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Construction on Pause: Safeguarding Sites During Project Delays


28 April 2023

The UK Government has announced that parts of HS2 construction will be delayed by two years in a bid to cut costs. We’re seeing this trend across the wider construction sector with inflation, supply chain issues and rising material costs contributing to project delays.  

These mothballed sites quickly become vulnerable to intrusions unless the right safety and security measures are quickly put in place. When a site is left unoccupied and unguarded, it becomes a target for vandalism, theft, and trespass, which can lead to damage or loss of valuable equipment, and even potential liability issues from resulting injuries. The damage caused by such unauthorised access can also hinder the restarting of operations, requiring extensive repairs, upgrades, and regulatory compliance measures.  

We’ve put together recommendations below based on insights from previous projects spanning infrastructure, commercial buildings, power generation, retail, and vacant property. They demonstrate how our Crime Intelligence, Site Security, and Forensic Marking solutions combine to protect sites until the project resumes.   

Calculate the Risks  

DeterTech's Crime Intelligence  unit works with law enforcement and industry to develop intelligence-led reports that identify areas of greater risk, persistent offenders, and their modus operandi. Crime Intelligence collates real-time data from clients, law enforcement agencies, and other partners. Our team’s experienced analysts use this information to provide clients and the police with intelligence alerts, tactical and strategic assessments, all prepared in line with the National Intelligence Model. 

Crime Intelligence creates crime mapping dashboards using local crime data, which are useful tools for understanding emerging crime series. These dashboards are constantly updated and overlay crime hotspots. DeterTech also provides a comprehensive approach to construction site security by collaborating with the police and industry, empowering construction companies to see at a glance where criminals are operating nationally, where they're most vulnerable, and where to target their resources for maximum impact. 

Locate the access points 

Before implementing any security measures, a site survey is required to understand the specific risks at each location. This survey should identify security flaws and tailor security measures to address them. DeterTech's experienced security consultants can provide guidance on the most effective solutions for each site, taking account of location, layout, past incidents and other factors. The key access points should be identified, and prominent signage displayed to advertise that the site is protected, and trespassers will be prosecuted.  

Proactively Monitor Intrusions 

Surveillance technology, such as CCTV cameras, are an effective way to monitor construction sites and detect criminal activity. DeterTech's PID 360 rapid deployment surveillance unit includes advanced intruder detection, day and night image capture, and encrypted 4G communications to a visually verified, 24-7-365 alarm receiving centre (ARC). The DeterTech ARC is a secure building where a team of SIA licenced operators view all camera activations, and if there is a trespasser, will follow the escalation protocol as set by the customer.  Usual protocol options include phoning the customer, dispatching a mobile security guard to the site, or phoning the police.  

Ensure Property is ‘Too Hot to Handle’ 

Forensic Marking is a security measure that involves applying a unique, invisible mark to equipment and materials, enabling authorities to trace stolen items back to the site and increase the likelihood of a successful prosecution. It has a proven track record of reducing theft and vandalism, while also increasing criminal conviction rates. It forms a critical component of an integrated mothballed site solution, providing comprehensive and reliable security to deter and prevent theft and vandalism.  

DeterTech's SmartWater technology provides a two-tier forensic marking solution for sites, both pre- and post-crime. Firstly, given SmartWater's strong brand recognition, prominent signage acts as a deterrent to potential criminals and discourages criminals from attempting to steal assets. Secondly, In the unfortunate event that assets are stolen, the use of SmartWater forensic marking can assist law enforcement in quickly identifying the stolen goods and tracing them back to their original location. With a 100% conviction rate in contested court cases, SmartWater has proven to be highly effective in aiding criminal investigations. Furthermore, due to the close collaboration between DeterTech and law enforcement agencies, officers actively inspect scrapyards for SmartWater, which serves as an indicator of stolen property. 

A comprehensive approach 

Securing and protecting construction sites where projects have been halted necessitates a comprehensive approach that includes leveraging crime intelligence, controlling access, monitoring sites through surveillance, and utilising forensic marking technology. Security solutions from DeterTech can assist security managers in balancing adaptability and cost-effectiveness in their security strategy while ensuring the smooth continuation of business activity once construction resumes. With DeterTech's innovative and intelligence-led security solutions, construction site managers can rest assured knowing their sites are secure until work resumes. 

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