<%BANNER%>

Jobsite security in residential construction

University of Florida Institutional Repository

PAGE 1

JOBSITE SECURITY IN RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION By FRANCISCO MONTEALEGRE A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULLFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2003

PAGE 2

ii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my parents, Mr. a nd Mrs. Montealegre, the most important people in my life. Without their help and their support throughout my university career and now in graduate school this thesis would never have happened. Also I want to thank God for the wisdom and the fortress he has given me to achieve the goals in my life, becau se without Him nothing is possible. Finally I want to express my sincere gratitude to Pr ofessor Jimmie Hinze for his help, guidance, support and patience in the de velopment of this document. Also special thanks go to the rest of my committee me mbers, Dr Robert C. Stroh and Dr. Leon Wetherington and my friend Xinyu Huang for th eir assistance and supervision of this document.

PAGE 3

iii TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...................................................................................................ii LIST OF TABLES..............................................................................................................v LIST OF FIGURES...........................................................................................................vii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION.........................................................................................................1 1.1 Background.............................................................................................................1 1.2 Purpose of the Study...............................................................................................2 2 LITERATURE REVIEW..............................................................................................4 3 METHODOLOGY......................................................................................................11 4 RESULTS................................................................................................................... .16 4.1 General Information About The Responding Companies.....................................16 4.1.1 Houses Completed per Year...................................................................17 4.1.2 Development Sites..................................................................................18 4.1.3 Percentage Subcontracted......................................................................19 4.1.4 Measures to Ensure the Secu rity of Individual Houses..........................21 4.1.5 Security Measures used when Projects are Located in Existing Neighborhoods or Remote Areas...........................................................24 4.2 Theft...................................................................................................................... 26 4.2.1 Companys Theft Experiences and Value of these Thefts.....................26 4.2.2 Types of Incidents Experienced.............................................................30 4.2.3 Other Measures to Curtail Jobsite Theft................................................34 4.2.4 Jobsite Layout........................................................................................35 4.2.5 Incidents Reported to the Police.............................................................36 4.2.6 Deductible on Insurance Policy..............................................................38 4.2.7 Tool Theft Prevention............................................................................39 4.2.8 Equipment Theft Prevention..................................................................41

PAGE 4

iv 4.2.9 Workers and Theft..................................................................................43 4.3 Vandalism..............................................................................................................44 4.3.1 Companys Vandalism Experiences a nd Value of these Incidents........44 4.3.2 Incidents Reported to the Police.............................................................47 4.3.3 Types of Vandalism Incidents Experienced by Respondents................48 4.3.4 Vandals Caught......................................................................................49 4.3.5 Who are the Vandals..............................................................................50 4.3.6 Other Steps to Curtail Vandalism...........................................................51 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS......................................................52 5.1 Conclusions.......................................................................................................52 5.2 Recommendations for Homebuilders................................................................54 5.3 Recommendations for Future Research............................................................55 APPENDIX A SAMPLE COVER LETTER......................................................................................56 B SAMPLE SURVEY...................................................................................................57 C SAMPLE SIZE ESTIMATION TABLE....................................................................59 D SPEARMANS CORRELATIONS...........................................................................61 LIST OF REFERENCES..................................................................................................63 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................65

PAGE 5

v LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Equipment theft by type..........................................................................................5 2-2 Equipment theft frequency by State........................................................................7 4-1 Houses built per year.............................................................................................18 4-2 Size of firm and security measures.......................................................................23 4-3 Average number of measures ta ken, large firms vs. small firms..........................23 4-4 Distribution of theft incidents from 1 to 5.............................................................27 4-5 Loss distributions of theft losses less than 5 thousand..........................................29 4-6 Average of theft annual losses per million dollars of work volume; small firms vs. large firms..............................................................................................30 4-7 Losses resulting from tool theft in past 3 years.....................................................30 4-8 Losses resulting from vehi cle theft in past 3 years...............................................31 4-9 Losses resulting from off-road equipment theft in past 3 years............................31 4-10 Losses resulting from office equi pment theft in past 3 years................................32 4-11 Losses resulting from materi al theft in past 3 years..............................................32 4-12 Other steps taken by the firms to curtail theft.......................................................34 4-13 Layout decisions....................................................................................................36 4-14 Deductible amount of the builder’s risk insurance................................................39 4-15 Size of the firm and measur es to prevent tool theft...............................................41 4-16 Size of the firm and the average number of measures to secure tool theft...........43

PAGE 6

vi 4-17 Average annual vandalism losses per million dollars of work volume; small firms vs. large firms..............................................................................................47

PAGE 7

vii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Distribution of the compan ies in the study (N=122).............................................17 4-2 Number of housing development areas (N=112).................................................19 4-3 Work Subcontracted (N=128)...............................................................................20 4-4 Measures to secure individual houses (N=128)....................................................21 4-5 Firms that employ special measur es when projects are located in neighborhood areas...............................................................................................24 4-6 Firms that employ special measures when projects are located in remote areas..26 4-7 Number of theft incidents in the past three years (N=121)...................................27 4-8 Companies’ estimated total loss of thefts in past three years (N=123).................28 4-9 Average of annual theft losses per million dollars of work volume.....................29 4-10 Frequency of theft incidents by type of loss.........................................................33 4-11 Average cost of theft losses by t ype of loss (three year period)...........................33 4-12 Percent of thefts repor ted to the police (N=116)...................................................36 4-13 Minimum value of loss reported to the police (N=90)..........................................37 4-14 Percentage of stol en items recovered....................................................................38 4-15 Measures to prevent tool theft (N=103)................................................................40 4-16 Measures to prevent equipment theft (N=74).......................................................41 4-17 Other measures to prevent equipment theft (N=26)..............................................42 4-18 Company perceptions that on-site wo rkers are involved in thefts (N=101).........43

PAGE 8

viii 4-19 Number of vandalism incident s in the past 3 years (N=115)................................45 4-20 Estimated total losses due to vanda lism in the past 3 years (N=110)...................46 4-21 Average annual vandalism losses per million dollars of work volume.................46 4-22 Incidents of vandalism re ported to the police (N=108)........................................47 4-23 Vandalism by type (N=76)....................................................................................48 4-24 Percentage of vandals caught (N=84)...................................................................49 4-25 Who were the vandals (N=51)..............................................................................50

PAGE 9

ix Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Building Construction ABSTRACT JOBSITE SECURITY IN RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION By Francisco Montealegre August 2003 Chair: Jimmie Hinze Cochair: Robert Stroh Major Department: Building Construction Construction crime can cost a homebuilder hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. Theft and vandalism on c onstruction sites is a common problem for the construction industry. Therefore, securing th e jobsite is critical to a void theft and vandalism. This thesis presents the effects that theft and vandalism have on the homebuilding industry as well as the common measures take n by residential contractors in Florida to curtail jobsite crime. Data for this research were ob tained through a mailed survey. The survey participants consisted of Florida members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Based on 128 survey respondents the results of this research show that construction theft and vandalism incidents are serious problems but they can be minimized by taking precautionary measures. Most thefts are preventable, and if precautions are not taken, profits will be ad versely impacted. Ignoring the problem does not only make the problem worse, but en courages criminals to attack again.

PAGE 10

x A culture of planning and reporting crimes needs to be created among homebuilders in order to address this problem at the root.

PAGE 11

1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background Jobsite crime can be a major problem for construction contract ors. Incidents of theft and vandalism on construc tion projects cost the indus try millions of dollars each year, and it has been increasi ng during the past years. For example in 1990, according to estimates of the Associated General Contr actors, an average c ontractor lost about $13,000 to theft (November 1990/ the Construc tor). In 2001, this amount increased to $18,500. In addition, Caterpillar, Inc. reported in 1990 that $1.2 billon was lost due to theft of heavy equipment. This estimated amount increased in 2001 to $1.5 billon nationwide. Crime prevention on construction site s has become a major concern for all responsible contractors. The cont ractor’s ability to effectivel y control crimes is often the difference between taking a loss or making a profit on a project. Crime prevention is the key to avoiding or at least minimizing the problem of theft on construction jobsites. Losing tools, materials and heavy equipment to theft may be considered a cost of doing business on a construction site, but taking reasonable security measures can make the difference between being a frequent target or an infrequent one. Jobsite crime will never be totally stopped; however, measures can be taken to make it difficult for criminals to do their jobs For example, measures can be taken to make a construction site unattractive to criminals.

PAGE 12

2 No contractor, whether large or small, comm ercial or residentia l, is immune from theft and vandalism. Some builders tend to a llow some losses to o ccur and routinely absorb these costs while expecting their insu rance carrier to cover the remaining costs. Unfortunately, this approach just harms the contractor in the long run as the insurance premiums will be increased when a firm has a bad loss history. Tolerating theft can have a huge adverse impact on theft losses and the profit margin of a firm. Curbing jobsite crime starts with the development and implementation of a security plan before the contractor begins to work on a project. In this plan it is essential to have the collaboration of all the participating part ies, including employees and subcontractors, in order to create an e nvironment that is not conductive to theft Construction crime is a very damaging t ype of activity. It affects the general contractor who loses money through outri ght expenditures, in creased insurance premiums, increased worker hours, and time lost for the replacement of stolen equipment and materials. Other parties, as manufacturers also lose legitimate sales of equipment to black marketers who sell stolen equipment at very competitive prices. Lastly the project owner incurs added costs, as these expenditure s will be reflected in the total project cost in the long run. 1.2 Purpose of the Study Because there is not much information written about this topic, the purpose of this study is to collect and analyze data that will help to discover the magnitude of losses due to theft and vandalism and to identify jobsite security m easures being implemented by contractors and/or developers. Ultimately the results of this study are intended to provide

PAGE 13

3 information that will assist contractors in c ontrolling losses from internal and external theft as well as vandalism.

