Once again, it is that time of year. Many people are looking forward to taking a well-deserved break and spending quality time with their families and friends as the holiday season approaches. Of course, the construction industry is no exemption to this fact. Christmas and New Year are just around the corner, and many construction workers are all excited to take a breather from all of the tiresome, demanding, and hard work. It is no secret that managing construction can be more difficult at this time of year because of the chilly temperatures, bad weather, and shorter days. Thus, this festive season is an excellent time to rest, recoup, and take a reset.
However, before you leave for the holidays, consider the security and safety of your construction sites. Break-ins on construction sites are not rare, and inclement weather can cause damage to fencing and temporary or partially constructed structures. Preparing for your site for the holidays ensures that you do not have any unexpected interruptions or unpleasant shocks when you return in the new year. With this in mind, security measures should be implemented to prevent unauthorized visitors and damage that could cause your construction progress to be delayed by weeks.
Any of these factors could cause the project to be delayed, be it days or weeks, and in the worst-case scenario, for months. That is costly in various ways and not just in terms of money. Yes, you may have to settle a late penalty, which costs you money. But it can also harm your firm’s reputation with the client.
Every site is unique, and therefore you will need to examine the requirements of your project management for construction sites in order to create a comprehensive checklist. Now is an excellent opportunity to emphasize best practices for the construction industry in securing the construction sites for this holiday season.
Best Practices to Secure Your Construction Sites
Ensuring that your site is as safe and secure as possible throughout the holidays could save you money from damage or theft. The holiday season usually starts on Thanksgiving Day and continues until the New Year, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve. This is typically the most extended period of closure for any project and is often considered when planning out construction timelines. It is critical that these sites are left secure and safe at all times.
Assess Your Site’s Safety Risks
Every construction site is unique and different, so evaluating site risk should be your first when planning your security measures. One approach could be determining whether your site is low, medium, or high risk. Think about whether your construction project is high-profile or large-scale and more likely to catch the attention. The greater the risk, the more the level of security you may require.
Develop a Construction Site Security Plan
Developing a construction site security plan to keep it safe and secure throughout the holidays and even throughout the year is a great way to save yourself time and lessen the risk of delays. A checklist of methods and procedures for ensuring the building site is included in the plan. Include all the probable scenarios that could occur during the winter or while the office is closed for the holidays and develop strategies to respond to each scenario.
Prevent Property Threats
One of the simplest and easiest things you can do to secure your site is to prevent property threats. Ensure that any valuable things are withdrawn from the worksite or concealed from plain sight. Lock vehicles, possible entrances, and exits such as doors and windows, and keep all tools and equipment in a secure warehouse or storage space.
Secure Your Inventory Onsite
If you have been in the construction industry for a while now, then you are familiar with how complicated it is to manage construction inventory. Yes, inventory management software is available to make it seamless and optimized, but if inventory is lost, stolen, or damaged by unforeseen circumstances. It can indeed put a dent in your project management for construction. Make sure you thoroughly consider what materials, tools, or equipment will be kept onsite over the season. Only order what you need and keep a low amount on hand to limit the chance of theft. Suppose you must keep construction goods onsite, attempt to keep them in a shed or another secured container.
Be Ready for the Weather
Harsh weather conditions, such as snow, hail, ice, or rain, are one reason why projects are often delayed. Storms and heavy winds can also be destructive to scaffolding and other temporary structures like site fencing. Some winter weather conditions are too hazardous for workers to work in. Weather reports should be checked frequently because the weather can change instantly.
Here are two ways you can keep your site ready for any possible weather conditions:
1. Clear the Ice and Snow
Ice and snow are responsible for a considerable percentage of construction site deaths. It can make your site slippery and your materials and equipment rusty and defective. As a result, clear any ice and snow as quickly as feasible. Remove it from the stairwell, ladders, scaffolding, and roof.
2. Prepare for Flooding and Erosion
The proper erosion control methods will protect a closed workplace from erosion damage and protect local streams and animals. Proper handling and usage of erosion control supplies, such as sandbags and silt fences, are dependable and of excellent quality can reduce the risk of erosion and flooding of closed sites caused by melted snow and ice or heavy summer rains.
Proper housekeeping should be implemented before closing down the site to ensure. On and off the site, pathways and walkways should be free of mud, debris, and other things that could hinder or injure people. Tarps, plastic, and cardboard packaging that could be blown away by the wind should be secured down or removed from the location. Planning ahead of time to remove these from the site can also help mitigate this risk. Listed below are some things you should double-check before leaving the site:
Scaffolding should be made secure, including installing alarms, removing access, and completing incomplete scaffold parts. Scaffold inspections should be performed before the holiday shutdown period to ensure that any loose and risky materials have been removed.
Backfilling or covering over excavated areas will keep them from collapsing. When feasible, avoid leaving these areas exposed. Before the break, temporary works checks and inspections should be performed to ensure no risk of the excavation collapsing.
3. Fire Hazards
Make sure that you follow the offsite fire risk assessment to keep the surrounding buildings and your construction site safe from any potential fires over the holidays. Fuels and combustibles should be removed or stored in a secure container, and ignition sources such as electricals should be removed or disconnected if necessary.
Utilize a Remote Video Surveillance
Remote video monitoring and surveillance is your best business security option, not just during the holidays but all year round. Artificial and human intelligence collaborate to monitor the construction site, focusing its attention on the entire property. Advanced video analytics monitor for specific scenarios and notify a trained security operator when something unusual occurs. Video surveillance can detect the effects of winter on the site, such as safety concerns, flooding from an unexpected and rapid thaw, and bottlenecks in the movement of people and vehicles on and off the site. Cameras strategically positioned see a lot more and view everything without regard for danger. While the operators may not be present, they can communicate with those on the building site via audio speakers and phone 911 if they notice something unusual.
Limit Access to Authorized Personnel Only
Limit your automatic or operating systems to restrict access to authorized personnel only in the event of an emergency. Controlling the flow of people through your construction site during the holidays is critical to providing a safe, secure, and efficient workplace for employees, customers, and visitors while keeping transparency and accountability throughout. Display emergency contact numbers in case of an emergency, such as a break-in or hoarding damage during the closing time. Take time to go over your insurance to ensure you’re adequately covered.
Do Not Rush Your Accomplishments
Lastly, do not rush your accomplishments during the holiday season. General contractors and project managers are constantly on the go, as clients expect projects to be done, or significant progress can be seen before the holiday break. You might feel pressured to finish your construction targets to have a nice and quiet holiday with no commitments bugging you at the back of your mind. However, rushing a project often leads to work, health, and safety oversights. Contractors cannot afford to sacrifice work quality to fulfill a deadline. So, while you aim to finish the job on schedule and budget, make sure to maintain high-quality standards throughout.