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Towson, Md. - Backhoes, tools, refrigerators and piping are among the items regularly stolen from construction job sites each year.
The result is $1 billion in losses annually adding about 1 to 2 percent to the cost of a new home. It’s the No. 1 concern of the construction industry, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Hiring security guards has little effect because most are not armed and their ability to cover the entire site can be limited, said Bill Pugh, director of marketing and sales for DEWALT, a Towson-based power tool company.
DEWALT has developed an alarm system that it claims will help reduce construction site theft.
The DEWALT SITELOCK is a portable alarm that includes a base unit with motion sensor, vibration sensor, siren and strobe light for monitoring and protecting the area around the alarm.
The base unit also has a receiver and transmitter to communicate with wireless remote sensors that can be placed around the construction site.
“There is easy access, and there is not much security at construction sites,” Pugh said.
Unlike automobiles, heavy equipment such as forklifts don’t come with a vehicle identification number. Instead, there are different numbers for the engine, cab and other parts, making it difficult to track a stolen equipment, Pugh said.
“You can put a hard-hat on and walk right on to a construction site. No one bothers to stop you,” he said.
Larry Swiecicki, project manager for Poole and Kent, a Baltimore-based mechanical and general contractor, said his firm uses the SITELOCK. Poole and Kent are working on a multiuse, 29-story retail, office and condominium tower in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
He said as work progresses, the company has to move its trailers. In the past, the company used a traditional alarm company such as ADT to install stationary protection systems.
But once the trailer moved, the company had to call the alarm company to come reinstall the system.
“With the mobile alarm, all I have to do is unplug it, move it to where I want it and plug it back in,” Swiecicki said.
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