PAGE 14

4 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Theft and vandalism is a serious proble m in the construction industry. Losing equipment, materials, and tools as a result of theft, costs the average contractor thousands of dollars each year. The total losses from theft and vandalism on c onstruction sites have increased dramatically over the past decade. With all of the pressures of today’s competitive construction market, the last thing a contractor needs is the added expense of replacing stolen or damaged property. According to information from the Associ ated General Contractors of America, individual contractors lose an average of $ 18,500 a year in tool theft. Unfortunately, Rowerdink (1987) found that many builders are oblivious to the problem, and he estimated that theft adds more than 2 percent to the total co st of construction. In addition, a spokesman for the National Association of Ho me Builders, stated, “ Statistics on theft and vandalism are hard to nail down because many incidents simply are not reported” (Security and material contro l on jobsite 1987). “Many build ers accept thes e losses as part of doing business while others are acc epting losses as an element of production”. The lack of security control to combat thes e losses indicates that contractors need to expand their understanding of the problem and to implement practical solutions (Rowerdink 1987). According to Sally Pfeffer (2001), “t ool theft is a significant issue for construction companies, and the arrival of sites on the Internet has made the problem

PAGE 15

5 worse. Websites can be used to quickly sell stolen products. This practice is becoming a Steal-to-Order Business. A person just ha s to advertise over the Net that he has construction equipment for sale, the person looking connects to the buyer, and once he finds a buyer or like piece of equipment, he st eels it, changes the serial number and ships it. And the person purchasing the equipment doe snt even know it is stolen, Pfeffer (2001). Pfeffer (2001) stated that stolen tools are easy to resell because there is no standard method for recording or registeri ng serial numbers. In addition, contractors contribute to this problem because they do not take time to record the serial numbers. Another target, besides tools, is heavy machinery, such as bobcats and tractors. Denis Taylor and Co, a company that rent s larger equipment a nd operators to many Atlanta contracting firms, reported that about ten machines were stolen in the past 25 years including two last su mmer (Jessie Bond 2000). These are expensive losses. Bobcats cost about $30,000, and crawle r loader backhoes cost around $80,000 (see Table 2.1). Table 2-1 : Equipment theft by type Source NER1/ISO2 October 2001 Rank Type 1 Loader (includes Skid Steer) 2 Tractor 3 Backhoe Loader 4 Forklift 5 Dozer 6 Harvesting Equipment 7 Generator 8 Excavator 9 Trencher 1 NER National Equipment Register 2 ISO International Organization for Standardization

PAGE 16

6 A problem with larger construction equipment made by some of the big manufacturers is that they ar e keyed alike, making it easy for people in the construction industry to gain access to them. Thieves typi cally sell the machines for quick cash, and buyers put them back to work on other construction sites. Complete national statistics do not exist, but limited existing figures suggest a huge problem that it is getting worse. Reports from the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) show an annual increase of up to 20% in the value of stolen equipment since 1996. The report also shows theft as the most co mmon cause of loss of heavy equipment, representing more than 50% of all causes of loss. Some na tional surveys have suggested that the total annual losses c ould be as high as $1 billion. Heavy losses also result from indirect costs, such as rent als, downtime, wasted management time and project overrun penalties. Perhaps the most worrisome statistic fo r owners and insurers is that as little as 10 to 15% of the stolen equipment is ever recovered (2002 National Equipment Register, Inc.). When heavy equipment is stolen from a company, the company not only loses an expensive piece of machinery, but it experiences lost worker productivity, lost job time, down time for operators, higher insurance prem iums, and the possible cancellation of the insurance policy, with the accompanying ri sk of jeopardizing bonding and borrowing power. Theft of heavy machinery is well organi zed, according to supervisory special agent, Tracey Reinhold, of FBI’s major thef t transportation crimes unit in Washington. He claims that thieves “usually have a buye r before they steal so mething” (Rawl 2000).

PAGE 17

7 Often the heavy equipment thief will set out to steal a specific piece of equipment that has a specific cash value or for which a buyer as been identified prior to the theft. The heavy equipment thief usually plans a care ful escape. To make such plans, the thief may show up at a construction site three or four times in one day in order to determine the contractors routine and secu rity measures (NUCA May 1986). The frequency of equipment theft is not uniformly distributed in the United States. Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgi a and Illinois seem to be the most frequent targets for heavy equipment thieves. From 1998 to 2001, Florida has been among the top five targeted states. However in 2000 and 2001, Florida escalated to the second position right behind Texas (see Table 2.2). Table 2-2: Equipment Theft Frequency by State With the construction industry booming, th e demand for equipment often exceeds the supply. Delivery of machines can take as lo ng as three months w ith little reduction in the sales price. With this in mind, thieves ar e cracking into this lu crative market (Rawl 2000). The Federal Bureau of Investigation cons iders the theft of h eavy equipment to be a crime with one of the highest profit s, yet a low risk of detection. Source NER/ISO October 2001 Rank 2001 2000 1999 1998 1 Texas Texas Texas Texas 2 Florida Florida North Carolina North Carolina 3 North Carolina North Carolina Georgia Georgia 4 Georgia Georgia Illinois Florida 5 Illinois Illinois Florida California 6 Missouri Indiana Missouri Illinois 7 California Minnesota Indiana Ohio 8 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Ohio Oklahoma 9 Tennessee Michigan Oregon Indiana 10 Indiana South Carolina Pennsylvania South Carolina

PAGE 18

8 The reward to the thief far outweighs the risks taken. The low recovery rate is a clear indication of the low risk for a thief. Ev en if an item is recovered, an arrest may not be made. When an arrest is made, a conviction may not be secured. Even when a conviction is secured, the penalt y is likely to be light (Nat ional Equipment Register, Inc. 2002). A major problem in equipment recovery is the time lapse from the theft to equipment discovery. If a car theft will be ca ught, it is usually minutes or hours, after the crime. An equipment theft occurring on a Fr iday night might not be discovered until the following Monday morning. Equipment owners with larger fleets or multi-site operations might not discover the theft for days, weeks or, in some cases, months. This gives the thief a ‘window’ of opportunity as the stolen equipment can of ten be sold before the theft is even discovered. Suspicious activity such as moving equipment at a strange time of day or on ill-suited transport might draw attention but will not raise an alarm if the theft is still undetected (National Equipment Register, Inc. 2002). According to J. Danek (2000), recovering stolen equipment is difficult. In some cases the heavy equipment is being transpor ted overseas in cargo co ntainers that are marked as containing something else, such as household goods. Also he states that one reason the thieves can get away with such crimes is that, unlike automobiles, heavy equipment does not have universal identificati on numbers, i.e., each manufacturer has its own system of identification. In addition to tools and heavy equipm ent, computers and fax machines, now common in construction site trailers, have been a target of thieves (Bond 2000). With computers playing a significan t operational role, the theft of a computer can seriously

PAGE 19

9 impact the company’s ability to conduct business. What’s more, when tools and machinery are stolen, contractors turn in insurance claims that eventually will cause insurance premiums to increase. Another constant concern is vandalism, which has also increased during the past decade. The reason for this phenomenon is di fferent in nature. According with Susan McGreevy (1999), construction attorney, the days of union and non-union linked vandalism are pretty well over. Police sta tistics indicate that, other than the occasional disgruntled former employee, the majority of vandalism incidents involve teenagers. Since these incidents tend to go in strings and the perpetrators are not particularly sophisticated, prompt reporting to police can be effective in bringing the problem to a quick halt. Vandalism ranges from graffiti and putting foreign substances in fuel tanks, to moving survey markers and using equipment to rip up a job site. These incidents do not happen all the time, but it’s a lot mo re serious than people realize. The figures only represent th e direct costs of losses. Indirect costs are often reported to be anywhere from two to ten times more than the direct costs, and these costs are not paid by insurance but come directly fr om the victims profits. For instance, if the competition uses free or cheap tools and equipm ent, they can bid jobs cheaper and still maintain their profit margins (The Constructor November 1999). Most construction equipment insura nce policies have a $1,000 or more deductible, with contractors paying the deduc tible amount when there is a loss. This deductible reduces profits. For example, if th e profit margin is 5 percent, it takes a

PAGE 20

10 $20,000 contract to pay for a $1,000 loss. If th e profit on a ton of asphalt is $20, it takes 50 tons to pay for the loss (The Constructor November 1999). In summary, staying competitive in th e contracting business means controlling costs. The best solution to this proble m lies in taking proper precautions. McGreevy (1999) stated that the loss prev ention professionals say that the biggest single impediment to controlling theft and vandalism is the at titude of contractors themselves. Allowing these losses to happen makes the problem wors e. Consequently, the answer is the need for a serious loss-prevention program that will save money for the construction community.

PAGE 21

11 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Limited data exist on the o ccurrence of theft and vanda lism in the construction industry. This research study was formulated to expand the data currently in existence. The study began by examining various resource s on the subject, including the Internet, journal articles, newspapers and similar documents. This investigation formed the literature review and the ba se of this research. It was decided that the type of informati on that was needed c ould best be obtained through a mailed survey. Dr. Jimmie Hin ze had developed a survey on theft and vandalism several years ago. The objective of that survey was very similar to the objective of this research, but it was fo cused on large commercial construction contractors. Since the surv ey was not focused on the homebuilding industry, some modifications needed to be made to it. The modified survey, focused on theft and vandalism on homebuilding projects, was designed to obtain both quantitative a nd qualitative information. The final survey contained two types of questions. Most questions solicited a multiple-choice response that allowed the respondents to simply ch eck an appropriate answer while providing valuable information about the specific means and methods used to curtail jobsite crime. Open-ended questions were also asked and these were designed to obtain additional information about individual methods that cont ractors use to avoid or minimize theft and vandalism on their homebuilding sites.

