TOOL AND EQUIPMENT THEFT IS A growing concern on construction sites. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, nearly $1 billion is lost each year nationwide due to equipment and tool theft. Moreover, a recent survey by toolmaker DeWalt found that 77 percent of jobsites have experienced theft up to five times each year, and both DeWalt and the NAHB report that residential jobsite losses account for an annual 1 percent to 2 percent increase in new-home construction costs.
Losing even one piece of equipment or critical tool has the potential to throw off a job's entire schedule, delaying work and possibly incurring penalties. Plus, there's the immediate cost of replacement. Luckily, the industry is waking up to the role theft prevention can play in maintaining productivity.
A variety of security and theft-prevention systems is now available, some developed specifically for the construction industry to monitor jobsites or monitor, track, and, in some cases, recover heavy equipment and tools. And a few power-tool manufacturers have recognized the need for security and theft prevention as well. Technologies in use run the gamut from infrared signals to radio-frequency identification and global positioning systems (GPS). Some systems are incorporated into individual tools and machines, while others work on a larger scale to encompass the whole jobsite.
For preventing tool theft, tracking and identification systems are particularly useful, according to John Doherty, product manager for Bosch Digital Power Tools, based in Mount Prospect, Ill. “If you know that a tool is being marked, tagged, or ID-ed, you're less likely to take that tool, because you know the owner has a firm handle on who has the product and when they have it,” Doherty says.
COVERT OPERATION: The Titan Equipment Monitoring system can be covertly installed on any piece of construction equipment or vehicle and provides both theft prevention and fleet management. Theft-prevention and GPS location actions are automatically engaged at predefined times or intervals, and, in the event of a theft attempt, Titan alerts the equipment owner. The remote shutoff feature disables the machine from anywhere in the country. DPL America. 800-897-8093. www.dplamerica.com.
TOOL TRACKER: The Safe & Sound tool tracking system secures radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags within Bosch power tools so the tags can't be damaged, removed, or rendered unreadable. The system also includes RFID-compatible ToolWatch SE tool tracking software, mobile scanning hardware, and a list of the serial and product numbers of the tagged tools so managers can track tools daily. Bosch Digital Power Tools. 877-267-2499. www.boschtools.com.
PORTABLE SECURITY: The SITE-LOCK portable wireless alarm system uses five different wireless sensors and an indoor base unit to monitor tools, equipment, and defined jobsite areas. The remote sensors are programmed to protect individual property or areas on the jobsite when the system is armed. In the event of a theft, the alarm activates and is forwarded to a monitoring station, and a signal is sent to the base unit. DeWalt. 877-748-3562. www.dewalt.com.
QUICK RECOVERY: Utilizing radio-frequency signals that are activated by police once a stolen-vehicle report is filed, the Ruggedized LoJack system is designed specifically for recovering stolen heavy equipment and is covertly installed. The rugged one-piece unit features a water-, dust-, and chemical-resistant housing and can withstand the shocks and vibrations of a work site. The system is powered by the equipment's electrical system and is backed up with a battery. LoJack Corp. 877-775-6522. www.lojack.com.