Problem Solved

May 2005

What measures do you take to ensure jobsite security? (In other words, how do you keep the company’s tools and equipment from wandering off the site? Do you do anything special to protect the area from vandals at night? Do you use surveillance equipment? Do you use anti-theft devices on your more expensive tools?)

We use metal storage boxes with concealed hinges that only allow the key to fit into the lock (therefore, the lock cannot be cut). he boxes are large and hold the fasteners required in addition to the tools. Once filled, they are extremely heavy and therefore deter theft. Lasers and other expensive tools are kept in the foreman’s truck and taken home daily.—Chris Kirby, President, KirbyCo Builders, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida

This is a very tough question. We have not really found a good way to take care of this issue completely. We do have an onsite tool chest in which we can lock up most of our tools; however, in some cases they have used onsite forklifts and remove the entire chest.—Shaun Patterson, President, Patterson Construction, Bakersfield, California

We at Firstline Systems are using Steel Cargo Shipping Containers (Conex ) for most of our larger projects’ storage needs. They are large enough for most any equipment and can double up with a desk and phone if needed. Delivery and monthly costs are reasonable for dry secure storage.—Michael Newman, President, Firstline Systems Inc., Kirkland, Washington

Whenever we are in an area where we are worried about night theft we rent a portable storage container. They are very hard to break into. As far as tools wondering off the job, we keep the gang boxes closed.—Jeff Collins, President, Les Collins Plastering, St. Louis, Missouri

We do not leave our tool boxes open during working hours. We designate an apprentice as tool manager on every job. We make sure that the owner and the General have the proper safeguards in place.—John Laing, Rice Drywall, South El Monte, California

This is an area in commercial construction that the general contractors tend to have a bit more responsibility. We, as plaster subcontractors, keep power tools in a locked gang box that is chained to a steel column, etc. at night. We take the wheels off of our mixers and pumps, then chain them up to a solid structure at night. We do not use surveillance equipment, unless it is provided by the general contractor on a particular jobsite. We do not, as yet, use anti-theft devices on our expensive tools. We, like everyone else, have suffered losses of power tools and equipment, but I do not feel that is excessive for our industry. We do very little residential work, so I cannot offer comments in that area.—Dan Rodgers, President, Anchor Finish Systems, Inc., Arlington, Texas

We pack the tools on the truck at night.—JL Plastering

Site security can become very expensive. With a company that has many projects ongoing at one time, it is impossible to have a working security system on every project. We at MSI have found a solution that has worked and is very inexpensive. We have purchased false security cameras that use a 9 volt battery to run the red led light, which gives the camera the "in use” look. These are available for a little under $50 a piece. Since using these, we have not lost any tools or equipment from our jobsite trailers. The thieves see the camera and red light and are scared off.—Brentt Tumey, MSI, Inc., Rogers, Arkansas

We use metal job boxes and 20' sea containers on site to store the valuables. To date I have never had the oppurtunity to use surveillance of any kind. The more expensive and valuable they are, the more I have an tendency to take them to and from our shop every day.—Spike Orta, Precision Plastering & Drywall Inc., Yuma, Arizona

We use a system called Tool Watch. A tool is taken out to the job site and the employee has to sign for it. It is then his responsibility. The tool in tracked in Tool Watch. When the job is completed or tool returned, the employee is cleared of the tool. If the tool comes up short, the employee is charged a reduced price and has to pay for his loss. This way the tool is not left sitting around waiting to get stolen or the lock box left unlocked. Not much we can do with vandals at night. We have mentioned in job site meetings that we would split the cost for a nighttime guard if everyone else would take part in it. We do not use antitheft devices on our heavy duty equipment, but we do remove tires and towing gear from such. Locks, chains and keeping them in a well lighted area helps.—Joe Vernaglia, Ecker USA

Most of us use job boxes and job trailers and take some of the real expensive stuff home at night.—Frank Guidera, Owner, Performance Exteriors, Inc., Waxhaw, North Carolina