Thieves are ‘opportunistic’. If they see a chance they will take a chance and that is just as true on a building site as it is for our cars, workplaces and established homes.
It is estimated that theft from construction sites across Victoria makes up 1% of the cost of a new home – often a cost that the industry passes onto purchasers.
Thieves are just looking for the obvious things – tradies tools, construction machinery, even white-goods. They can also target copper piping or other building materials.
There are steps that the builder, the tradies and even the new home owner can take to remove the opportunity, increase the risk and decrease the value of items, to in turn prevent the offense.
Before construction commences both builders and owners should introduce themselves to any residents already living locally. Having neighbours know who should and shouldn’t be on the site can help them to identify suspicious or risky behaviour.
From the start of the build it is worthwhile installing sensor lights, together with a form of CCTV.
Fencing can also discourage people from entering the property or at the least make it obvious if someone is entering the property who should not.
After hour contact details should be prominently displayed so that neighbours or police can contact the builder or home owner if something has occurred.
Where possible coordinate the delivery of building materials to when they will be needed, so that valuable goods are not left on site over many days, in particular out of work hours and evenings.
If it should be necessary to leave material on site, consider a storage container and mark all material with the lot number and the builders’ details.
Prior to completion of the home, the purchasers should consider installing security measures, such as requesting for extra long screws to be used for all door hinges so that the door can’t be kicked out at the frame. It is also worthwhile to mark white goods or make note of serial numbers, before handover.
If the house is to be left vacant after the build has been completed and prior to the owners moving in, the owners should ensure that they install sensor lights, leave fencing/gates in place, and as always, advise neighbours as to when the house will be occupied. You may even want to consider camping out overnight until you move fully in.