Keep Your Construction Sites Safe While They’re Shutdown
Working in construction can be challenging, especially when you have to stop a project abruptly. We know there are all types of disasters and issues that can shut down your job site or cause you to put a project on hold. We’re here to help prevent any disasters from happening.
The most common causes of loss at construction sites are:
We’ve put together tips and information you can use to help you prevent these kinds of losses. From putting together a plan to prepare for a shutdown, to ways you can manage your risk while your business is idle, learn how you can protect your company.
Prepare a ‘Stop Work’ Plan
Unexpected issues may come up that force you to shut down your business or stop building in the middle of a project. To deal with these unforeseen circumstances, you must have a plan. A “Stop Work” plan addresses specific risks at a construction or project site. It’s a good idea to communicate your plan to contractors involved at your site.
Cuándo creating a “Stop Work” plan, you’ll want to address various risks your site faces, such as:
Fire: Remove flammable and combustible liquids from your site. Make sure you also have protocols in place for temporary heating devices, like space heaters. And don’t forget to inspect your fire sprinkler systems. If they’re active, maintain service and monitor them at all times. If they’re not active, drain the lines, shut off and secure the main water supply line valves.
Water: Create a Water Damage Prevention Plan. Your plan should include protocols around shutting off the domestic water supply during nonworking hours and draining it prior to leaving the site. Don’t leave temporary seals, penetrations, walls or roof exposed to weather and water. If you have to shut down or stop work during the winter, provide heat in buildings to protect pipes from freezing. It’s also a good idea to use technology for leak detection while you’re away from the site.
Weather: Have a plan that addresses preparation and recovery. Continue monitoring weather to determine if it’ll impact your site.
Theft and vandalism: Install continuous surveillance at your site, such as:
- Security systems
- Motion detectors
- Closed-circuit television (CCTV)
You can also put up a perimeter around your site by using fencing, gates and signage. To protect storage trailers and their contents, use a “high security” padlock. To secure office equipment:
- Secure computers to desks with locking devices
- Keep a master record of all serial numbers for equipment, like tools, computers, phones and radios
- Back up computer data on a weekly basis and store the data in a secure, off-site location
Essential Steps To Protect Your Empty Construction Sites
There are many risks and liabilities that come with vacant construction sites, and they can quickly turn into very expensive costs. We’ve put together a list to help reduce your risks if you have to maintain an idle construction site.
If you have to temporarily shut down your construction site, make sure you notify your insurance carrier or agent or broker. A few other key areas you’ll want to pay attention to include:
- Access control to make sure you’re preventing unauthorized people from going into your job site. This can include installing fencing, gates, lights, signage or security cameras.
- Materials that could be damaged by rain water or blown away by strong winds. You can move loose materials to a safe area or put them away in storage.
- Equipment that your business owns or rents should be moved to a secure location so it’s not sitting on an idle site. For large equipment that has to stay on site, like cranes, lower sections of it or secure the boom in the event of high winds.
- Utilities, because you’ll want to turn off services not required for fire protection, fire alarms, sump pumps or heating.
You can also reduce your business’ risk during a shutdown by visiting the site often to monitor conditions. You may want to visit on a weekly basis at first and then make changes depending on what you see. When visiting a site:
- Walk the exterior to check on fencing, gates and lights
- Make sure there’s no potential flood issues, like areas where water could pool
- Check that hydrants on the property are visible and readily accessible
Ensure Your Equipment Is Protected in a Shutdown
You rely on expensive equipment and tools while you’re working, so making sure they’re safe and secure when you’re not working is important. The National Equipment Register (NER) estimates the total value of equipment stolen from construction sites to be between $300 million and $1 billion annually.1 Make sure you take the measures necessary to keep your construction equipment from getting stolen.
Some tips you can use to keep your equipment safe and secure include:
- Taking inventory so you know what equipment your business owns or leases.
- Securing the premises and work site by installing perimeter fencing and “No Trespassing” signs. You can also increase police patrols or hire a private guard service.
- Securing individual equipment that’s left on construction sites. Use “high security” locks and make sure you have a process in place to track locks and keys.
- Registering equipment with NER to track serial numbers, engine numbers, transmission numbers and other identification numbers.
- Tracking equipment and vehicles to find stolen business property. Some systems can help recover stolen construction vehicles and equipment, others can continuously track property by using GPS.
- Training employees and contractors for the proper shutdown of a construction site. Your plans and protocols should include securing vehicles, equipment and property.
1 National Equipment Register, “2016 Theft Report”