Caught in the act

27. May 2021

Shortage of materials in the construction industry: Video Guard prevents theft of valuable building materials

More and more companies are concerned about the fact that raw materials and materials in the construction industry are becoming scarce in many places and prices are skyrocketing. In this context, the attractiveness of building materials as stolen goods increases many times over. And if the already scarce material is stolen from the construction site, this can have devastating consequences for project planning – from massive construction delays to high additional costs. Camera-based surveillance systems such as Video Guard Professional can effectively prevent avoidable construction delays due to stolen materials.

The issue has reached many companies: According to a recent economic survey by the ifo Institute for Economic Research, material shortages have now become a serious problem for German industry. According to the survey, 45% of the industrial companies surveyed reported bottlenecks – by far the highest figure since the beginning of the 1990s. There are many reasons for this: for example, timber from Germany is currently being exported more and more to the USA and China, where construction projects are booming. In addition, many companies have announced short-time working during the coronavirus pandemic due to supply problems in the area of primary materials – a breeding ground for a tangible crisis in the entire supply chain.

Avoiding a month-long construction freeze
The theft of materials and raw materials from construction sites by criminals is not a new phenomenon. However, potential stolen goods become even more attractive the more scarce they are. In this context, the risk of important materials such as wood or insulation materials disappearing from the construction site due to theft is currently increasing. The consequence: an unforeseen construction stop combined with high follow-up costs. In these cases, the contractor has to recalculate expenses for construction site vehicles or personnel – a high financial and entrepreneurial risk, especially in times of material shortages. Once the coveted material has disappeared, it can take several weeks or even months to procure new material. A risk that can be minimized with little technical effort.

Video technology catches material thieves
In this context, solutions are offered by companies specializing in construction site safety, such as International Security Group GmbH (ISG) and Maibach Verkehrssicherheits- und Straßenausrüstungsprodukte GmbH from Gescher. The Video Guard Professional camera system developed by them is ready for use at short notice. The principle is simple: the monitoring system consists of a mobile container in a conspicuous signal color and an extendable mast to which three high-resolution cameras are attached, which monitor the construction site without blind spots. The recordings exceed HD quality and can later – if necessary – also be used as evidence in court. Powerful infrared spotlights on the mast also ensure that the video quality is perfect even at night and that residents are not disturbed by floodlights.

If the system detects an unauthorized person on the premises, it contacts the control centre based in Germany and then sets several action levels. First of all, uninvited guests are addressed loudly and clearly and asked to leave the premises. If they do not comply with the request, the security service or the police will be informed and further steps will be taken. “With our system, construction site operators can proactively and with manageable effort ensure that valuable materials stored on their site do not disappear overnight and cause unnecessary and cost-intensive delays to the construction project,” explains Benno Blömen, Managing Director of Maibach VuS Gescher.

Video Guard in Bremen's Überseestadt district
The intelligent Video Guard Professional camera system can be installed on the construction site within a few hours of being commissioned, effectively preventing material theft.