Construction sites, especially residential construction sites, are a prime target for theft and vandalism. In a recent study, it was estimated that $46 million in equipment gets stolen each year in Canada.  Even worse, our neighbours to the South lose an estimated $500 million to $1 billion in construction site theft.

Further, less than 25% of stolen equipment is ever recovered. 

These numbers make a strong case for taking construction site security serious. There are several things you can do to secure your site, including the basics like fencing, strict schedules, and good lighting.  

Above the basics, it’s highly recommended to either hire live security guards or get a residential construction Video Monitoring Solution installed. There is positives and negatives to each, and some customers use a combination of both.  

Security Camera LensIf you decide to go with a residential construction video monitoring system, one of the most important things to remember is this: If a you cannot see the lens of the camera, it cannot see you.

The easiest way for a live video monitoring provider to save money is to install less cameras.

Residential Construction Video Monitoring – Quantity is Important

Often, we are speaking with clients about our proposal, and the focus of the construction site video monitoring system quickly shifts to the wrong thing. Battery backup, camera resolution, integration with other construction systems, licence plates, etc.  Although these are important items, the most important one is: How well is my construction site covered?

The more cameras that are mounted, the more chances there are of catching someone and intervening.

For new condo and commercial developments, it’s simple.  You typically have a square or rectangular site and cameras in each corner will give you good coverage. With bigger sites, I would recommend cameras in between to ensure that the view isn’t too far. 

Residential Construction Video Monitoring

It’s a different story for new home developments.  These require more strategic planning and it’s easy to have blind spots. 

I get that it’s important to keep costs down, but customers often forget that price cuts lead to worse coverage. Therefore, we always ask, “Do you want 100% coverage?”

Often, we lose out to our competitors only to find that they are using less cameras. Hopefully the customer knows this, and is willing to accept the risk. What I am afraid of is the customer thinking that they have full coverage, while the provider is just skimping out hoping that nothing happens. 

The problem is… something always happens.

Top 3 things to look out for on a Residential Construction Video Monitoring proposal: 

1 – Are the houses behind the pole being watched?

Pay attention to the where the cameras are mounted.  They usually go onto a temporary pole or streetlight.  The box is mounted to the front of the pole, facing the street, and cameras get attached to the box or the pole.  Are the cameras only facing the street.  Are there any cameras looking at the lots behind the pole?  How about facing the houses directly across from the pole? 

2 – How many houses can 1 camera really watch?

One camera, mounted 15ft up, can properly capture about 7-10 lots that are 40-50′ wide, on one side of the street.  10 Lots is pushing it, especially if there is a bit of a curve in the street.  This means that a street with 40 homes, 20 on each side, will require at least 4 cameras on a post, in the middle somewhere.   

3 – Nighttime is even Worse

Yes, cameras have infrared or “night vision”.  However, everyone in the security industry knows to not pay attention to the marketing material.  In pitch black, a cameras infrared will be able to see 30-40ft away.  Video monitoring stations rely on streetlights, or temporary lighting for better views at night. In pitch black, our only hope is that the thief comes with a vehicle and keeps the lights on.  

Residential Construction Site

Pay Attention to the Video Monitoring Proposal

Always pay attention to the proposal and make sure that Video Monitoring provider has a drawing.  The drawing should include camera counts and you should always verify that you get what was proposed. 

This is especially true when you’re developing a huge subdivision with 100’s or 1000’s of homes.  These are typically built in phases, but we all know that Phase 1, 2 and 3 end up mixing together.  Does the proposal include overlap of cameras between phases? or are they going to pull down all of the phase 1 cameras and move them to phase 2?  If this happens, what about the left over houses that are still being built in phase 1?  Will you just chance it?

I hope this article was helpful and gives you a better idea of what to look out for when you purchase a Residential Construction Video Monitoring system.  Always remember, no single security solution will get you 100% coverage.  However, you should at least know the flaws in the system, this way you don’t feel let down when it doesn’t work. 

If you liked this article, you may want to read 5 Mistakes Making your Construction Site Video Monitoring Useless.  You may also find this construction site security checklist to be helpful.  If you have an office and COVID-19 forced you to start working from home, you may find this article useful on how Spotter Security transitioned to a remote working environment.