PAGE 22

12 Several iterations of refinements were made to the survey. The final survey consisted of questions that a ppeared on two pages. It was fe lt that a short survey would yield a higher response rate. The objective of this research was to de termine the magnitude of the problem of theft and vandalism in the homebuilding community, the approaches been taken to control these types of losses, and to assess the most effectiv e means of controlling these loses. The survey was carefully designed to obtai n the desired information within a short amount of time. An informed respondent coul d complete the survey within ten minutes without referring to any other data source. Basically the survey was di vided in 3 major sections: I. Section 1 was designed to obtain inform ation about the company. This part asked about the annual volume of business of the respondent and the percentage of work that was subcontracted to others. Also, it asked about the number of houses the firm built per year, as well as the number of development sites on which these houses were built. This was information sought to establish the context related to the individual experiences of firms. Smaller companies might employ different types of security measures than larger companies. In addition, larger companies often possess more resources, which might allow them to employ different means of job site security (see survey in Appendix B). II. Section 2 of the survey pertained to e xperiences that homebuilders have had with theft. This included the estimated loss in pa st years, and the type of incidents that

PAGE 23

13 had occurred. Also, the respondents were asked about information related to reporting thefts. Additionally, specific ques tions were asked about measures taken by the firms to prevent the theft of tools, materials and equipment. III. Section 3 also consisted of company experiences but these were related to vandalism. Questions were asked about the measures taken to avoid vandalism, as well as each firm’s experience with this type of crime. This information was sought to determine the most common type of vandalism incidents that occur on homebuilding projects, including graffiti, destruction of in-place materials, broken glass etc. The geographical scope of the study was limite d to the homebuilders in the state of Florida. Once the survey was in its fina l version, it was submitted to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Univer sity of Florida for approval. In order to try to maximize the respon se rate and to minimize bias in the responses, a cover letter was developed to encourage potential res pondents to participate in the study. The cover lette r introduced the study to th e potential respondent and provided the reader with the benefits of participating in the study. Specifically the participants were promised a summary report of the research findings if they wanted and requested one. The general idea was to ma ximize the response ra te, which would reduce the chance of bias in the study. The cover le tter was included in the materials sent for approval to the IRB. The materials were approved by the IRB with no exceptions being noted. The sample population consisted of the me mbers of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The mailing labels of potential participants were obtained from

PAGE 24

14 the NAHB. The labels were acquired through the gracious efforts of Dr Robert Stroh who has a good working relationship with the NAHB. The complete population of homebuilders in Florida accounted for approximately 4000 firms. In order to have viable results, suffici ent replies to the survey were needed. Computations were made to determine the de sired number of replies. This number of replies must be large enough to be scientifically valid. The parameters used to calculate the sample size or “ n value ” is explained below: € Bound error about 5% € Level of confidence = 80% € Standard error for P = 50% or 0.5 € Z value according to the standardized normal table = 1.28 Since the value of P for the study was not know n, a conservative value of 0.5 or 50% was used. Formula: n = Z (squared) x P (1-P)/B (squared) n = [(1.28 x 1.28) x (0.5 x 0.5) / 0.25] x 100 n = 164 In summary, 164 was determined to be minimum desired sample size to meet the requirements for the research objectives (see table in Appendix C). Based on the estimated sample size, 1700 fi rms were randomly selected from the original population of homebuilders. This accounted for 42.5% of the total population in Florida. After the IRB approval was obtained the surveys were sent out with a postage paid return envelopes. A to tal of 128 completed surveys we re returned. Also received

PAGE 25

15 were 60 undeliverable envelopes representing ba d addresses or firms that were no longer in business. The 128 replies represented appr oximately an 8% response rate, slightly lower than originally expected. The 128 responses were organized and anal yzed by using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Many tables a nd graphs were generated from the analysis of the information.

PAGE 26

16 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS 4.0 Introduction The results of this research are presented in three separate sections in order to clearly present the findings. The first secti on gives the general characteristics of the respondents to the study, including such issu es as the size of the firms, the average number of houses completed per year, and the work subcontracted to others. General information is also provided on wa ys projects s ites are secured. The second section present findings re garding jobsite thef t. This section incorporates a summary of the theft incidents experienced by the firms in the past years, the estimated costs incurred due to thefts, and an analysis of the specific measures that firms use to curtail the theft of ma terial, tools, equipments, etc. The last section presents the results ga thered about construction vandalism. The information presented shows the effect that vandalism has on the residential construction industry. This section reveals th e most frequent types of va ndalism incidents and the most costly ones for residential contractors, a nd also includes information on the type of individuals that are more likely to act as va ndals so contractors ca n take the necessary precautions. 4.1 General Information About The Responding Companies. Based on 122 survey responses, the distribut ion of the company sizes is presented in Figure 4.1. This graph shows that more than sixty percent of the survey participants

PAGE 27

17 were companies with an annual dollar volume of work of less than five million. About twenty percent ranged between five and ten million dollars. The remaining twenty percent ranged from twenty million dollars to more than $100 million. The findings of this research represent the re sponses of primarily small companies. The smallest firm in the survey had an annual dollar volume of work of $400,000 and the largest company had an annual work volume of about $130 milli on. The average volume was $11.44 million and the median was $4 million. Figure 4-1 Distribution of the compan ies in the study (N=122) 4.1.1 Houses completed per year The number of houses completed per ye ar varied considerably among the respondents. The average cont ractor completed about 67 hous es per year; however, the median was twelve houses. Of 117 respondent s who provided this information, only one respondent mentioned that they do not co mplete any houses because they do only 63.1 18.9 2.5 0.80.8 2.5 1.2 0.4 0.8 0.9 1.6 6.5 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 700.4 to 5 5.1 to10 10.1 to 20 20.1 to 30 30.1 to 40 40.1 to 50 50.1 to 60 60.1 to 70 70.1 to 80 80.1 to 90 90.1to 100 100+ Annual Dollar Volume of Work in MillionsPercentage

PAGE 28

18 additions to existing houses. The maximum number of houses per year was reported to be 2000. This accounts for less than 1% of th e companies responding to the survey. About half of the respondents complete ten houses or less per year. This was true of 58 responses (see Table 4.1). There is a direct relationship be tween the size of the company and the number of houses complete d per year. The bigger the company, the more houses it completes in a single year. It is important to mention, however, that the type of residence (size, design and cost) play s an important role in the number of units that are completed annually. Table 4-1 Houses built per year Houses Frequency Percentage 0 1 0.8 1 to 10 57 48.8 11 to 20 18 15.4 21 to 30 15 12.8 31 to 40 6 5.1 41 to 50 4 3.4 51 to 100 6 5.2 101 to 300 4 3.4 300 + 6 5.1 Total valid answers 117 100 Missing 11 Total 128 4.1.2 Development sites Survey participants were asked about the number of construction development sites. For example, several houses might be built in a single subdivision. Based on 112 responses, firms built houses on an average of 6 development areas (the median was four). The minimum number of houses on a single development si te was one and the maximum was thirty, with the average number of houses per development was 10.

PAGE 29

19 The analysis shows that of the 112 re sponses, the most common number of development areas was between two and fi ve accounting for more than 60% of the population. The second most common response was between 6 to 10, which accounted for 17.9% (see Figure 4.2). It is important to note that 8.9% or ten companies reported building one home in each development site. This indicates that ten companies in the study are perhaps small firms or that th ey construct high-end custom homes. Figure 4-2: Number of housing development areas (N=112) 4.1.3 Percentage subcontracted The data were examined to determine what percent of the work residential construction firms typically subcontract. The data indicate that, on average, companies subcontract 91.12% of the work. The median an swer was 100%. This indicates that most firms subcontract most of their work. Despite this, the minimum percentage subcontracted was 5% and the maximum was 100%. According to the findings, a significant number of firms subcontract between 90 to 100 percent of the work; this category accounts for 80.3% of the respondents. The responses can be broken down as shown in fi gure 4.3. This includes sixty-five firms that 8.9 60.7 17.9 7.1 5.4 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 12 to 56 to 1011 to 2021 to 30 HousesPercentage

PAGE 30

20 subcontract all their work, six firms that subcontract 99% and 98% of the work, and 15 firms subcontract 95% and, 17 firms that su bcontract 90%. The remaining 32% of the firms are distributed as shown in Figure 4.3. Figure 4-3 Work subcontracted (N=128) Further analysis shows that there is no obvious relationship between the size of the company and the percentage of work subc ontracted. Size apparently is not a factor that impacts the decision to subcontract wor k. Homebuilders tend to act as managers and not as builders of the work. This also redu ces the chances of added costs due to lost equipment and tools due to jobsite crime because subcontractors own the equipment. Nonetheless, this does not help to reduce crime on job sites. On the other hand, the spearman’s correlation (see Appendix D) was used to examine any relationship between the work subcontracted and the company lose s. The findings reveal that firms that subcontract more percentage of the work ha ve fewer losses due to jobsite crime. In addition, the more work is subcontracted the less measures need to be used to prevent tool and equipment theft. The information suggests that to subcontract the work, homebuilders not only distribute the risk betw een the subs but also avoid costly loses 90% to 100% 80.3% 70% to 89% 12.5% 30% to 49% 1.6% 50% to 69% 4.0% 5% to 29% 1.6%

PAGE 31

21 4.1.4 Measures to ensure the security of individual houses An attempt was made to determine what measures are commonly used by residential contractors to ensu re the security of individua l houses. Figure 4.4 shows the most common methods used by contractors to secure houses being built. Notice that traditional locksets, warning signs and dead bol ts account for the largest percentage. It is interesting to see that the simplest methods are the most popular. Although inexpensive, they are simple and may also be effective. On the other hand, security dogs, bars on windows, and worker badge systems were not used by any of the survey participants. The employment of guard dogs involves the use of other security measures. Perhaps this explains their lack of popul arity among contractors. Guard dogs require extra fences, additional warning signs, an imal handlers etc. Moreover, dogs cannot distinguish a thief from a neighborhood naughty kid. Injuries or even death could result where the contractor might be held legally responsible. Figure 4-4: Measures to secure individual houses (N=128) 57.8 17.2 8.6 7.8 000 5.5 11.7 13.3 13.3 29.7 41.4 44.5 90.60 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100Locksets Signs Dead Bolts Remove Equip. Alarms Ext. Lighting Fence Police Patrol Gate Guard Night Guard Other Cameras Bars Dogs Badges Percentage

PAGE 32

22 Bars on windows and worker badge syst ems are not uses by participating contractors. According to th e results, contract ors prefer to close windows and door openings with plywood sheets. Bars on windows vi sually expose appliances and fixtures as well as materials stored inside. This can encourage thieves to find other entrances. Plywood sheets are inexpensive and easy to install and clos e openings completely. Figure 4.4 represents all the measures that were specifically asked about in the survey and their extent of use among cont ractors. The results imply that simple, inexpensive, and practical methods are preferred by most homebuilders. More technological and expensive measures (alarms, cameras, gate guards, etc,) are less likely to be used by residential contractors. Larg er firms may have the needed funds to permit them to expend money on these measures. Additi onally, the results of this research show that larger companies are more likely to own construction machinery and equipment. Additional measures to secure sites were given by 7.8% of the contractors. These include: (1) Putting lock boxes on the doors, and only authorized persons keep the keys; (2) Parking a van or vehicle on site most of the time to ma ke it look as if someone is inside; (3) Securing job traile rs with security bars over the windows and heavy duty locks on the doors; (4) Know your neighbors, be nice and help them if you can. It will pay off; and (5) Just-in-time delivery of materials that reduces the amount of materials left on site. An analysis was conducted to determine if there was a relationship between the size of the company and the types of security measures taken. The findings reveal that some relationships exist. Night guards and alarm systems are measures that are more commonly employed by the larger firms. Sm all firms are more likely to remove equipment from the site (see table 4.2).

