Building security is widely associated with protecting the contents and people inside, but securing a building begins long before anyone or anything moves in. It begins during its construction.

Construction sites are prone to several unique vulnerabilities, all of which can be addressed by effective security measures.

Common construction site security risks
Construction site security risk assessment
How to secure a construction site



Common construction site security risks

Criminals approaching construction sites are presented with several opportunities. Those securing construction sites need to be aware of the various ways they might be targeted in order to provide effective protection.


Theft of machinery

The presence of expensive equipment is tempting for many criminals. Theft of construction machines like backhoes, generators, skid steer loaders and excavators has been called “low-risk” for criminals for a variety of reasons. First, construction sites are often easy to access (the ones with light security, at least), meaning criminals are unlikely to be caught. Second, the machines themselves have few security features. Some even have one-key-fits-all ignitions. Unlike other vehicles, most construction vehicles are not registered, making them difficult to track down if they are stolen, and therefore easy to sell on without consequence.


Theft of materials and fuel

With crimes like metal theft on the rise, thieves are heading to construction sites to steal these valuable materials. Copper tubing and wire cable in particular, have been widely targeted by thieves. Fuel, too, is a valuable commodity, and often the target of construction site theft, whether stolen from storage or from vehicles themselves.


Vandalism and arson

On top of the many kinds of theft, building sites are also under threat from vandalism and arson attacks. Both of these things can occur for a number of reasons, notably political objection to the building project, and a general desire to cause violence.


Break-ins to existing buildings

Construction sites aren’t always creating buildings from scratch. When construction is taking place on an existing building, there is the risk of intruders breaking in through the building site, which may have created new points of entry or compromised existing ones.


Construction site security risk assessment

To help determine which of these threats a building site is particularly vulnerable to, construction managers should carry out a thorough risk assessment. This can be done in tandem with a report assessing worker safety. For each of the potential threats, managers should give the site a rating (numerical or otherwise) to determine which area is most in need of protection. The most reliable method to identify potential safety risks and effectively assess the construction site’s security needs, is an on-site security survey by a security expert. Bridger Security offers free and no-obligation security consultations that will result in a plan of action that is tailored to the requirements of the construction site.


How to secure a construction site

Considering the wide-ranging threat of theft, damage and intrusion, it is imperative that those operating construction sites go to appropriate lengths to keep them secure. Thankfully, there are extensive measures that can be put in place to keep building sites protected.


Security patrols

Hiring security guards to patrol a construction site is one of the most effective methods of preventing break-ins, theft and vandalism. This is especially helpful overnight, or when the site is unattended for any significant period of time.



Frequently used in retail stores and public places, CCTV also functions as an effective deterrent for construction site-based crime. Placing security cameras around the perimeter of a building site will both discourage burglars and vandals from targeting it and help identify any perpetrators who do.

Monitoring CCTV images on-site can help security guards rapidly respond to any infiltrations, but the footage can also be used in court to help prosecute any offenders who do manage to steal from or damage the site. Bridger Security offers a wide range of CCTV systems that are ideal for construction sites as they offer an array of features including night vision (day to night infrared cameras), resistance to adverse weather conditions and vandalism, and various different camera types, suitable both for internal and external use.



Perhaps not always associated with security, lighting can make a huge difference to the safety of a construction site. Illuminating site entrances at all times is advisable for smaller projects. Larger sites should brighten areas that could potentially act as points of entry. As well as discouraging intruders, this will lead to better quality CCTV images, and assist security guards to easier identify perpetrators or other threats.



Though most often used permanently to protect constructed properties, temporary burglar alarms are highly effective in securing construction sites. Larger sites in particular can benefit from intruder alarms, which will draw guards’ or workers’ attention to break-ins that may otherwise have gone unnoticed. Furthermore, installing a burglar alarm during the construction phase will provide you with the option to easily repurpose it later, when the building’s ready.


Locks and Padlocks and Safes

Ideally, the exterior of a construction site will be so secure that specific on-site security measures would not be needed. However, to ensure optimum safety, it is imperative to give individual vehicles, fuel stores, and other on-site equipment their own protection.


Larger machines like tower cranes should be secured at the base with a combination of locks and padlocks. Secure safes could also be used to protect any valuables or important documents that may need to be kept on-site 24/7.



How much security does my building site need?

There is no simple answer to this question. Every construction site is different, but for maximum security, every one of the above measures should be implemented. For budgetary and time constraints, this will not always be possible. In these cases, it is best to prioritise based on which security method you think will be most effective. This is why it is highly advisable to enlist the services of a security professional who will be able to suggest which security measures need to be implemented and come up with a quote that is within your budget.


Can the police protect my construction site?

While local police are unlikely to send out regular patrols to your site, working with them on issues of security can yield significant results. Police officers could inform you if an area is particularly prone to theft or vandalism, for example, and help keep the peace should any political protests take play. Needless to say, if your building site is violated in any way, the police should be your first port of call to bring perpetrators to justice, and possibly recover stolen materials.


Why is metal theft on the rise?

The scrap metal black market has been growing exponentially. Since metals like copper and wire cable can be easily recovered from abandoned or under construction buildings, thieves have created an industry out of stealing it and selling it on, in many cases without consequence. Site managers should take extra care to protect their metals in light of this trend.