Safeguard Your Equipment: Preventing the Theft of Contractors’ Plant

27 June 2023 - Gary Stannard

The construction industry in particular faces a significant threat of equipment theft with the high value and portability of contractors’ plant makes it an attractive target for criminals. The website has estimated that the UK construction industry loses more than £400 million per year through machinery theft.

When such robberies occur, businesses not only bear the burden of replacing the stolen equipment but also face the consequences of increased insurance premiums. The financial implications can be substantial, potentially jeopardising the profitability and sustainability of projects. Gary Stannard, Insurance Director, explores the risks associated with the theft of contractors’ plant and discusses effective measures to enhance security. Additionally, he looks at the specific considerations surrounding hired-in plant and the importance of choosing the right insurance coverage.

Effective Measures for Enhancing Security

To mitigate the risk of contractors’ plant theft it is essential to implement robust security measures. Site security should at the very least include physical barriers and fencing to restrict unauthorised access to the premises. Large sites in potential problem areas should consider deploying security guards and those fortunate enough to have power may consider CCTV which can act as a deterrent and provide valuable evidence in the event of a theft.

In today’s digital age, advanced tracking systems can offer an additional layer of security. GPS trackers enable real-time monitoring of equipment, allowing swift recovery in case of theft. Geofencing technology further enhances security by triggering alerts when equipment leaves designated areas.

Physical anti-theft devices can also play a crucial role in safeguarding contractors’ machinery. Track locks, ram locks and immobilisers effectively render the equipment inoperable when not in use, deterring potential thieves. Alarm systems and tamper-proof locks provide an added layer of protection, alerting site personnel and authorities to any unauthorised access or tampering attempts.

Should the worst happen and you lose plant, your chances of securing its recovery are twice as likely if you have paid the modest one-off cost to have the plant protected by CESAR/Datatag. Visible markings to deter theft and hidden transponders enable police to identify ownership of recovered plant.

Additional Considerations for Hired-In Plant

Theft of hired-in plant introduces a different set of considerations. In such cases, the hire company may seek to recover ongoing hire fees until the stolen equipment is either returned or compensated for. It is essential for clients to double-check whether their insurance coverage includes protection against such liabilities. Without adequate coverage, businesses may find themselves responsible for significant financial obligations.

Addressing Insurance Coverage

When it comes to insurance coverage for contractors’ plant and the site in general, understanding the site security requirements set by your insurer is crucial. Some policies may have security conditions which are hard to comply with and, as with most things, cheapest isn’t always best.

An important aspect of an insurance brokers role is to check policy wordings and find a policy which the client is able to comply with – much better to pay a little extra than lose plant and have a claim repudiated due to breach of policy conditions.

Proactively safeguarding contractors’ plant will help with initially lowering the cost of your insurance and in the long run should avoid the harsh premium increases which usually follow large theft claims.

Selecting the appropriate insurance coverage is vital and having a knowledgeable broker can help navigate the complexities of insurance policies.

Get in touch with Gary or one of our insurance specialists by calling 0330 058 6559 or emailing

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