PAGE 33

23 Table 4-2: Size of firm and security measures Measure Frequency Percentage Night guard Large firms ($5M+) 8 14.8% Small firms (<$5M) 2 2.9% Alarm systems Large firms ($5M+) 22 40.7% Small firms (<$5M) 14 20.6% Remove unused equipment Large firms ($5M+) 19 35.2% Small firms (<$5M) 31 45.6% Smaller companies are more likely to remove their equipment from site while larger companies have a tendency to protect them on site by using night guards and alarm systems. Further analysis revealed that larger fi rms have a tendency to use more security measures than smaller firms to secure their si tes. Large companies us e an average of four different types of measures while the smalle r companies use an average of three. Even though, the difference is only one measure, th e correct application of one measure to protect the site could be the di fference between being a easy ta rget or not (see Table 4.3). Table 4-3 : Average number of measures ta ken, large firms vs. small firms. Mean N Std Deviation # of measures Significance Small firms (<$5M) 2.99 77 1.499 3 0.002 Large firms ($5M>) 3.86 51 1.51 4 Note: Differences are statistically si gnificant at p< 0.02 based on ANOVA

PAGE 34

24 4.1.5 Security measures used when project s are located in existing neighborhoods or remote areas. Contractors were asked about measures taken when projects are located in existing neighborhoods. Based on sixty responses the results show that 46.9 % of the respondents utilize different measures wh en projects are located in existing neighborhoods; the remaining 53.1% of companie s do not take any different precautions (see Figure 4.5). Among the 46.9% of the respondents that use different measures in existing neighborhoods, a significant number have a common view about the appropriate measures to use. Figure 4-5: Firms that employ special measures when projects are located in neighborhood areas Safety is a frequent concern when pe ople, especially children, are nearby. Contractors tend to focus more on removing hazards from the site, building in a safe area, covering holes and removing debris, etc, than to focus on security problems. To them the safety issue is more important than the secu rity issue when there are people living around the site, because a severe injury could result in a lawsuit due to the failure to secure the site. Yes 1. Safety is a frequent concern 2. Fences without top rail 3. Neighborhood watch no 53.1% yes 46.9%

PAGE 35

25 Fences are another way of keeping peopl e and kids off the property, yet it is important to notice that contra ctors use fencing around the site independent of the size of the project or the type of neighborhood where the projects are located. Some neighborhoods are more secure than others and do not require too many security measures. One respondent suggested that fences should be installed without a top rail because they are harder to climb. Als o, motion sensor lights are effective and inexpensive. Another comp any preferred to rely on neighborhood watch and reward systems. They preferred to ta lk to neighbors (especially reti rees) and pay them a reward in order to keep an eye on the site. Se tting up a neighborhood watch program with other residents and other commercial establishmen ts in the area helps to reduce losses. A second variable included in the ques tionnaire dealt with measures that contractors take when project s are located in unpopulated ar eas. Remote units are more difficult to protect because of their vulnerab le location, so it is essential to know the geographic region and to prepare measures us ing common sense, as mentioned by one of the companies. Based on forty-six respons es, the results show that 35.9 % of the respondents take different measures when projec ts are located in remote areas (see Figure 4.6). The respondents that answered this qu estion had some common views about what they do on projects in remote areas. The repl ies indicate that cont ractors primarily use police patrols, regular visits by themselv es, especially on weekends, just-in-time deliveries, fences, and the minimization of va luables left on site such as materials, appliances, and power tools.

PAGE 36

26 Figure 4-6: Firms that employ special measures when projects are located in remote areas One respondent suggested that uninstalled appliances should ne ver be left on job site. Appliances must be insta lled as soon as they are delivered to the site. Furthermore, it is important to dispose all the appliance boxes. Do not advertise the domestic devices being stored or installed by leaving empty delivery boxes around the site with a direct view to the street. 4.2 Theft 4.2.1 Company’s theft experiences and value of these thefts Information was sought on the approximate number of theft incidents that the companies have experienced in the past th ree years. There were 121 responses. The findings show that the average firm experi enced about eighteen theft incidents over a period of three years (the medi an answer was three). This suggests that a company suffers about six thefts per year. In addition, the minimum number of thefts was 0 and the maximum was 1000. According to the findings, a significa nt number of responding firms have experienced between one to five incidents. This accounts for 62 % of the respondents. These responses are broken down, as shown in Table 4.4. Yes 1. Police patrols 2. Regular visits to the site 3. JIT deliveries 4. Min. of valuables left on site yes 35.9% no 64.1%

PAGE 37

27 Figure 4-7: Number of theft incidents in the past three years (N=121) Eighteen firms, or 14.9% of the responde nts, experienced be tween six and ten incidents. The third category that comprise s eight firms, or 6.6%, experienced between eleven and twenty incidents. The remai nder are distributed as shown in Figure 4.7. Table 4-4: Distribution of theft in cidents from 1 to 5 Number of thefts Frequency Percent 1 19 15.7 2 24 19.8 3 20 16.5 4 7 5.8 5 5 4.2 Total 75 62 One responding company reported a very high history of theft incidents in comparison with the rest. This company estimated they had had approximately 1000 cases of theft on their construction sites in the past three years. They approximated the costs of these thefts to be around $180,000 in total losses including hand tools, power tools, office equipment, and construction mate rials. According to the survey, this firm 10.7 62 6.6 2.5 3.3 14.9 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 01 to 56 to 1011 to 2021 to 5051 + Theft incidentsPercentage

PAGE 38

28 completed about 100 houses per year. They men tioned that they had tried everything to curtail jobsite theft on th eir construction sites. Respondents were asked about the estima ted value of these thefts. Based on 123 responses, the company theft losses aver aged $10,800 over three years (median of $1500). In addition, the minimum value of th eft incidents reported by the respondents was $100 and the maximum was $200,000. The company that suffered $200,000 in losses reported about 100 cases of theft per year. Th is company was one of the largest in the study with an annual volume of work exceeding $100 million. According to the findings, 62.6% of the companies in the study lost between $100 and $5,000 from theft over a threeyear period (see Figure 4.8). Figure 4-8: Companies’ estimated total loss of th efts in past three years (N=123) The results suggest that over a three-year period more than 60 % of the residential contractors in Florida not only e xperienced one to five incident s of theft but also the cost of these thefts ranged from $100 to $5,000 dollars Twenty-six percent of the contractors experienced more than $5000 in theft losses in a period of three years. Eleven percent experienced no losses. No construction site is immune to theft and only a small number of firms have been able to avoid jobsite thef ts. The data of firms with theft losses from 50k + 4.9% 21k to 30k 3.3% 31k to 50K 1.6% 6k to 10K 9.7% 11k to 20k 6.5% none 11.4% 0.1k to 5k 62.6%

PAGE 39

29 $100 to $5000 is broken down in Table 4.5 to provide a better unde rstanding of the distribution of the losses. Table 4-5: Loss distributions of theft losses less than 5 thousand Values of theft Frequency Percentage of in thousands Responses 0.1 to 1000 29 23.6 1001 to 2000 27 22.0 2001 to 3000 10 8.1 3001 to 4000 4 3.2 4001 to 5000 7 5.7 TOTAL 77 62.6 Losses of theft per million dollar of volume of work were also analyzed. The data shows that the average company loses about $593 per million dollar of volume of work per year. Basically, for every thousand dollars a company does in work it will suffer sixty cents in losses due to theft. The mi nimum value was $2.78 and the maximum was $11,666. Figure 4.9 shows the distribution of these losses. Figure 4-9: Average of annual theft losses per million dollars of work volume

PAGE 40

30 In addition, smaller homebuilders in the study seem to lose more money than smaller firms (per million dollars of work volume). Smaller firms lose an average of $803.30 while larger firms lose one th ird of this amount (see Table 4.6). Table 4-6: Average of theft annual losses per m illion dollars of work volume; small firms vs. large firms THEFT Mean N Std Deviation Median Significance Small firms (<$5M) 803.3 66 1726.04 236.1 0.046 Large firms ($5M+) 236.3 39 404.72 92.59 Note: Differences are statistically signi ficant at p< 0.046 based on ANOVA 4.2.2 Types of incidents experienced. Information was obtained on the type of incidents and the costs that the firms have incurred in the past three years. Five types of theft were examined to determine the items that are the common targets for thieves, namely tools, vehicles, off road equipment, materials, and office equipment. The results show that 44.5 % of the res pondents have experienced tool losses on their construction sites. On a three-year pe riod, the costs of these losses averaged $1,997 per firm. The maximum loss reported was $25,000. Table 4.7 shows the responses broken down by percentages. More than one half of the respondents suffered losses ranging from $20 to $500. However, 7.14% have expe rienced losses larger than $5000. Table 4-7: Losses resulting from tool theft in past 3 years Tool Cost Number of Percentage of Replies Responses From $20 to $250 13 23.21 From $256 to $500 16 28.57 From $501 to $1000 7 12.5 From $1001 to $20004 7.14 From $2001 to $30009 16.07 From $3001 to $50003 5.37 More than $5000 4 7.14 Total 56 100

PAGE 41

31 Based on five responses, the results show that 3.1 % of the respondents have experienced licensed vehicles losses in their construction sites. The average cost of these five incidents was $10,620 over a period of th ree years. The minimum value of these losses was $100 and the maximum was $45,000. Table 4.8 shows the responses broken down by percentages. Table 4-8: Losses resulting from vehicl e theft in past 3 years Vehicle cost Number of Percentage of Replies Responses From $100 to $1000 2 40 From $1001 to $2000 1 20 From $2001 to $5000 1 20 More than $5000 1 20 Total 5 100 Three respondents reported that they ha d off-road equipment stolen from them. The mean cost in three years of thes e incidents was $12,000. Homebuilders lost on average $4000 in off-road equipment pe r year. The maximum theft loss was $32,000. Table 4.9 shows the positive responses broken down by percentages. Table 4-9 : Losses resulting from off-road equipment theft in past 3 years Off road equipment Number of Percentage of cost Replies Responses $2,000 2 66.6 $32,000 1 33.3 Total 3 100 Office equipment losses such as computers, printers, faxes etc. and their costs were analyzed. Based on nine responses, the results indicate that 7% of the respondents have experienced this type of loss on their cons truction sites. The average contractor lost $4,431 in three years. The maximum value of these losses was $10,000 and the minimum reported was $1000.

