No one wants to arrive on site in the morning to find that weather, animals, or thieves have taken their toll on equipment, tools, materials, or the site itself. To avoid an entire day spent securing damaged areas and trying to recoup lost investment, remodelers should use these five site security strategies:
1. Use Job Boxes. They're big and clunky, but job boxes can keep expensive tools and equipment out of harm's way. Anchored to, for example, a tree or a structural column, these heavy metal boxes — manufactured by companies such as Greenlee and Knaack — provide an effective alternative to taking the tools home every night. They also deter curious children who happen to wander into the work area after hours from messing around with potentially lethal tools and equipment.
2. Install Digital Surveillance Cameras. For a relatively small investment — $500 to $1,000 per camera, plus the cost of the recording device — you can harness the power of technology to monitor jobsites using digital surveillance cameras. Bob McLemore, president of Charlotte, N.C.–based design/build and management firm House Raising, says his company is beginning to use cameras because they serve a dual purpose: monitoring the site 24/7 and providing the company with a record of job progress. The cameras are professionally installed, moved to a new site once a job is completed, and monitored via a closed-circuit feed.
3. Accurately Track Materials Deliveries. Were those locksets stolen or never delivered? There's no way to tell unless you keep track. McLemore's team counts all deliveries and records the details on a laptop, using an Excel spreadsheet, so it's clear what was delivered and when. “A driver who was supposed to deliver 900 2x4s but brought only 800,” McLemore says, “could create a real problem down the road if the materials were never counted.”
4. Be Open To New Solutions. When thieves started breaking in through windows and sliding glass doors on Bethesda, Md.–based UBuiltIt's jobsites, owner Chad Hackmann bought ¼-inch-thick Lexan to protect them. A highly durable, transparent polycarbonate, Lexan is shatter-resistant and serves as a deterrent because it's too much trouble for would-be thieves to cut through. “We put it on the penetrable windows and doors while projects are under way,” Hackmann says, “and it works great.”
5. Ensure Site Safety. Even if it means erecting a lockable fence around high scaffolding, Hackmann does everything possible to ensure jobsite safety. The fence has kept people from climbing on the scaffolding, he says, advising remodelers to take the necessary precautions to keep their jobsites — and the people who may enter them, legitimately or not — safe. “You don't want neighborhood kids using your scaffolding as a jungle gym.”