Construction costs are already high, and unfortunately, there’s another factor driving them up: theft. Pilferage and job site security problems have always been present in the construction industry, but now changes in laws about prosecuting criminals and economic hardship mean that theft is on the rise.
Thieves are taking everything from lumber and insulation to roofing tiles and tools, and the prices of these materials have skyrocketed in recent years. A two-by-four that used to cost $2 or $3 can now cost $6 or $7. This means that stealing even a small number of boards can be worth hundreds of dollars.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to trace stolen materials. They don’t have serial numbers, and it’s difficult to secure job sites unless you have a fence all the way around that’s locked. However, even this isn’t foolproof, as some items can simply be chucked over the fence.
Overall, the rise in theft is a real problem for the construction industry and the economy as a whole, and it’s making building costs even higher.
Security is important on job sites, but it’s also important to make sure that work can be done efficiently. Even if your job site is open, there’s a risk that criminals could steal smaller items, such as wire, which is a valuable commodity. A spool of wire can cost several hundred dollars, and thieves may sell it for scrap.
As a contractor, you need to factor in the possibility of job site theft when calculating your costs. Insurance may or may not cover the losses, and coverage may only apply within a certain distance of the job site. If you’re farther out than that, you may have to bear the loss yourself.
Job site theft is becoming more common, and the value of stolen items is increasing due to the rising cost of building materials. For example, a bucket of paint that used to cost $20 or $30 may now cost $100. This loss can be very costly, not just in terms of the lost materials but also the lost time and delays waiting for new materials to arrive.
We’d like to hear from contractors and building project managers about their experiences with job site theft. How are you protecting your job sites from theft by both external burglars and internal theft by employees or contractors? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
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