PAGE 42

32 Table 4-10: Losses resulting from office e quipment theft in past 3 years Computer, Printers Number of Percentage of Faxes, cost Replies Responses $1,000 1 11.1 From $1001 to $2000 2 22.2 From $2001 to $3000 2 22.2 From $3001 to $4000 1 11.1 From $4001 to $5000 1 11.1 More than $5000 2 22.2 Total 9 100 Information was obtained on the theft of construction material along with their costs. Based on eighty-seven (68%) respondents who had expe rienced such losses, the cost was $9,694. In addition, the minimum co st of material thef t reported was $10 and the maximum was $200,000 (see Table 4.11). It would appear intuitive th at vehicle and off-road equipment losses will cost the firms the largest amount of money, but such lo sses are not frequent among homebuilders. Table 4-11: Losses resulting from materi al theft in past 3 years Material Number of Percentage of Cost Replies Responses From $10 to $100 5 5.8 From $101 to $500 17 19.8 From $501 to $1000 14 16.3 From $1001 to $2000 11 12.5 From $2001 to $3000 9 10.3 From $3001 to $4000 4 4.5 From $4001 to $5000 3 3.4 More than $5000 24 27.3 Total 87 100 Figure 4.10 shows a summary of the most common items stolen on construction sites. The data reveal that 68% of the firms participating in this study have experienced loss of construction materials. Hand tools a nd power tools accounted for 44.5% of all the incidents involving theft. The remaining types of theft incidents were each experienced by less than 10% of the respondents.

PAGE 43

33 As shown in Figure 4.10, the major theft pr oblem lies in the th eft of construction materials and tools. This suggests that cons truction materials and tools are the most vulnerable items on jobsites, especially when measures are not enforced to protect them from theft. So residential contractors must pa y special attention to these items in order to cut costs and preserve profits. Although the inci dence of thefts of vehicles and off-road equipment is low, the costs of such thefts are high when they do occur (see Figure 4.11). Figure 4-10: Frequency of theft incidents by type of loss Figure 4-11: Average cost of theft losses by type of loss (three year period) 68 7 1.6 3.1 44.50 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80Const Mat.ToolsComputerVehiclesOffroad equipType of TheftPercentage of responces 9,694 1,997 12,000 10,620 4,431 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000 Const Mat.ToolsComputerVehiclesOffroad equip Type of lossCost in Thousands

PAGE 44

34 4.2.3 Other measures to cu rtail jobsite theft One question in the survey asked about other steps that firms take to curtail jobsite theft. There were fortyfour responses to this question. According to the results, it is essential to minimize tools and equipment left on site, to supervise the site constantly, and to have materials delivered when ready to in stall. Others prefer to talk with neighbors and offer them rewards to keep an eye on the site. Table 4.12 shows the distribution of the steps taken by respondents. Table 4-12: Other steps taken by the firms to curtail theft Steps taken Frequency Percentage JIT deliveries and installation 10 22.7 Minimize materials and tools left 8 18.2 Frequent visits 7 15.9 Talk with neighbors 5 11.4 Keep jobsite locked 2 4.5 Maintain lock tool storage 2 4.5 Extra police patrols 2 4.5 Build security gate 2 4.5 Pay subs on time 1 2.3 Know who is on site 1 2.3 Courtesy home for police officer to live in** 1 2.3 Install mobile alarms 1 2.3 Use same subs 1 2.3 Ask subs to report anything strange 1 2.3 Total 44 100.0 **Measure taken by company with an annual volume of work of 80 million. These findings imply that material an d tool control are high priority for responsible contractors. Orga nized, clean jobsites, and protected valuable tools and materials appear to be very importa nt factors for combating theft. In addition, neighbors can play an important role in avoiding jobsite theft. The results indicate that contractors talk with neighbors and give them rewards for helping them to supervise the site dur ing nights and weekends. They are encouraged to call the

PAGE 45

35 local police department in case they see something unusual or suspicious. This is a very good and simple method that not only prevents jobsite theft but al so creates a friendly environment for the community around the site. By understanding what drives human behavior, homebuilders can create the c onditions necessary to encourage desired behaviors. Reward systems or a simple and friendly talk with neighbors can help firms create conditions that encourage people to collaborate for the benefit of the project. 4.2.4 Jobsite Layout Jobsite layout is important to maximize productivity and to en sure the efficient flow of work on a project site, but it is also important for the prot ection of materials and tools left on site. The survey asked about la yout decisions that were designed to reduce theft. Twelve replies to this question indicate that this fo rm of layout decision is made primarily with regard to on site mate rials, trailers, and the dumpsters. Designating a secure storage area for mate rials and tools accounts for the largest percentage (see Table 4.13). Homebuilders secu re materials and tools inside selected homes, garages, or even trucks that can be locked after each work day. One measure that is used is to assign the material drop areas wher e they are not in direct view of the street to avoid theft. However, some have opposite views. For example, when materials are visible from the road, the work of thieves is more difficult. In addition, visibility not only makes materials harder to access but also exposes the thief to anyone passing by. Materials left to the side or rear of housing units are better targets for thieves. Findings also show that contractors locate their trailers in front of the building site with a direct view of material storage areas and dumpster s. These measures help to readily detect suspicious behavior.

PAGE 46

36 Table 4-13: Layout decisions Layout decisions Frequency Percentage Designate secure storage area 4 33.3 Keep materials out of sight 3 24.9 One entrance communities 2 16.7 Office trailer location 2 16.7 Dumpster location 1 8.4 Total 12 100 4.2.5 Incidents reported to the police Information was sought on reporting incident s of theft to the police. One question in the survey asked what percen tage of theft incidents are re ported to the police. Based on 116 responses, an average of 64.1% of the thef ts are reported. In addition, some made no theft reports the while others repo rted every theft that occurred. According to the findings, 55.2% of the co mpanies in the study report from 75 to 100% of the theft incidents to the local police. However, 22.4% of the companies do not report any theft incide nts (see Figure 4.12). Figure 4-12 Percent of thefts repor ted to the police (N=116) The second question asked about the mi nimum value of theft loss that was reported to the police. Based on ninety re sponses, the average homebuilder reported a minimum value of $1570 to the police (the median answer was $300). In addition the 1% to 25% 5.2% 26% to 50% 13.8% 51% to 75% 3.4% 76% to 100% 55.2% none 22.4%

PAGE 47

37 minimum value of theft incidents reported to the police was $1 and the maximum was $100,000. The results indicate that 26.6% of the companies in the study reported items valued between $1 and $100. This accounts for the largest percentage The findings show however, that basically about 3% of the firms report only losses exceeding $1000. The remaining percentages are show in Figure 4.13. Figure 4-13: Minimum value of loss reported to the police (N=90 ) The third question pertaining to this subject asked what pe rcentage of stolen items are actually recovered. Based on 117 re sponses, the mean answer was 3.97% (the median answer was 0%). In addition, two firm s reported the recovery of all or 100% of these stolen items. The findings show that basically more than 80% of the companies in the study never recover the items that are stolen from their jobsites. However, 14% recover from one to ten percent of the stolen items. It is evident that the recovery rate is quite low (see Figure 4.14). $1 to $100 26.6% $101 to $200 5.6% $201 to $300 12.2% $301 to $400 2.2% $401 to $500 22.2% 1k + 3.3% Any value 6.7% $501 to 1k 21.2%

PAGE 48

38 In summary, these findings reveal that more than half of the participants in this study report basically all the theft incidents that occur on their jobsites Also, more than 70% report the loss of items with an estimat ed value of $500 or less. However, 80% of the firms never recover their tools and equipm ent. Consider this: fifty-five homebuilders out of 100 report pretty much a ll their theft incidents to th e police. Nevertheless, 44 out of the 55 will never recover the items lost. Th ese are alarming statistics for homebuilders; for this reason, it is import ant to attack the problem at the root. A well-planned prevention program is the key to avoiding losses. Figure 4-14: Percentage of stolen items recovered 4.2.6 Deductible on insurance policy A deductible is the amount of a loss that an insurance policy holder has to pay out-of-pocket before reimbursement begins in accordance with the insurance policy. The survey asked the companies about the deducti ble amount on their builder’s risk insurance policy. Based on 104 responses, the mean deductible amount was $1346 (median of $1000). In addition, the minimum deductible was $250 and the maximum was $10,000. 1% to 10% 14.6% 11% to 50% 3.4% none 80.3% 50% + 1.7%

PAGE 49

39 Statistics show that most firms in th e study have a deductible between $500 and $1000. This accounts for 75.9 % of the respondents. Thirty-six firms out of 104, accounting for 34.6% of respondents, state th ey have a deductible amount of $500. Fortythree firms (or 41.3%) have a deductible amount of $1000 (see Table 4.14). Table 4-14: Deductible amount of the builders risk insurance Responses Frequency Percent 0 3 2.9 250 5 4.8 300 1 1 500 36 34.6 1,000 43 41.3 1,500 3 2.9 2,500 4 3.8 3,000 1 1 5,000 4 3.8 10,000 4 3.8 Total 104 100 4.2.7 Tool Theft Prevention Section 4.2.2 revealed that hand and pow er tools are the primary targets for thieves, costing the average homebuilder a bout $500 per year. This segment examined the measures that residential contractors usua lly take to reduce ha nd and power tools theft in their jobsites. Based on 103 responses, the findings are shown in Figure 4.15, which show the measures preferred by residen tial contractor to secure tools. Minimizing tools left on site accounted for the largest pe rcentage (69.9%) of the seven types of measures examined on this st udy. Tools are easy targets for thieves. Tools get swiped from jobsites, from vehicles, a nd construction trailers, mostly due to their small size.

