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Theft of tools and equipment on construction sites

Tool theft from construction sites is increasing in Quebec.


On the grounds of the Chicoutimi hospital, the Construction Unibec company, responsible for the work of the future magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) clinic, has counted 3 thefts since last November.

Valuable tools, like rotating lasers for example, were stolen, but also laptops and materials. Unibec estimates the total number of flights at around $ 15,000.

The police are currently trying to see if these thefts are all connected.

Other entrepreneurs have also noticed thefts.

This is the case of the company Armec Construction which assesses at 3000 $ the loss of stolen tools in the Chicoutimi hospital area, and $ 15,000 theft of goods on one of their residential sites

The police are currently trying to see if these thefts are all connected.


In addition to causing delays on construction sites, the increasing number of construction equipment thefts contributes to increasing business insurance premiums.

This is why protecting its heavy vehicles and tools against criminals can play an important role in the profitability of construction projects.




Here are some tips to prevent theft from your construction sites and to deter thieves:

Site security

  • Although this process is expensive, the ideal is to erect a fence around your site. It is still today an effective solution which will make it possible to limit unwanted visitors to the premises and thus reduce the risk of petty theft, for example of portable equipment, tools, materials, etc.
  • Install a night lighting system that covers the entire site area, if possible, or at least the equipment storage areas.
  • Install a surveillance camera system and an alarm system linked to emergency services. Make sure the cameras are out of the reach of thieves. You can put up a sign that says the premises are under surveillance to deter thieves.
  • Remove all ladders giving access to the roofs.


Protection of construction equipment

The best way to avoid theft at a job site is to not leave equipment unnecessarily on the scene when you leave. However, when that is not possible, here are some tips that can help:

  • Padlock and lock chests, trailers, motorized equipment, sheds and cages containing materials and tools that must remain on the site.
  • Remove and keep under surveillance or in a safe place the keys of the vehicles; or even remove the battery and have a key management system in place.
  • To prevent the theft of your contractor equipment, at the end of each day, lock vehicle doors.
  • Identify your vehicles and heavy equipment. Also give them a  tracking system. Keep a log of identification codes and have an up-to-date inventory of your equipment and everything on the job site.


Identification of your equipment

Take an inventory of all the equipment in your possession before starting a job. For each, include:

  • Name and description
  • The make, model and year of manufacture
  • Serial number
  • The date of purchase and a copy of the invoice
  • A photo and any other detail that could help identify it.

In the event of theft at your construction site, this inventory will be very helpful in identifying what has been stolen and what you will need to replace. It will also be useful for you to report the theft to the police and to file a claim with your insurer.


Supply management

Avoid supplying your site with machinery and materials too far in advance, because the more goods there are, the greater the risk of theft.

If it is not possible to order your materials in small quantities, it would be preferable to have them delivered to your warehouse, if you have one, and to supply your site as needed.


Installation of security systems

You can chisel your tools or machinery or put your company logo on them. For increased safety of your machinery, you can also install several types of protection devices: mesh for windows, reinforcement plate for lock, immobilizer, alarm system, etc.

Make sure that your site is always amply lit. Lighting systems activated by motion detection are a good way to keep criminals away.

You can also install an alarm system with video surveillance administered by a security company and with immediate alert to emergency services in the event of a trigger. In addition, there are surveillance cameras that send data over the Internet and allow backup copies to be kept off site. Cameras should be placed so that they are out of the reach of thieves.

Install a display to deter thieves such as signs with the words “Camera surveillance.” »Post signs in high traffic areas warning that your company will prosecute anyone who commits a crime on the job site.

The installation of a geofencing device is also an interesting addition to prevent theft on the construction site. This device, installed directly on the machinery, allows you to remotely monitor its position and delimit the authorized and prohibited zones of the device. Thus, if one of your equipment leaves the site, you will receive an email or an SMS to notify you. You can then stop it remotely or trigger its alarm if it is not authorized to leave the site.

As for the GPS, it will allow you to monitor the position of your machinery outside of hours of use and will help the police to trace your machinery in the event of theft.





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31 October 2022

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