A few years ago, our family’s construction company was working on a project an hour away from the office. One night, the crew made the mistake of leaving a piece of equipment on the site. Even though the project was located in a small town and the equipment was chained inside the outhouse, the thieves didn’t miss an opportunity.
Construction sites are hard to secure, and thus very vulnerable to theft, regardless of the location. Our company resorted to keeping all tools and valuables locked in a trailer that was hauled away each night. Although inconvenient, it was the easiest solution for us. Protecting tools and equipment is easier than safeguarding materials. As you well know, throughout each stage of the job, various materials are delivered to the site and often sit unprotected until installation.
Another story that has become increasingly more common with the current economic conditions is theft of installed materials. In one situation that hit close to home, a family friend’s home was almost completed. They were close to moving in when thieves broke in and stripped it. Not only did they take new cabinetry, carpets, and appliances, but they even ripped open the walls and took the copper wiring.
The ugly reality of theft exists everywhere, and contractors and homeowners must take precautions to protect themselves. It is wise for homeowners to take out additional insurance on the project, even while it is in progress. General liability insurance for contractors should cover tools and equipment. Some contractors even invest in a security camera/alarm system that they can take from project to project. This helps to prevent graffiti and other vandalism, also problems for contractors. Talk to your agent to see what your policy covers, and talk to your contractor to see how they protect themselves and your investment.