PAGE 50

40 Figure 4-15: Measures to prevent tool theft (N=103) On the other hand, 67% of the responde nts affirm that they make workers responsible for the tools used. When workers ta ke responsibility for a specific item, they tend to be indirectly motivated to take care of that item. In addition, this responsibility helps promote personal involveme nt that probably prevents or at least reduces tool theft. Marking tools was noted by for 49.5% of the respondents. Marking tools with a visible and durable mark can make the diffe rence between recovering a stolen tool and losing it, especially when proving ownership of the tools taken. It is important to mention that 11.7% of the firms participatin g in this study use other measures to secure th eir tools. Primarily, respondent s prefer to hire employees, workers, and subs who use their own tools. An additional analysis was done to find the level of significance between the measures taken and the size of the companies. The findings reveal that minimizing tools left on site is a common practice of smaller fi rms. Basically, smaller firms tend to enforce this measure more than larger firms (see Table 4.15). 69.9 67 49.5 47.6 17.5 23.3 11.70 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 No tool leftWorker resp. Mark toolsStorage area Tool inventory Supervise trash removal. Other MeasuresPercentage

PAGE 51

41 Table 4-15: Size of the firm and measures to prevent tool theft. Measure Frequency Percentage Minimize tools left Large firms ($5M>) 20 55.6% Small firms (<$5M) 47 69.1% 4.2.8 Equipment theft prevention Equipment theft is a serious and growing problem that costs millions of dollars each year. Managing heavy equipment theft will be more challenging in the new millennium, thanks to the new technologically advanced thieves that annually steal hundreds of vehicles and off-road equipmen t. A question in the survey asked what measures firms take to preven t theft of machinery and equi pment. Based on seventy-four responses, the findings are summarized in Figure 4.16. Figure 4-16: Measures to prevent equipment theft (N=74) Figure 4.16 reveals that 50% of the firms participating in this study park their equipment in well-lighted areas ; this measure accounts for the largest percen tage. Other measures account for 35.1%. Residential c ontractors mention that they use heavy construction equipment locks and chains, priv ate patrols at night (including weekends), 50 35.1 28.4 20.3 17.6 8.1 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Park equip in lighted areas OtherPark in central location Diff. colorAdd IDModify ignition MeasuresPercentage

PAGE 52

42 use rental equipment only, or remove equipment from site at the end of the day. Several firms stated that they that do not own any equipment. For example, the equipment may belong to the sub-contractors or they rented equipment. Others confirm that they use tracking de vices. Basically, this involves the use of satellite-based mobile tracking equipment that uses Global Positioning System (GPS) and embedded cellular technology. The signals produ ced by the GPS satellites are used to determine the precise latitude and longitude coordinates, along with the direction and speed of travel. Figure 4-17: Other measures to prevent equipment theft (N=26) Parking equipment in a central location, using a unique color for the equipment, adding additional identification on the equipmen t, and modifying the ignition were other approaches used. The number of measures used by larg e firms and small firms to prevent equipment and tool thefts were examined. Th e statistical analysis shows that basically there are no differences in the number of meas ures that large and small homebuilders use to prevent these crimes. Firms no matter their size, use an average of three measures to Remove equip. each day 39.1% Tracking devices 5.5% Do not own equip. 33.3% Private patrols 5.5% Locks and chains 16.6%

PAGE 53

43 prevent tool theft and an aver age of two measures to preven t equipment theft (see Table 4.16). Table 4-16 : Size of the firm and the average number of me asures to secure tool theft Tool Theft Equipment theft Prevention Prevention Small firms (<$5M) Mean 2.86 1.22 N 69 48 Std. Dev. 1.21 0.90 Median 3.00 1.00 Large firms ($5M>) Mean 2.50 1.26 N 34 26 Std. Dev. 1.30 0.87 Median 2.00 1.00 4.2.9 Workers and theft Not all thefts are attributed to strange rs. The respondents were basically asked what percentage of thefts in their jobsite s are assumed to involve former employees. Based on 101 responses, the mean answer wa s 21.3%. This suggests that the average company thinks that more than twenty percent of their thefts involve former workers. In addition, the minimum percentage wa s zero and the maximum was 100%. Figure 4-18: Company perceptions that on-sit e workers are involved in thefts (N=101) 50.5 19.8 18.8 6.9 4 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 0%1 to 25%26% to 50%51% to 75%76% to 100%Percentage

PAGE 54

44 Figure 4.18 indicates that a si gnificant number of homebu ilders in this study have considerably confidence in their workers. This category accounts for 50.5% of the respondents that never suspected their workers when thefts occurred on their sites. On the other hand, 18.8% of the responses believe that workers are responsib le for 1 to 25% of the stolen items. Nearly twenty percent thi nk workers are responsible for 26% to 50% of jobsite thefts. Finally, 6.9% of the firms assume that work ers are responsible for 76% to 100% of theft incidents on site. Further anal ysis of the data revealed no relationship between the size of the company and the per ception of the identity of the thieves. 4.3 Vandalism 4.3.1 Company’s vandalism experiences and value of these incidents Vandalism is a major problem in many areas and adversely affects the construction community in numerous ways. Repairing damaged property is expensive and time consuming for residential contractors. A question was asked about the approximate number of vandalism incidents each respondent had experienced in the past three years. Based on 115 responses, the average number of vandalism cases in three years was 9.14 or approximately three vanda lism incidents per y ear. In addition, the minimum number of incidents was one and the maximum was 700 incidents in three years. According to the findings, 44.3 % of the respondents reported no incidents of vandalism. Also, 13.9% and 8.7% have experien ced one and two incidents, respectively (see Figure 4.19). One company shows a very high inciden ce of vandalism in comparison with the other respondents. This company estimate d approximately 700 cases of vandalism on

PAGE 55

45 their construction sites in the past three years. They estimated the cost of these incidents to be around $50,000 in total losses, including gr affiti, broken glass, destruction of inplace materials and fixtures, and damage to construction equipment. Further analysis reveals that this company also experienced the highest estimated total loss in theft incidents. Figure 4-19: Number of vandalism incidents in the past 3 years (N=115) The survey asked about the estimat ed value of vandalism incidents Based on 110 responses, the mean answer was $3,767 and the median answer was $300. In addition the minimum value of these incidents according to the data was $50 and the maximum was $100,000 in three years. The company that experienced $100,000 in losses reported about 233 cases of vandalism per year. According to the findi ngs, 44.5% of the companies in the study had not experienced any incident over the sa me period of time. However, 23.7% have suffered losses that cost between $1 and $1,000 during the same period (see Figure 4.20). In summary, the graph indicates that a pproximately 45% of the homebuilders did not have any vandalism incidents on thei r jobsites; nevertheless, another 45% 1 13.9% 2 8.7% 3 to 5 17.4% 6 to 10 9.6% 11 to 40 5.2% 40+ 0.9% none 44.3%

PAGE 56

46 experienced losses estimated at less th an $5,000, and the remaining 10% experienced vandalism losses exceeding $5,000. Figure 4-20: Estimated total losses due to vandalism in the past 3 years (N=110) Losses of vandalism per million dollar of volume were also analyzed. The results shows that the average homebuilder loses $522 per million of volume of work per year. The minimum was $3.3 and the maximum $13,333 (see Figure 4.21). Figure 4-21: Average annual vandalism losses per million dollars of work volume 1,001 to 5,000 21.8% 30,000 + 3% 1 to 1000 23.7% 5,001 to 10,000 3.6% 10,001 to 20,000 1.9% 20,001 to 30,000 1.8% none 44.5%

PAGE 57

47 Table 4.17 show that small firms lose mo re money (per million dollars of work volume) than large firms due to vandalism. Small firms lose an average of $872.8 while larger firms lose an average of $58.98 per millio n dollars of work volume. Note that not only for vandalism but also for theft (s ee Section 4.2.1) small homebuilders had experienced higher losses. Table 4-17: Average annual vandalism losses per million dollars of work volume; small firms vs. large firms VANDALISM Mean N Std Deviation Median Significance Small firms (<$5M) 872.8 33 2377.88 200 0.093 Large firms ($5M+) 58.89 25 59.81 33.33 Note: Differences are statistically signi ficant at p< 0.093 based on ANOVA 4.3.2 Incidents reported to the police The survey asked about the number of vanda lism incidents that are reported to the police. Based on 108 responses, the findings show that the firms report an average of three incidents to the police. The minimum number of vandalism cases reported to the police according to the data was one and the maximum was 100. It is interesting to note that the company that estimated 700 cases of vandalism reported only 100 of them to the police. Figure 4-22: Incidents of vandalism reported to the police (N=108) 3.7 3.7 4.7 4.6 9.3 14.8 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 12345 to 1010+ Number of incidentsPercentage

PAGE 58

48 The findings show that 59.3% of th e 108 responding companies reported no incidents of vandalism to the local police. This accounts for the largest percentage of responses. On the other hand, 14.8% of the co mpanies had reported one incident in the past three years. 9.3% and 4.6% of the fi rms had reported two and three cases of vandalism respectively (see Figure 4.22). 4.3.3 Types of vandalism incidents experienced by respondents The data was examined to determine the frequency of the types of vandalism acts in residential construc tion. Based on seventy-six responses the results ar e shown in the following graph. Figure 4-23: Vandalism by type (N=76) Figure 4.23 illustrates the most frequent acts of vandalism. “Broken glass” accounted for the largest percentage, 65.8% of th e six types of incidents examined in this study. “Destruction of in-place materials” accounted for 57.9% of the responses. “Graffiti” was reported by 40.8% of the respondents. 57.9 40.8 9.2 65.8 6.6 15.8 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Broken glass Destruction in place mat GrafittiotherDamage to const. equip Damage to vehiclesPercentage

