Security in the Construction Industry
Contractors are no stranger to the costs of equipment and supply theft at construction sites. In recent decades, the problem has become so epidemic that most Contractors have developed different strategies to offset costs including: increasing insurance coverage, adding line items in the budget for equipment and inventory losses and even raising prices. Although these strategies may offset some costs initially, it is not an effective long term solution to the problem. This reactive approach will only lead to increased deductibles, work stoppages or delays, lost man hours, and a never ending cycle of equipment and supply replacement. It is these unexpected costs that can rapidly erode the margins on any project. In an environment of increased competition and shrinking margins, the Contractor(s) that can learn to anticipate and control costs through effective security planning strategies will be one step ahead of their competitors.
We could spend volumes talking about the cost benefit analysis of security planning during project development. For those who are already caught in this vicious cycle and are looking for a “better way” of doing business and minimizing unpredictable costs, this article is for you. Security planning needs to be a well-defined, proactive methodology throughout all phases of project development. Below are some recommendations to consider in security planning that will help Contractors develop a quantifiable metric for doing cost benefit analysis.
- Appoint a Security Liaison/Manager to coordinate security planning at the site. This can be an internal employee or a reputable, experienced contract security expert. The key is you need someone representing your security interest that has experiences in physical security, vulnerability assessment, risk mitigation, and security planning. The Security Liaison should immediately establish relationships with local civil authorities.
- Conduct pre-construction assessments.
- Criticality Assessment (CA). The CA prioritizes your most critical assets at the site and identifies the qualitative and quantitative impact of those assets being lost or compromised.
- Threat Assessment (TA). The TA involves in-depth analysis to determine the specific threats to your assets based on crime trends, historical data, and predictive intelligence.
- Physical Security Vulnerability Assessment. Based on the threats, the priority of your assets, and the location and layout of the site, determine what physical security vulnerabilities exist and develop a comprehensive mitigation plan.
- Establish a Site Security Plan. The plan should be based on the identified threats and vulnerabilities to your assets. The plan should also address how to deter internal and external threats. As a minimum consider the following.
- Adequate Lighting
- Perimeter Fencing/Barriers
- Entry/Access Control Procedures (Limited Entries/Exits, Vehicle & Personnel Screening)
- Secure Storage Areas
- Inventory and Equipment Control Procedures
- Physical Security Enhancements – Guards, Cameras, Alarms
- Suspicious Activity Awareness & Crime Prevention Training for On-Site Employees
- Established Incident Reporting Procedures
These are just a few of the steps to establishing an effective Security Plan and minimizing unplanned costs during project development. The key to effective security planning and cost savings is looking at security planning as another line item in the budgeting and proposal process. Approaching it this way gives Contractors a predictable mechanism to utilize during project planning and cost analysis.
Steve Schrimpf is the President of GCS Security Services LLC, an international risk mitigation firm specializing in a wide array of security consultancy and risk advisory services. Since 1986, Mr. Schrimpf has highly specialized training and experience in physical security and counter-terrorism operations. He has experience conducting large scale investigations and security vulnerability, criticality and threat assessments for some of our nation’s most critical assets and facilities.
He is currently a Vice Chairman for the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) International and a certified Terrorism Liaison Officer working within the national fusion center framework. He is also an active member of Infragard, an FBI led coalition of public and private security professionals dedicated to the protection of critical infrastructure components. He is a graduate of Security Engineering and Design Course (USACE) and holds a B.S. degree in Organizational Management and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management.