A review conducted by leading insurer Allianz Cornhill, reveals that over £70 million of construction plant, including excavators, compressors and even cranes, has been stolen from construction sites in the last year, despite initiatives by the Government to encourage plant manufacturers to improve in-built security features.
It estimates that the UK construction industry is now losing over £800 million a year when other costs associated with plant theft are taken into account. These costs include plant replacement costs, hire of replacement equipment, loss of business and increased insurance premiums. The insurer has also discovered that thieves have become more sophisticated in the methods they employ, even posing as plant manufacturers maintenance workers in order to remove vehicles from site.
Thieves are also attracted to plant because of the very low recovery rates – less than 10 per cent compared with motor vehicles, which enjoy a recovery rate of around 55-60 per cent. This is because items of plant have few identifying marks that can be readily and easily seen and lack of registration documents mean it is difficult for the police to identify stolen plant and return it to the owner.
”Construction companies must wake up to the fact that small investments in security and registration with the TER can pay dividends. Money spent on security measures such as physical locking devices, covert identification marking of equipment and effective site and depot security can quickly be recovered through insurance discounts, reduced claims and less downtime. This will mean lower rates of theft and, ultimately, a lower cost to the industry”