards. These points are some of the factors that have a bearing on the overall sustainability of the building processes. Where a more modular and off-site approach to construction is enabled through smart construction, so too is waste reduced.

Heavy Equipment Security Systems - Smarter Technologies

Using data for a digital representation of the physical world

According to the Construction Leadership Council, the construction industry accounts for 33% of waste and 45% of all CO2 emissions in the UK. Smart technologies empower all stakeholders to reduce environmental impact from the very start of the building lifecycle. Smart construction has the potential for reduced waste, reduced environmental impact of operations, and raised quality standards. These points are some of the factors that have a bearing on the overall sustainability of the building processes. Where a more modular and off-site approach to construction is enabled through smart construction, so too is waste reduced.

Worker safety

Through smart data sources, worker safety becomes a point of strategy in the future of construction. Being able to trace worker movements and lone worker support is but one component of this. Smart tags and sensors also monitor exposure to reduce the impact of noise, dust, vibration on individuals. Enhanced maintenance schedules and detailed equipment overviews also have the potential to reduce accidents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Smarter Technologies Group’s smart heavy equipment security systems secure machines through real-time data readings, monitoring and tracking, and remote reporting. These data insights are used for high-level access control, integrate with CCTV and legacy systems, send alerts in response to unusual activity, and empower recoverability through real-time tracking.

With the smart construction security solutions from Smarter Technologies Group, a notification is sent to your remote dashboard in the event of unusual activity. The movements and site behaviour can be pre-programmed, geo-fencing the construction site and inspiring action in response to criminal behaviour. This expedited action increases chances of recovery and prosecution.

Using data for a digital representation of the physical world

Construction site theft demands a robust construction 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, work towards sustainability, and mitigate risk.

Contact Smarter Technologies Group today to find out more about smart heavy equipment security systems and the future of construction security.

About the Author: 

Bradley Wingrave has a wealth of business experience spanning more than two decades and his success in a number of entrepreneurial ventures makes him a forerunning expert on businesses, offices, facilities and legal compliance.

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