Recently, there was a controversial shooting in Georgia. One of the justifications pushed for this attack was that the victim was caught on video snooping around a construction jobsite in a neighborhood. This justification holds no merit because an unwanted visitor snooping around a construction jobsite is commonplace and a daily occurrence. For that reason, builders and homeowners should take tangible and passive measures to guard and protect their construction jobsite to prevent theft and vandalization without shooting people.
The other aspect motivating unwanted jobsite visits is the current price of building materials. With lumber, plywood, and other construction materials at record high prices, people who have projects of their own would love to stop at your project to find building materials. “I thought it was trash,” is the excuse most thieves use when caught stealing things from a jobsite. Have a firm policy for all contractors and subcontractors working on your jobsite—nothing leaves, including the trash, without your permission.
The first thing a builder or homeowner should do after putting up the permit box is post “No Trespassing” signs throughout the jobsite. Prominently posted signs with strong language about pressing charges for trespassing will discourage honest, nosey people from walking onto your jobsite. Do not be stingy with posting them—make the signs prominent and plentiful.
When the construction process starts, guard and protect all building materials. Thieves understand pricing better than you, and currently the prices of many building material items are at record levels. During the foundation and framing stages of your construction project, do not ship out more material in a day that can be nailed down or locked up. Unemployment is high, building material prices are at record levels, and many items are hard to get with extended lead times. This is not the time to have building materials stolen—only have on the jobsite what can be installed or used that day.
Prioritize the completion of the outside shell of your new home or remodel project quickly so that windows and doors can be locked. While this will not keep a hardened criminal out, it will generally keep most teenagers, vandals, and wild critters out of your project. Do not make it easy for just anyone to walk onto your project.
Modern motion sensor lights and cameras are very affordable and provide a real deterrent if the homeowner or builder advises would be trespassers that the premises are under surveillance. Some people have a misconception when it comes to using a surveillance system. Security cameras and surveillance systems are not designed to simply catch people doing bad things on your property—they are also installed to deter them from making the attempt. In my view, installing a security camera and surveillance system without prominently posting a warning sign is a waste.
Do not store expensive tools or materials inside your project. Also, if you are doing a remodeling project while you are living in the home, lock up and secure all your valuables. Labor is very tight in the construction industry and many companies have been forced to hire employees and subcontractors with blemished backgrounds. While most contractors or subcontractors are extremely honest, it only takes one dishonest person. Until work is completed on the project, secure all your valuable items.
With the price of plywood currently over $20 per sheet and 2x4 studs nearing $6 per piece, it only takes a few pieces of each to lose $100. Guarding and protecting your construction jobsite can save real money. However, please do so peacefully—do not be alarmed when you find out that your neighbor wandered onto your jobsite simply being nosey while it is under construction.
Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House, which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.