PAGE 59

49 This analysis includes a category called “other” that accoun ts for 15.8% of the respondents. For example, dest ruction of framed walls, dama ge to toilets, stolen or destroyed plans, and driving over graded si te work were included in these acts of vandalism. Damage to construction equipment and da mage to vehicles accounted for 9.2% and 6.6%, respectively. These inci dents are the least likely to happen, according to this study. In summary, residential contractors no t only should pay special attention to protecting glass in windows, doors, and equi pment, but also in-shielding in place materials and fixtures. 4.3.4 Vandals caught A question was asked about catching vandals. Based on 84 responses, most vandals are never caught. The information im plies that for the average homebuilder that experiences vandalism, the vandals are not ca ught. In addition, the minimum number of vandals caught by the police according to the da ta was zero and the maximum was five in a period of three years. Figure 4-24: Percentage of vandals caught (N=84) 79.8 14.2 1.2 1.2 2.4 1.2 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 ZeroOneTwoThreeFourFive Number of vandals caught Percentage of responses

PAGE 60

50 As shown in Figure 4.24, the probability of finding the people responsible for vandalism acts is very low. The graph show s that nearly 80% of the respondents have never caught an individual that vandalized their jobsites. On the other hand, the remaining 20% have had more luck. They have been able to catch between one and five vandals. However, those statistics are small considering a time period of three years. 4.3.5 Who are the vandals One issue in the survey attempted to identify those individuals that are most likely to act as vandals. The survey provided diffe rent possibilities from which the respondents could choose. Based on fifty-one responses, the answers are summa rized in Figure 4.25. Figure 4-25: Who were the vandals (N=51) As shown in the graph, “kids” are the primary category for those suspected of being responsible for vandalism acts on reside ntial construction sites. This category accounts for 72.5% of the responses. “People that have been on site for some reason” accounts for 23.5% of all responses. “Strange rs” comprises 13.7%. Finally, “disgruntled workers”, “fired workers” and “other” accounts for 9.8%, 9.8%, and 7.8%, respectively. 72.5 9.89.8 7.8 13.7 23.50 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80KidsPersons/been on site StrangersDisgruntled workers Fired workersotherPercentage of responses

PAGE 61

51 4.3.6 Other steps to curtail vandalism The last question in the survey asked about other steps firms have taken to curtail jobsite vandalism. The thirty-n ine responding contractors generall y stated that they try to minimize vandalism by locking the doors and windows and by keeping the houses and sites clean and clear of objects that could be vandalized. So me firms suggest it is a good idea to use familiar subcontractors, or to use the same team of subs on each job. In this way they know the other workers on site. Also one contractor prohi bits any subs that have been fired from entering the community. So me contractors stress that it is really important to make workers on the jobsite fe el good about the company, similar to being part of a family. Other firms suggested that the neighborhood watch is the best way to keep kids from damaging a worksite. Meeting and crea ting a relationship with the neighbors can stop jobsite crime. Talking to the police and asking them to patrol the site during nights and weekends is also a measure that is suggested by some homebuilders.

PAGE 62

52 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5.1 Conclusions The results of this study reveal th e importance of jobsite security for homebuilders and highlight the issues affec ting security on constr uction projects. The findings show that more than sixty percent of the homebuilders partic ipating in the study were small companies with annual volumes of work ranging from 0.4 to 5 million dollars. Smaller homebuilders do not generally de al with large amounts of money, and they do not have large profits so each time they lose money due to jobsite theft it directly affects their profits. However, larger homebu ilders seem to be more concerned about the problem and the effects that theft and vanda lism can have on the way they do business and the success of the firm. According to the findings larger firms use more security measures than smaller firms to secure their jobsites. Nevertheless, smaller firms may be limited by their available financial resources, which limits their ability to apply more security measures. It appears intuitive that the use of more security measur es helped larger firms to minimize their losses due to jobsite crime. On average small firms experienced about 3.4 times more losses due to theft, and 15 times more losses due to va ndalism, than larger firms per million dolla r of work volume. The industry, in general, recognizes that theft and vandalism are growing problems. Numerous newspaper articles, books, and construction magazine articles

PAGE 63

53 confirm this, however, it is one thing to know that a problem exists and another to deal with it. Small homebuilders tend to use inexpensive, simple methods to curtail jobsite crime. For example, the use of traditiona l locksets, warning signs, dead bolts, and removing equipment from the site daily, etc. are methods commonly used. Larger firms use more sophisticated means and methods to protect the site. For ex ample, they tend to use alarm systems, night guards, tracki ng devices, security cameras, etc. The findings reveal that smaller firms are inclined to remove their equipment and to minimize tools and materials left on site, wh ile larger firms have a tendency to protect the equipment left on site. This is a clear indication that larger firms use their higher economic capacity to secure equipment on site by using more sophisticated measures. This perhaps is due to the fact that larger firms build larger home communities where it is less costly to protect resources on site than to remove them. Theft seems to be a bigger problem th an vandalism. According to the results, homebuilding sites are more frequently aff ected by theft than vandalism. The larger number of responses about thef t losses supports this statemen t. Also, the costs of theft losses incurred by homebuilders are higher than vandalism losses. Vandalism costs are incurred for such actions as broken glass, the destruction of in-place materials, and graffiti, with neighborhood kids being the pr imary suspected individuals responsible for these acts. The results show, however, that th ese acts happen sporadically on residential sites. On the other hand, thefts occurred more frequently. C onstruction materials, tools, and office equipment are the three most freque nt targets. Theft app ears to be a greater problem in the homebuilding industry than vandalism.

PAGE 64

54 As a result, homebuilders have a tendency to take theft more seriously than vandalism. They tend to report n early all the cases of theft th at occur on their sites. On the other hand, vandalism reports are significantly lower. It is intere sting to note that both phenomenon have very low resolution rates. So why is the frequency of theft reporting by homebuilders higher than the reporting of vandalism cases? The answer could be that theft is a more damaging and costly phe nomena. Losing equipment and construction materials due to theft can cost thousands of dollars. If the equipmen t and/or the materials are gone, the contractor needs to replace them. The homebuilder also loses time, productivity, and ultimately profits as well. 5.2 Recommendations for Homebuilders Every year residential cont ractors lose thousands of dollars due to theft and vandalism. These losses will never disappear completely, but taking appropriate precautions can make the difference between a company’s success and its failure. For instance, it is essential that homebuilders inform themselves about the possible dangers and effects of theft and vandalism so they can be better prepared to protect their resources. This research yields useful information for contra ctors. First of all, it is appropriate that homebuilders report all losse s due to vandalism or theft to the local police department. Failure to report not onl y does not improve the situation, but also encourages thieves and vandals to strike again. In addition, homebuilders should pay spec ial attention to the security of construction materials on site. Builders shoul d minimize the time that materials are left on site before installing them and when possi ble enforce just-in-time deliveries. Also,

PAGE 65

55 they should focus on protecting glass in doors, windows, and equipment, as glass is a primary target for vandals. Developing a good relationship with the ne ighbors has proven to be helpful in reducing jobsite crime. Use a reward system if possible. The purpose is to create an alert neighborhood by using simple crime preventi on methods. This has several advantages, including the fact that neighbors will be familiar with the homebuilder, the regular work times, etc. Cooperative neighbors will alert the police if suspicious activity occurs, especially during nights and weekends. Fina lly, it is important that contractors ask neighbors to help them keep thei r children out of the work pl ace, explaining to them the possible dangers. This will also reduce possibl e acts of vandalism and possible injury to children. 5.3 Recommendations for Future Research While the results of this research prov ide valuable information about theft and vandalism in the homebuilding industry, fu rther research appears warranted. Since regional differences cannot be anticipated am ong homebuilders as it pe rtains to theft and vandalism, a nation-wide survey should be conducted. That survey should seek a larger number of replies by increasing the number of surveys mailed. Means should be explored to increase th e response rate. Future researchers may consider sending follow up surveys to increase the response rate. Additionally, it is recommended that future studies focus on different sectors of the construction industry, including comm ercial, industrial, high-rise, and civil construction, in order to have a broader se nse of the nature of jobsite crime in the construction industry.

PAGE 66

56 APPENDIX A SAMPLE COVER LETTER April 3, 2003 Subject: Survey on Jobsite Security Dear Home Builder T he M. E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Cons truction at the University of Florida is conducting a study in cooperation with the Flor ida Homebuilders Association. The focus of the study is to identify specific practices that are being employed by homebuilders that pertain security on home-building projects. In this study we are attempting to identify typical practices and technique s that are related to reduci ng theft and vandalism. The short survey questio nnaire contains a variety of questio ns related to jobsite security in residential construction. If you feel that you are not the appropriate individual to complete the survey, please fo rward it to someone who you f eel is knowledgeable on the subject covered. Many of the questions ca n be answered by simply checking the applicable answers. There are no risks associ ated with participati ng in this study and the survey can be completed in a few minutes. Naturally, you are asked to answer only those questions that you feel co mfortable in answering. Results of this study will be compiled and summarized in a report. We will provide the summary report to you if you want one. Shoul d you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Responses provided by specific firms will be kept strictly confidential to the extent provided by law. Research data will be summarized so that the identity of individual participants will be concealed. You have my sincere thanks for participating in this study. Yours truly, Jimmie HinzeHolland Professor (352) 392-4697 FAX: (352) 392-9606 Email: hinze@ufl.edu P.S. For information about par ticipant rights, please contac t the University of Florida Institutional Review Board at (352) 392-0433 or Email: IRB2@ufl.edu

PAGE 67

57 APPENDIX B SAMPLE SURVEY Jobsite Security About the Company: What is the annual dollar volume of work of the company? $_________ million/yr. Approximately how many houses are completed per year? ________ On how many different development sites are these houses located? _______ What percent of the work is typically subcontracted? ______ % subcontracted What measures are commonly used to ensu re the security of individual houses and construction sites? (Check all that apply) traditional locksets dead bolts bars on windows alarm system guard dogs security cameras warning signs posted remove unused equipment from site security fence exterior lighting on the site use worker badge system station a guard at entry gate night security guard on site police patrols other, describe: ________________ _________________ ______________ __________ What does the firm do differently in terms of jobs ite security when projects are located in existing neighborhoods (children and teens are nearby)? _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ What does the firm do differently in terms of j obsite security when projects are located in areas where there are currently no inhabitants? _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ Theft In the past 3 years, what has the company e xperienced in terms of incidents of theft? Approximate number of theft incidents in past 3 years: ______ Estimated total loss of these thefts: $ _________ How many of the following types of theft incident s has the firm experienced in the past 3 years? ____ tools (hand tools and power tools), Value of Loss = $_______ ____ licensed vehicles, Value of Loss = $_______ ____ off-road equipment, Value of Loss = $________ ____ computers, printers, copiers, etc. Value of Loss = $_______ ____ construction materials, Value of Loss = $_______ What other steps, if any, does your firm take to curtail jobsite theft? ________________________________________________________________________

