by Sam Leeder, director at actus insurance Our columnist gives his advice on the best ways to prevent construction plant theft.

The property and construction sectors in the UK are particularly busy now, with contractors and materials becoming increasingly expensive and hard to get hold of.

Sadly, something that always coincides with a buoyant construction sector is the increase in the theft of construction plant, not only leaving businesses with having to potentially make an insurance claim, but also with the stress of trying to replace the equipment in a difficult market, leading to increased costs and disruption

Typically, items of plant are stolen and then shipped out of the country within 24 hours, so the chances of recovering them are very remote.

For those businesses who require very specialist pieces of equipment, the loss of one of these can have a significant impact on the company’s turnover as these specialist items can take months to obtain a replacement.

While insurers will pay to replace items of plant, the additional impacts can be much more far reaching and proves risk management is a better solution for most businesses, rather than relying solely on insurance.

So, what can be done to prevent these thefts occurring in the first place?

Firstly, consider whether you have to store items of plant on site. Whilst the answer will most likely be yes, if at all possible remove the plant from site at the earliest opportunity to a secure compound.  The security on many construction sites merely consists of a piece of Palisade fencing, which can simply be unbolted, leaving equipment vulnerable

If you have to leave equipment on site, consider what kind of site security is most appropriate.  If you can combine multiple measure to deter opportunistic thieves this would also be advisable.  For instance, if you can, combine a secure compound with a plant safe. We also recommend finding a way to block in the most important items, either by parking other vehicles in front or possibly placing concrete blocks in front – this can also be combined with CCTV to make a strong deterrent for thieves

Consider having trackers installed on the most business-critical items of plant.  These systems can be effective in not only alerting you if an item of plant moves when it shouldn’t, but can also immobilise the equipment, making it much more difficult to move

Overall, it is impossible to stop the determined thief. However, if you can make your site the most unappealing to them, they are likely to move onto one which is an easier target.

If you would like any more information about how best to secure your items of plant, or the associated insurances, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0114 398 4498 or by visiting: actusinsurance.co.uk