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We recognise there is a fundamental need to secure your business critical assets, from vacant land, development sites and compounds, to plant, materials and fuel. As a leading provider of sustainable security, we are perfectly positioned to secure, monitor and protect your valuable assets.

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The Rising Costs of Construction: And How Clearway Can Help

The Rising Costs of Construction: And How Clearway Can Help
The Rising Costs of Construction: And How Clearway Can Help

It will come as no surprise to contractors, developers and construction site managers that costs are rising – and the recent report in Construction News bears this out.

Among the headline statistics, material costs have risen to a 40-year high over the last 24 months, structural steel is 26% more expensive, and further increases of 2.5% and 8.5% are estimated towards the end of 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Nicola Beard, Director of deployable technology, said: “The current cost of living crisis, ongoing materials shortages and high fuel prices have all contributed to a dramatic increase in criminal activity. Decisive action is needed to tackle construction site theft. According to the FMB 51% of builders have had tools stolen, with some being assaulted in the process. According to research by Direct Line, the value of tools stolen since April 2021 is over £46 million. 

Site managers and contractors alike must take additional steps to reduce the risk of theft as it not only affects project timescales, but also results in insurance premium hikes for all concerned. Plant, tools, fuel and materials theft is not a victimless crime and this growing problem requires robust, effective preventative security measures to help combat it.”

There is no doubt that safeguarding increasingly valuable plant machinery, materials and fuel is crucial to ensuring construction projects deliver on time and on budget – without adding higher insurance premiums into the mix. So what is causing this rise in construction costs?

Higher Construction Material Costs

Materials across the board have risen in the last 12 months, owing to all sorts of factors, including scarcity, pent-up demand due to lockdowns, supply chain disruption and changes to trade tariffs and import regulations in a post-Brexit economy.

The updated energy efficiency regulations, introduced on 15th June, have also played a part in developers needing to meet stricter targets to ensure new buildings reach the goal of achieving net zero by 2050.

Some of the materials found on every construction site have doubled or even tripled in price:

  • Bitumen products for roadways and car parking zones have risen by 21%.
  • Concrete and cladding have both soared by 20%.
  • General work costs have, overall, increased by 2.6%.

Part of the issue is that where managers can source these more expensive materials, they are also scarce. Supply and demand dictates that when a resource becomes scarce – it becomes the target of theft. Theft is one of the greatest and most costly issues on construction sites – in fact, it’s at an all time high. You can read our latest article on construction site theft here. 

Disruption to Construction Material Supply Chains

Supply chains have been severely disrupted for some time following a lack of sea freight availability, changes to import regulations across UK borders, shortages in HGV drivers and backlogs of demand that built up during the global pandemic.

The ongoing impact for construction site managers and developers is that exposure to criminal activity is exponentially increased – not solely because raw materials are now of much greater value, but because they are harder to source.

An increased prevalence of crime also relates to other components and fixtures such as roof tiles, copper wiring, diesel from commercial vehicles, timber and power tools.

With rising crime rates, insurers often impose higher premiums to protect the value of all construction site assets, adding further pressure to already stretched budgets.

The Impact of Inflation on the UK Construction Industry

Another consideration is how high interest rates, inflation, and potential recession have affected construction and many other sectors within the UK economy.

Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that activity fell in two consecutive months across July and August, reflecting drops in civil engineering and commercial construction projects.

Construction outputs have fallen by 4.1% in the year to June 2022. Still, the positive news is that the picture remains optimistic over the long term, with steady employment rates and higher construction project costs to reflect increased outgoings.

Combat the Increasing Costs with Additional Security

There are multiple ways for developers and construction professionals to combat the increasing costs. First and foremost, it’s important to mitigate the risks of criminal activity and costly theft with additional security measures such as:

  • Construction site cameras – CCTV measures such as CCTV Towers allow for surveillance across large areas of land. As well as being a clearly visible deterrent, they run on solar power, meaning the positioning isn’t limited by the mains socket.
  • Hiring a remote CCTV monitoring company – A CCTV system is only as good as the ability to respond to potential security breaches. Remote site monitoring allows for a third party to oversee all activities, even when away from the site.The Clearway Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) is accredited to NSI Gold Standard, one of only a few in the UK, providing a nationwide fast and efficient service to respond to security alarms
  • Access control systems such as turnstiles and commercial electric fences – Decreasing the number of entry points to a construction site through access control allows for strict movement of personnel in and out of the perimeter, making it more difficult for thefts to occur. Access control systems, such as entry gate controls, can be automated to reduce the need for staffed entry points and allow immediate access for approved vehicles, including personnel, delivery drivers and contractors. Another benefit is that stakeholders and project managers can be permitted access to monitor site activities and communicate changes to plans, or other business-critical information.
  • Commercial Alarm systems – Smart surveillance can immediately trigger an alarm when unusual activity is detected, including recognising when inventory has been removed, placed in an unusual location, or if an object is outside of the normal patterns – such as fly-tipped waste or suspicious vehicle detection.

What Costs Savings can I Expect?

Investing in security for sites is exactly that – an investment – which will require upfront costs. However, this investment could save you both money (through theft reduction) and time (through costly delays in projects). However, there are several other cost savings to consider when investing in security technology:

  • Remote monitoring provides an instant cost saving, reducing any need for travel, and allowing managers to prepare for inbound deliveries and communicate real-time information about project progress.
  • Documenting construction progress through a log of footage is a useful way to assess timescales, reschedule work teams or contractors in good time, and ensure that lags in progress are addressed before they become a cost issue.
  • Many professional construction site insurers offer premium discounts for sites that demonstrate industry best practices in terms of efficiency, security and site controls.
  • Visible, tamper-proof cameras prevent criminal intrusions, mitigate the potential for theft, and alert the emergency services or security responders to manage any unusual activity or identify the cause of an alarm.

For more information about tailored construction site surveillance, void property security, access controls and remote management access, please contact the Clearway team for further advice or to arrange a professional site survey or property inspection. 

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