Under lock and key
There is a range of tools and technologies that can be used keep construction sites safe
There is little doubt that construction sites are, by their nature, an attractive target for criminal elements and dishonest workers alike thanks to the plant, equipment, and valuable materials typically found at these locations.
Given this stark reality, new and evolving techniques that have the potential to mitigate losses and to keep building work on track have to be welcomed, especially given the fluid nature of such sites.
Discussing construction site security in the context of threat containment around the perimeter, it is important that gates and other perimeter openings are designed in such a way that they permit effective control – and blocking – of inbound and outbound foot and vehicular traffic. This is particularly critical given the wide variety of outside contractors that require frequent access to such sites. In light of this it is recommended that busy and/or high value projects should think about adopting traffic control measures such as gates or mobile bollards. Consideration should also be given to secure storage for high value tools and equipment when a site is unmanned or only partially manned out-of-hours.
Turning to the specific technical systems that can be deployed, it is worth reiterating that, for maximum impact, these should always be properly integrated into the overall security plan and systems on a site. It makes much more sense if CCTV systems and access control solutions, for example, can communicate with each other rather than sitting in their own individual silos.
Looking more closely on the access control side, the strong push to have biometrics integrated into solutions serves to underline the recognition of the enhanced security, and day-to-day ‘time and attendance’ management of sites – like construction projects – that can be delivered by building in the ability to uniquely identify individuals from their physical characteristics.
On the subject of video surveillance, VCA (Video Content Analysis) or video analytics is a good fit for construction, as it unlocks the potential to use sophisticated algorithms to create virtual boundaries and provide an alert to an operator or on-site security guard.
The advantage for sites is that as these tripwires can be created ‘virtually’, so it is easy to change the parameters as work progresses.
Advances in surveillance and communications technology mean that rapidly deployable CCTV – in all of its guises – is finding favour where there is a requirement to address security, safety, and management issues in a constantly changing environment. Crucially, the latest video surveillance solutions can be put in place without major works and then redeployed as the layout of a site and phases of construction move on.
At the leading edge of fast-track video surveillance are fully-integrated, mobile CCTV towers. Connectivity to a monitoring point can be supported by GPRS, 3G/4G and Wi-Fi. In terms of powering such devices this can now be accomplished via the mains, on-site generators, solar panels or even fuel cells. This flexibility means that the latest units are perfect for deployment at highways and other infrastructure projects where there is not necessarily going to be access to the grid.
So, the good news for construction sites is that despite presenting one of the most challenging locations to secure and manage, great strides have been made in recent years in the physical and technology-based security solutions that can be employed to tackle such issues head-on.