When general contractors' superintendents are asked what their primary goals are on the site, the vast majority say it is to bring the job in on time and on budget. When superintendents are asked where site security falls on the list of priorities, they give a wide range of answers. Considering the potential hazards today’s sites pose to employees and the general public, not to mention the potential danger from working in high crime areas, and loss of material and equipment from theft, site security should be near the top of the list.
Items to consider when reviewing security for sites include:
- Security Specialists: Although security guards are commonly used for some site security work, you get what you pay for. Security Specialists are better trained and can protect the employees, the residents, the equipment and materials as well as respond to any medical emergencies, if any occur. Security Specialists will have a plan in place to deal with most, if not all, situations and have the ability, training and experience to mitigate any imminent threats and provide solutions to any potential dangers. Security Specialists have great communication and leadership and work well under duress, even in austere environments.
- Plans: Every site will benefit from having a well-developed, site-specific security plan. Items to be addressed on a site security plan should be based on local and regional crime information as well as potential targets on site. All managerial staff of the general contractor, as well as the subcontractors on site, should be trained on the specifics of the security plan. The plan should be routinely reviewed with all employees on the site. Routine (minimum of monthly) audits of the security plan and its effectiveness should be conducted. These audits are to be documented and maintained for review.
- Perimeter Security: Basic site security starts with a good perimeter barrier system. The most common perimeter barrier will be fencing. Regardless of the type of barrier that is used, it must be secured and allow only a limited number of access points. When access points are not open, high quality locks are to be used to secure the opening. The keys to these locks should be maintained by either the general contractor or the security specialist. The keys can be logged out to personnel as needed to allow for access through pre-determined locations.
- Signage: Various warning signs are recommended to be placed along the entire perimeter, warning the general public that the site is hazardous and is monitored by 24-hour security (whether it is or not). "No trespassing" signs should also be placed along the perimeter to warn the public that trespassers will be arrested (whether they will be or not).
- Lighting: After-hours lighting should remain on through the night. The first level of lighting should be focused along the perimeter of the job site. Someone who is considering entering the site after hours to vandalize the site, damage property or steal material or equipment or cause harm to anyone within the site, is far less likely to do so if the site is well-lit. Extra light should be located near the storage areas of valuable assets, materials or equipment.
- CCTV: Closed Circuit Television positioned around the job site will assist in identifying and prosecuting trespassers and theft suspects. CCTV will also assist the general contractor in monitoring employee activities. DVR devices can be maintained, with offsite video storage back up.