Building Site Security


Building Site Security

Even though insurance will minimise the impact a theft or arson attack will have on your project financially, the incident will cause a delay which can be frustrating. Self-Build Zone have picked these simple pointers, which will reduce the chances of your site being targeted and are based on our own customers’ experiences. The principle of building site security is to make it difficult enough to deter any potential criminals and also to buy more time for the police to respond.

  • It may seem simple, but thieves look for sites that are shut down or unattended.
  • Many break-ins occur in the evening, within an hour of the last person leaving the site. Try to make irregular visits to the site and inform the local police of its locality.
  • Temporary site fencing helps prevent unwanted access to your site and is an inconvenience that will make a thief think twice.
  • Most thefts actually follow a tip-off from someone who has been on your site legitimately (like a delivery driver) so by insisting on seeing ID for everyone attending your site and noting it in a book, this danger can be reduced. Should you feel uneasy about anyone in particular accessing your site then do not hesitate to take a photograph of them on your phone or another device.
  • The stage your build has reached is a signal to thieves as to what’s likely to be on site so do not leave valuable or easily transportable items in view and if possible lock them away in a garage or site container. Remember any container or room is only as good as the security device (padlock) on the final exit so often people will use a £1 padlock to protect thousands of pounds of goods! Remember also that the economic climate can determine the value and therefore desirability of things such as copper tubing, lead flashings etc.

Identify what the vulnerable items are and take steps to secure them.


Hand tools, power tools, generators, pumps, etc. are easily removed and quickly sold on and are therefore major targets.

  • Ask yourself – does it actually need to be on site? If hired and no longer needed then return them to the hire company as soon as possible.
  • Take them home with you, but don’t leave them in the car or van unless it has security locks, an alarm, immobiliser and preferably some form of tracking system. The vehicle should also have signs on it highlighting this to deter thieves.
  • Store them in a well-secured location out of sight. A 20’ steel container with a high-security padlock is ideal (but please check the doors of any container cannot be lifted off). Alternatively, use a purpose-built tool store that is either locked within the property or is secured to the ground. There are now alarm systems that can be fitted to containers and tool stores.
  • Excavators, dumpers, hi-lifts, compressors, mixers, whackers, rollers and just about any item of heavy plant, are obvious targets.
  • Ask yourself – does it need to be on site? Off-hire it!
  • Immobilise it or use defensive parking (blocking in) and remove a battery or wheel.
  • Chain it and any spare buckets, equipment etc., together with high tensile chain and high-security padlock.
  • Try and make sure it is stored out of sight – seems simple but out of sight out of mind.
  • Request an item of plant that’s fitted with a tracker and advertise the fact.


Timber sheds offer little protection and garages with up-and-over doors need to be secured using deadbolts into brickwork/concrete at the top, bottom and sides to prevent a break-in. Domestic garage doors are mainly useless.

​Other Materials
  • Materials and items like lead, tiles, slates, insulation, kitchens, appliances, bathrooms, windows, doors, plumbing and electrical supplies etc. are commonly stolen.
  • Verify the identity of people who deliver materials and equipment to your site by requesting ID, and note it down in a book or even photograph their ID. That way, they are less likely to tell someone else what they have seen, because you know who they are!
  • Adopt a just in time attitude for deliveries.
  • Store equipment in a well-secured location out of sight. A 20’ steel container with a high-security padlock is ideal.
  • Even if the house is secure, store items upstairs out of sight. Never leave anything downstairs – it’s too tempting.
  • If practical, fit an alarm to the house, container or store and preferably one that is connected to a central station, particularly in remote locations.
Call the Self-Build Zone Team
0345 230 9874
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