Protect Against Construction Site Theft in the Post-Pandemic Boom

Theft of building materials, tools and machinery costs the construction industry between £400-800 million per year, depending on which research and methodology we refer to. Either end is likely to be a low estimate as the studies only take reported crimes into account.

Unfortunately, the recovery rate for stolen construction site equipment and materials is so low that much goes unreported. It’s also common. So common, in fact, that theft and vandalism are often simply considered inevitable costs of running a construction site.

A survey by the Chartered Institute of Builders found that 21% of respondents experienced theft weekly, 63% monthly and 92% yearly. For vandalism, the figures were 19% weekly, 60% monthly and 90% yearly.

While the study is a decade old at this point, there has been no evidence that the situation has improved and if there has been any reduction in theft and crime since its publication, it will have surely been undone by the rise in construction site crime during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the country closed, construction sites were easy pickings

Plant and tool theft saw a 50% spike in the months immediately following the lockdown as construction sites were left vacant and economic activity reduced to the bare essentials. Now, the construction industry is enjoying a full-force recovery all the way into a boom, yet criminals continue to plague sites across the country.

There are many potential reasons for this. Organised crime also had a bad year in 2020, with lockdown drying up many of their usual moneymaking avenues. They may now be looking to recoup their costs by hitting construction sites, an old favourite target for criminals, considered easy, low risk pickings due to the low recovery rates mentioned above.

Materials are also more valuable than ever. The combination of the post-lockdown construction boom and supply line congestion has sent prices for building materials soaring. Overwhelmed logistics, desperate buyers and poorly secured construction sites creates provide many opportunities for criminals to advantage of.

Why tolerate theft when site security is so effective?

The fact that the vast majority of construction sites will be victim to vandalism or theft is very concerning for us, because we know how effective a robust security solution can be for protecting sites from both. What this tells us is that construction sites are forgoing effective security, most likely to reduce costs.

We ask any construction site managers reading this to consider whether they can afford to simply deal with theft and vandalism like they may have pre-pandemic. Deliveries are backed up for weeks or more, so lost or damaged plant machinery, tools and materials could be a project-ruining setback.

Here is Magenta Security’s advice for securing a construction site against vandalism and theft, utilising a combination of good practice and security services:

At Magenta Security, all enquiries are entitled to a free site risk assessment, allowing us to fine-tune the security solutions you purchase to your risk level and budget. You don’t have to accept theft and vandalism as a fact of construction, get in touch today on 0800 772 3786 to secure your site, your staff, and your success in what should be a great year for the construction industry.


Magenta Security provide award winning security services throughout the UK. We are in the top 5% of ACS approved contractors and were the first security company in Europe to be awarded ISO 14001 for our environmental management systems.

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