Many construction workers are working on build sites across the UK, and despite enormous pressure from experts and leading figures within the construction industry, the government is continuing to resist calls for all construction sites to be shut down.
Safety for all builders and on-site staff is paramount, and build sites must ensure precautions are taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). Social distancing should be implemented across all active build sites, and building site managers need to recognise, now more than ever, they have a duty of care towards their workers.
Paul Kempton, managing director at Self Build Zone, recognises that self builders with construction workers on site certainly have more to consider than usual, but notes that securing your site is vital with regards to more than coronavirus.
Secure Your Build Site
“In times such as these the main problems outside of your control are going to probably be theft and arson,” says Kempton. “It is vital to protect your project and this can be done either proactively or reactively, or in layman’s terms, ‘before or after the stable door has been shut.’”
If you have a fire or flood, Kempton says, don’t go into the building or house yourself. Phone the emergency services as a matter of urgency.
For theft, Kempton says that prevention is better than cure, “Particularly now because if something does happen it may well take longer probably to source materials and product when things return to normal.
”When it comes to theft – remember all that you can do is to ‘buy time’ and make life as difficult for any would-be thief. Hopefully you could make it so difficult and not worth the trouble they will go and find an easier target.”
Kempton recommends implementing a number of preventative measures to reduce the risk of theft. These include:
Install Perimeter Security
Gates are only as good as the final link, being the padlock. Always use a closed shackle padlock as it makes it harder to get bolt cutters into it. With hasp and padlocks – make sure you bolt them through the door/gate, and not screw them onto the door/gate.
Any gate should have the hinges burred over to prevent them being lifted off. Make it as awkward as possible for an intruder to get in and out of the site and the building.
Few people have ever thought as to why you have window locks; it is to stop the thieves getting out easily. If they haven’t got a quick exit route they won’t hang around and they won’t want to break a window and risk leaving DNA.
Secure Your Site Container
If you have a site container, make sure that you not only use it but that it is secured with at least a ‘closed shackle’ padlock and make sure the doors cannot be lifted off the hinges.
If you can, get an alarm system linked to your mobile and put one in the container but with an external aerial. Consider fitting drop-down posts in front of garages and site containers to prevent the doors opening and/or to limit space to drive machinery out of the storage.
For a few hundred quid, you could buy a GSM or wireless battery alarm intruder system, including a webcam that can feed photos back to your mobile. This is perfect for garages, site huts, containers or the house.
Kempton also recommends:
- Don’t leave portable hand tools and equipment lying around anywhere on site – take as much home with you as possible, every time you visit the site to do some work or shut the site down
- If you’ve built the garage first to use as a store, make sure it’s secure by using things such as window bars or shutters, good-quality locks and hinge bolts on door frames
- Flat packs, valuable metals (copper, zinc and lead) and kitchen and heating equipment are all favourites of thieves, as they’re very easily disposed of. A garage may look secure but of course most have a back door which is nicely concealed from the road or passers-by so they can take their time.
“The key point is to make sure the product warning signage is in clear view of any would-be intruder, so they think twice and perhaps go somewhere else not so secure,” Kempton says.
“Finally, reduce the potential risk and only have materials and goods delivered as and when you need them, if at all possible, and store them out of sight or covered up in a secure area.”