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What to look for in construction site CCTV cameras

CCTV cameras are a key part of a security strategy for any construction site. Vacant sites will always be a target for criminals, given the value of materials, tools, and commercial vehicles.

Surveillance is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to defend a construction site from thefts and vandalism – whether planned or opportunist.

So, what are the best construction site cameras? What functionality is essential to act as an effective deterrent or capture clear footage in all weathers?

Here we’ll explain what to look for in your construction site CCTV, and how to choose the ideal system for a construction site.

Uses of Construction Site Cameras

There are multiple reasons CCTV is so essential on building sites. Before investing in a surveillance system, we’d recommend taking a moment to consider why you need security, what assets it is intended to protect, and what hours of operation you need from your security.

  • Defending equipment and materials from theft

Having signage indicating live recording is a crucial deterrent to avoid making valuable construction site assets a target for theft.

  • Remote monitoring and site management

If you can’t be on-site all the time or need to keep an eye on the work’s progress, CCTV allows you direct access to a real-time stream of footage to track movements and have oversight of your projects from a distance.

  • Preventing vandalism

We often think about construction site security in terms of thefts, but vandalism and squatters can be just as destructive in reality. CCTV can deter any unauthorised persons from gaining entry, and allow you to take swift action if you detect any such security breaches.

  • Marketing materials

Your live-streamed footage can be essential for marketing the development, promoting the properties or facilities you are building, and keeping investors and stakeholders up to date with real-time progress.

  • Time-lapse footage 

Another key resource for promotions, or for analysing progress, is to record time-lapse footage to record how construction projects evolve and demonstrate the building project’s efficiency from start to finish.

In any of these scenarios, having the right quality CCTV cameras is essential.

The Key Requirements of a Construction Site CCTV Camera

Now we’ve considered what applications might be suited to construction site CCTV, let’s think about what functionality and features are vital to delivering the best surveillance results.

The below are key factors that you should always look out for before deciding which building site CCTV solutions to invest in:

  • Weatherproofing – construction projects can take from a few months to several years. Your CCTV must be weatherproof and designed to operate flawlessly over the required usage period, whatever the weather. That means water-resistant, firmly installed, with durable casing to withstand surface spray, dust, dirt, and pollution that can damage footage quality.
  • High-quality video is also vital; as low-resolution images or grainy footage is of minimal use and will render captured videos unusable.
  • Length of installation is important since you need to know whether to go for a temporary, battery-powered CCTV system designed for short-term use, or a permanent hard-wired CCTV solution for a longer-term construction project.
  • Night vision is required to capture good quality footage of any attempted intrusions, or authorised movements and deliveries overnight. In the winter, nightfall can be as early as 3 pm, so low-light cameras or infrared functionality is necessary.

What Types of Cameras Should I Choose?

Depending on the layout and nature of your construction site, three primary types of CCTV cameras are ideal for the demands of the building industry.

CCTV towers are perfect for surveilling larger land areas, including car-parks, broader construction sites, and open land in between your perimeters and places of work.

Temporary InView CCTV towers operate from commercial quality batteries, with solar recharging features, offering real-time footage capture, remote operation, and without reliance on mains power or generators.

  • Mast mounted cameras can cover vast areas simultaneously.
  • Installation takes as little as 20 minutes, with live coverage in two hours.
  • Cameras can rotate, pan, zoom, focus and record all from one position.
  • Elevated CCTV towers are a strong deterrent to prospective criminals.

Pros: High quality, highly visible CCTV surveillance from an elevated position, covering broad areas.

Cons: May not be suited to construction sites in urban areas with smaller open areas between constructions or buildings.

Fixed CCTV allows you to wire in your camera system powered directly by mains electricity. Hardwired systems are designed for longer-term use, and can be monitored by the Clearway Alarm Response Centre for instant security protocols should any movement be detected.

  • Wired into your building for reliable, long-term surveillance.
  • Positioned to cover critical parts of your construction site.
  • Offer continual recording functionality.

Pros:  Reliable, hard-wired CCTV coverage with excellent quality footage to record all movements across the key areas of your construction site.

Cons: Not suited to sites with unreliable mains power, or remote locations without fixed power lines.

Video verified cameras are an excellent option for an efficient alarm response service while avoiding the inconvenience of false alarm activations. The cameras are activated when a sensor is triggered and capture a video to allow you to determine the reason for the alarm.

  • Efficient CCTV monitoring, with recording activated by high-performance sensors.
  • Colour images with low light and infrared capture technology.
  • Ideal for temporary or vacant construction sites.
  • Minimise downtime and security response costs by identifying the reason for the activation.

Pros: Cost-effective, efficient CCTV surveillance designed to avoid the need to false call outs and time spent dealing with alarms triggered by wildlife or the elements.

Cons: Not designed for continual, around the clock surveillance, and are activated by a sensor being triggered.

In summary, the right type of construction site CCTV will depend on several factors:

  • The core risks you have identified in your security risk assessment.
  • Where you need your CCTV coverage to be positioned.
  • How long you need surveillance for.

We hope this guide has given you an insight into the considerations required to make an informed choice about the right construction site CCTV options for your construction premises. 

If in any doubt, do get in touch and the Clearway consultants will advise on the best CCTV solutions to meet your requirements.

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