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5 Ways to Protect Building Materials from Theft

Construction Equipment

With rising material costs, construction sites are becoming even more attractive to thieves. Dark, quiet job sites are easy targets that are typically not well-protected. This can be because of a lack of foresight or because a budget-conscious contractor is trying to save money.
Construction projects offer a wide variety of goods that a thief can easily use or sell, including:

  • Wood
  • Copper
  • Rock and gravel
  • Tools
  • Equipment
  • Appliances

However, this doesn’t mean you’re helpless. There are definite ways to secure your work. To help keep thieves away from your job site, we’ve got five ways to protect your building materials.

1. Secure materials when possible

While it’s not always possible to store large materials or large quantities of materials in secure locations, there are a few reliable solutions. Rent shipping containers that can fit a large amount of materials with lockable doors. Store tools and other valuables in the building if it can be secured. Always put a fence around your jobsite and cover the fence with fabric so outsiders can’t see what’s inside.

2. Make sure the site is well lit

Install plenty of lighting around the site. Pay special attention to access points and areas where materials are being stored. You can use motion sensors to help save power and to deter would-be intruders from approaching your site.

3. Set up cameras

Setting up a full security camera system on your site is a great monitoring solution, but it’s not always feasible. However, many contractors are using time-lapse photography to document project progress. By staging time-lapse cameras around the site, you can capture photos of materials stored and who’s on site. Be sure to store your photos and videos to the cloud for quick and easy access anywhere, at any time.

4. Hire security

If the budget allows it, it pays to hire private security to patrol the jobsite during the off hours throughout the evening and early morning. To keep costs down, you can ask them to perform drive-by’s during the night. If you have a large enough site, you may want to have multiple guards on the same shift.

5. Document materials that are kept on-site

Each day, take photographs of materials stored on site and perform an inventory. You can regularly check the stock against your inventory and if something’s missing, you have photographic evidence that it was there. Also keep records of equipment IDs and vehicle identification numbers. You’ll need this type of information when filing a police report.


Theft is not 100% preventable, but by documenting and photographing the site you will have the evidence you need to prove that the materials were there. Protecting construction materials from theft helps prevent losses and delays on the job. Always ensure that your site is as secure as possible before leaving for the day. If it can’t be locked up and secured, you may want to look at delivering your materials as needed. By not storing materials on-site, you can help prevent theft. Being prepared and taking extra measures will save you time, money, and resources.

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