New Construction Products September 2018 - Page 20

For example, copper products used in plumbing and electrical systems are tempting targets for theft. Other metals such as brass and aluminum are often stolen and sold for instant cash as well. How to prevent tool theft There are several methods contractors and site owners use to help deter tool and equipment theft. Some of these are fencing, signage, site lighting and video monitoring. In some cases, secu- rity guards patrol the area. However, there are inherent problems with these measures. While they seem proactive, the contractor is relying on a third-party solution to deter theft. If thieves want to steal tools and equipment, they will find a way to thwart these safeguards. In fact, according to a report by Great American Insurance Group, thieves have studied construction industry practices and know when to strike. An estimated 90% of thefts take place between 6 p.m. on Friday and 6 a.m. on Monday. Measures must be taken to prevent these weekend thefts, when construction job sites are often unattended. The best way to do that is using sturdy, job site tool boxes and cabinets. Job boxes are the construction site equivalent to a bank vault. During work hours, they keep the tools organized and accessible. After hours, they secure the contractor’s tools and supplies. Designed to withstand all weather conditions, jobsite storage boxes can be left onsite for extended periods of time. What to look for in a jobsite box Careful consideration must be given to purchasing a jobsite tool box. Low quality, less expensive versions can be purchased from home improvement outlets and some discount stores. However, these are not adequate. For a professional contractor, they prove to be anything but economical. According to Matt Jones, heavy-gauge sheet steel and reinforce- ments are a must for box floors and sides. LEC Products is a fabrication company, specializing in job site boxes and cabinets. They use 14- and 16-guage sheet metal for walls, doors, lids, and shelving. The thicker gauge metal also adds some extra weight to the finished product. In effect, it becomes an unseen deterrent to tool theft. Thicker steel also stands up better to the rigors of construction 18 NCP Magazine • September ‘18 site use. A box will be subjected to a lot of wear and tear onsite and the heavy gauge steel and reinforcements protect the con- tractor’s investment by securely housing his tools. The type of steel used in manufacturing makes a difference as well. Hot-rolled steel is more malleable than cold-rolled and allows for more complex bends without weakening the steel when making box components. Design characteristics that enhance security and usability Many contractors chain their job boxes to support beams for added security. This usually means looping the chain through the handles. A better design includes a key slot in the back. After looping the chain around the pole, both ends of the chain are passed through the slot and secured from the inside. This eliminates an exposed padlock, often the weakest link. Several boxes can be ganged together as well. Removing the center trunnion in cabinet style boxes allows easy removal and replacement of longer items. Workers are more likely to store these items and not leave them lying around. However, if choosing this option to further secure tools, be sure to inspect the latch system first. It should be fitted with a three-