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Crime in the Construction Industry: A Site Level Problem? – Part 2

Simon MeyerThe Chartered Institute of Building report on “Crime in the Construction Industry” proved interesting reading and highlighted a real issue in both the level and cost of crime, relating not only to the direct costs of the crime themselves but also the resulting financial penalties, such as project delays, investigations and increased financial premiums in the construction industry.

The report also highlighted a 20% increase from respondents in the use of illegal immigrants, principally to reduce labour costs, which does question the awareness of the Civil Penalties which can be imposed by the Home Office for employing illegal workers (up to £10,000 per employee), plus at site level highlight the health and safety risks employing these workers bring. It also highlights areas in the future such as Data Loss/Theft and Identity Theft which are currently lower priority in terms of incidents, but will need more focus and consideration as contractors move to secure, electronic solutions to solve these problems.

In terms of the recommendations, the report outlines a number of key points around the more effective management of site access (workers and equipment) and its associated workers through use of IT systems, combined with clear site processes and registered SIA guards. Indeed, while frequent forgeries were highlighted as a reason the CSCS card scheme was not effective, this concern is alleviated when the access system is integrated seamlessly with the CSCS Phoenix database, making online, real-time checks possible. In turn, while biometrics are seen to have limited effectiveness in the report, combining a number of measures into a single solution including robust identity checks, accreditation checks (including CSCS), biometric validation and secure site access can significantly reduce the risk to a site and the organisation.

Construction specific products, such as MSite, provide a single one-stop-shop for trusted, biometric access to workers to site and ensure the necessary standards and policy at head office can be enforced on a day-by-day basis. As we see more contractors use these products, the effective reduction of crime can be better managed and it can become less of a distraction and cost to sites.

A copy of the full report can be found on the CIOB website.

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