How To Secure Your Job Site

09 August 2015 / By John Blatchford
Tailor Shop at Night
Redeveloping a building in an urban environment comes with many challenges. The logistics of moving materials, removing trash, using large machinery and navigating traffic patterns all make construction in a dense setting very difficult. An additional challenge comes from securing your job site as high traffic leads to a lot of eyes potentially looking to make some quick money. As unfortunate as it may seem, people are often looking for an opportunity to break into your building and you should not make it easy for them. We've had a few break-ins during our projects primarily because we were not diligent with our security measures. Here are some tips:
  • Use 3/4" plywood to cover all ground-floor openings and openings at fire escapes
    • Close all openings every day. Screw shut windows that do not need access often and get hinges and locks for doors that will be in frequent use. 1/2" plywood is too thin and can be easily broken (may be appropriate for windows not accessible by fire escape). You may also choose to prime the plywood so it will stand up to rain and sun. Most of your contractors will not carry drills so screwing doors shut can be problematic.
  • Use a combination lock rather than keyed entry
    • There is nothing more annoying than being at the store and getting a call from your plumber that he needs to get in the building when all you have is one set of keys for the locks. Keys get lost. Use a combination lock.
  • Use a job box to lock up anything worth more than $20
    • If somebody does get into your building, a heavy-duty job box is the best way to secure your tools (especially power tools). Spend the money to get a good one that can't be broken or stolen easily. Where possible, secure your box to the floor or ensure it is heavy enough not to be easily dragged away. Do not buy cheap, you will pay for it in the end.
  • Use security cameras and post that they are in use
    • There are a lot of good options on the market as far as security cameras are concerned; we've used this one in the past. The benefit of this camera is if you have WiFi at your building, you can monitor and record the video feed from your building from anywhere using a mobile app. Even without WiFi, a plugged-in security camera is a major deterrent. Prior to getting power to the building, you may even install the camera as a dummy using signage to make sure your surveillance is known.
  • Lock ladders, generators, table saws and large tools together and to something stable 
    • For tools that don't fit into your job box such as ladders, generators, compressors, table saws and planers; it's wise to lock them all together using a bike lock so that they will not easily be taken in the case of a break-in. If you can lock them to wall framing, your job box, or something permanent; that also helps.
  • Get to know your neighbors
    • The best thing you can do is be friendly and compassionate to those around you. They may help dissuade people they know from breaking into your building and they are additional eyes on the street that will be there for you.
Do you have any additional security tips? Let us know in the comments.
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About The Author

John Blatchford

John Blatchford is the founder of Kunst, a general contractor and board member of the Over the Rhine Museum. He currently lives in Over the Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio.

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