GPS Tracking Protects Construction Equipment from Theft

The owners of construction companies always have the security of their equipment in mind. Tools, machinery and building materials are often left overnight on the job site due to their weight and considerable bulk. Temporary fencing and lock boxes might deter some thieves and vandals, but they present nothing more than an irritation to the serious-minded criminal.

The act of building a structure can be likened to a ballet or an opera. Each man, each piece of equipment plays its part; one relies on the other and all proceed in stages to the dramatic reveal. When a major piece of equipment stops, so does productivity.

A good rule of thumb is to spend a few hundred or thousand dollars on a GPS tracking and anti-theft system, because it can end up saving that business owner hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run.

Protecting Your Investment with GPS Tracking

Construction materials and equipment carry a big price tag. To buy a used dump truck, you’ll need about $200,000; an excavator, $35,000; a backhoe, $20,000 and a bull dozer $15,000. Even small, more portable equipment is expensive. A jackhammer costs $1,000 and an industrial-grade drill, $200.

When these pieces are stolen, they are almost never recovered – unless they are equipped with GPS tracking equipment. GPS tracking systems, which are based on the original innovation of vehicle tracking systems, cost several hundred dollars each. Add to that an ongoing monthly fee for live GPS tracking transmissions via a wireless network, and that GPS tracking system will have an overall cost to an average building company of about $10,000. The return on investment will be immediate after one stolen piece of heavy equipment is recovered.

‘Real-Time’ GPS Tracking Needed for Theft Recovery

GPS tracking systems rely on satellite signals to determine the placement of an object, on which a GPS tracking receiver is affixed. When used for theft recovery of major assets, GPS tracking systems need to utilize real-time GPS tracking.  A GPS tracking receiver is placed in an inconspicuous location on the equipment. With smaller equipment, the GPS tracking receiver can be placed on the job site storage box.

The GPS tracking receiver gets position coordinates at regular intervals, and the GPS tracking data is transmitted over a cell phone network for Internet connectivity. If the equipment is stolen, its current location can be found from a remote location using its GPS tracking coordinates.

The GPS tracking system can be used to plot a safeguard zone on a virtual geographical map. This is called geo-fencing. If the GPS tracking object is moved beyond the perimeter of that protected zone, a manager would be alerted to a possible theft in progress.

How Does Large Equipment Disappear?

One might wonder how a 20-ton piece of equipment gets stolen.

In some cases, the equipment is stolen internally, by existing employees. Workers and subcontractors have easy access to a job site and might choose to artificially boost their income by illegal means. To some, in-house theft is a way to “beat the system.” It is difficult for a business owner to trace the exact culprits who stole a piece of machinery or equipment if the act was unseen and the object is now hidden on private property. A live vehicle tracking system will provide the exact current location of the stolen goods, giving the construction company owner enough evidence to prosecute.

Another way large equipment disappears is by rental. Renting large construction equipment is big business, as one can imagine certain occupations will have call for this equipment on an infrequent basis (for example,  a crane to install a cell tower or to place an HVAC unit on an office building.) It could cost $1,000 to $2,000 a day to rent a crane. These equipment rental companies have the same problem as your local library: sometimes the rental doesn’t get returned. The equipment could be taken by someone using a fake identity. GPS tracking will tell where that crane went after its rental job is complete.

An Ounce of Prevention

GPS tracking is an effective way to keep “watch” over any vehicle, employee, construction equipment, or really any major asset.

Stolen construction equipment is a $1 billion-a-year industry in the nation, according to the National Equipment Register, a theft recovery and risk management firm. The theft of construction equipment has become so common these days that the loss tally is a staggering value of money.

GPS tracking can significantly deflate these numbers. A fleet of construction vehicles and equipment outfitted with vehicle tracking systems might pose too much of a challenge to even professional thieves. Prevent thefts from happening with strategically-placed GPS tracking units and possibly lower insurance rates at the same time.

The alternative is to absorb the costs of theft into the operating budget, which eventually will be passed on to the consumer in the form of the costs building a home, an office park, even a backyard pool.


Last modified onTuesday, 12 February 2013 20:28
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