PAGE 68

58 If applicable, give an example of a jobsite layout decision that has been u sed to discourage theft. ______________________________________________________________________ What percent of the theft incidents are reported to the police? ______ % What is the minimum value of a theft loss that is reported to the police? $_________ What is the deductible amount on the firm’s builder’s risk insurance policy? $ ______ What percent of the theft incidents are the stolen items actually recovered? _____ % What measures are commonly used to prevent theft of tools? ( all that apply) maintain tool inventory mark tools maintain secure storage area supervise trash removal from site minimize tools left on site make workers responsible for tools other, describe: ___________ __________________ __________________ What measures does the firm take to prev ent theft of machinery and equipment? ( all that apply) park equipment in well-lighted areas at night modify ignition or fuel lines to make it difficult for others to start the engine include additional identification on the equipment use a distinctive color for the equipment park the equipment at a central location at the end of each day other, describe: ___________ __________________ ___________________ What percent of jobsite thefts on your projects are assumed to involve employees or former employees? _______% Vandalism In the past 3 years, what has the company e xperienced in terms of incidents of vandalism? Number of vandalism incidents in past 3 years: ______ Total estimated loss due to vandalism: $ _________ Number of vandalism incidents that were reported to the police? _____ How many of the following types of vandalism inci dents did the firm experience in the past 5 years? ____ graffiti ____ broken glass ____ destruction of in-place materials, fixtures, or appliances ____ damage to vehicles ____ damage to construction equipment ____ other: _____________________________________________ For how many instances of vandalism in the past 3 years were the vandals on your firm’s projects actually caught? ______ If known, who were the vandals? (Check all that apply) disgruntled workers workers who had been fired strangers persons who had been on th e site for some reason neighborhood kids other: _____________________________ What other steps, if any, does your firm take to curtail vandalism? ________________________________________________________________________ Thank you for your assistance in completing this surv ey. This information will be most helpful

PAGE 69

59 APPENDIX C SAMPLE SIZE ESTIMATION TABLE Confidence level 80% 90% 95% 99% Z value 1.28 1.64 1.96 2.59 Estimate interval (Delta) 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 (p) (q) Sample size 0.5 0.5 4096 6724 9604 16770 0.4 0.6 3932 6455 9220 16099 0.3 0.7 3441 5648 8067 14087 0.2 0.8 2621 4303 6147 10733 0.1 0.9 1475 2421 3457 6037 Confidence level 80% 90% 95% 99% Z value 1.28 1.64 1.96 2.59 Estimate interval (Delta) 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.02 (p) (q) Sample size 0.5 0.5 1024 1681 2401 4193 0.4 0.6 983 1614 2305 4025 0.3 0.7 860 1412 2017 3522 0.2 0.8 655 1076 1537 2683 0.1 0.9 369 605 864 1509 Confidence level 80% 90% 95% 99% Z value 1.28 1.64 1.96 2.59 Estimate interval (Delta) 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03 (p) (q) Sample size 0.5 0.5 455 747 1067 1863 0.4 0.6 437 717 1024 1789 0.3 0.7 382 628 896 1565 0.2 0.8 291 478 683 1193 0.1 0.9 164 269 384 671

PAGE 70

60 Confidence level 80% 90% 95% 99% Z value 1.28 1.64 1.96 2.59 Estimate interval (Delta) 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04 (p) (q) Sample size 0.5 0.5 256 420 600 1048 0.4 0.6 246 403 576 1006 0.3 0.7 215 353 504 880 0.2 0.8 164 269 384 671 0.1 0.9 92 151 216 377 Confidence level 80% 90% 95% 99% Z value 1.28 1.64 1.96 2.59 Estimate interval (Delta) 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 (p) (q) Sample size 0.5 0.5 164 269 384 671 0.4 0.6 157 258 369 644 0.3 0.7 138 226 323 563 0.2 0.8 105 172 246 429 0.1 0.9 59 97 138 241 Ref: Ostle & Malone (1988) Statistics in Research Chapter 17.4 & 17.12

PAGE 71

61 APPENDIX D SPEARMAN’S CORRELATIONS Volume in millions Number of construction sites Percent subcontracted Theft loss per million dollars of volume Correlation Coefficient 1 .225(**) .207(*) -.158(*) Sig. (1-tailed) 0.009 0.011 0.043 Volume in millions N 122 109 122 119 Correlation Coefficient .225(**) 1 0.03 0.109 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.009 0.377 0.132 Number of construction sites N 109 112 112 107 Correlation Coefficient .207(*) 0.03 1 -.195(*) Sig. (1-tailed) 0.011 0.377 0.017 Percent subcontracted N 122 112 128 119 Correlation Coefficient -.158(*) 0.109 -.195(*) 1 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.043 0.132 0.017 Theft loss per million/volume N 119 107 119 119 Correlation Coefficient 0.035 .197(*) -0.062 .489(**) Sig. (1-tailed) 0.362 0.028 0.262 0 Vand loss per million/volume N 106 94 107 103 Correlation Coefficient .168(*) -0.068 -0.043 0.052 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.032 0.238 0.315 0.288 Measures to secure homes N 122 112 128 119 Correlation Coefficient -.211(*) -0.095 -.407(**) 0.112 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.019 0.19 0 0.142 Measures to secure tools N 97 87 103 94 Correlation Coefficient -0.03 0.117 -.263(*) 0.187 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.401 0.18 0.012 0.062 Spearman's rho Measures to secure equip. N 70 63 74 69 ** Correlation is significant at the .01 level (1-tailed). Correlation is significant at the .05 level (1-tailed).

PAGE 72

62 Measures to secure homes Measures to secure tools Measures to secure equip. Vand loss per million dollars of volume Correlation Coefficient .168(*) -.211(*) -0.03 0.035 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.032 0.019 0.401 0.362 Volume in millions N 122 97 70 106 Correlation Coefficient -0.068 -0.095 0.117 .197(*) Sig. (1-tailed) 0.238 0.19 0.18 0.028 Number of construction sites N 112 87 63 94 Correlation Coefficient -0.043 -.407(**) -.263(*) -0.062 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.315 0 0.012 0.262 Percent subcontracted N 128 103 74 107 Correlation Coefficient 0.052 0.112 0.187 .489(**) Sig. (1-tailed) 0.288 0.142 0.062 0 Theft loss per million/volume N 119 94 69 103 Correlation Coefficient 0.003 -0.14 -0.04 1 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.489 0.094 0.378 Vand loss per million/volume N 107 90 63 107 Correlation Coefficient 1 .170(*) 0.067 0.003 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.043 0.284 0.489 Measures to secure homes N 128 103 74 107 Correlation Coefficient .170(*) 1 .228(*) -0.14 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.043 0.03 0.094 Measures to secure tools N 103 103 69 90 Correlation Coefficient 0.067 .228(*) 1 -0.04 Sig. (1-tailed) 0.284 0.03 0.378 Spearman's rho Measures to secure equip. N 74 69 74 63 ** Correlation is significant at the .01 level (1-tailed). Correlation is significant at the .05 level (1-tailed).

PAGE 73

63 LIST OF REFERENCES A Billion here and a billion there, Th e Constructor, Nov 1999, Vol. 81, No. 11, www.agc.org/NewsBulletins/Construc tor_Nov_1999/nov99_page2.asp, (accessed January 2003). Bond, J., Contractors prot ect tools and equipment from thef t, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Dec 2000. Combating jobsite equipment thef t, NUCA, May 1986, Vol. 10, No. 5, p.20 Danek, S., No construction site is immune from theft, Denver Business Journal; Sept 29 2000, Vol.52, No. 7, p.20B. Danek, S., Building-site theft increasing, Ra leigh, NC, Triangle Business Journal; Sept 15 2000, Vol.16, No.3, p.25. Gosnell, R. S., Contractors should build loss prevention plans, Best's Review PropertyCasualty Insurance Edition; July 1996, Vol.97, No.3, p.84. McGreevy S., Theft and vandalism: How to protect yourself, The Contractor; Nov 1999, Vol.46, No.11, p.46. Law Reform Commission of Canada Damage to property: vandalism Ottawa, Canada, The Commission, 1984. Ostle, B., and Malone, L., Statistics in Res earch, Nov 1987, Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA. The Problem of heavy equipment, National Equipment Register 2002, www.nerusa.com (accessed November 2002). Pfeffer, S., Mark tools to cut theft at constr uction sites, Buffalo Busi ness First, July 2001. Rawl, J., Theft Prevention, Heavy Equipment News, March 2000, Vol. 13, No. 6, p.36. Rowerdink R., Security and material cont rols on the job site, Washington, National Association of Ho me Builders, 1987. Stahl,A.L., Juvenile vandalism, Washington, DC, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2000.

PAGE 74

64 Somerville L.S., Theft, vandalism a constant concern, Raleigh, NC, Journal June 15 2001, Vol.16, No.42, p.35. Wilson, S., Sturman, A., and Gladstone, F. J., Tackling vandalism, London: H.M. Stationery Off., 1978.

PAGE 75

65 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Francisco Montealegre was born in Oct ober 17, 1976, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Dalila Castillo and Franco Montealegre. He has a younger sister, Dalila, and a younger brother, Eugenio. He graduated from hi gh school in December 1995 and started his college career at the National University of Engineering in Managua, Nicaragua. He graduated with a bachelor degree of ar chitecture in May of 1999. After Francisco graduated, he traveled to the USA to con tinue his education. In 2001 he was accepted by the University of Florida to pursue a Master of Science in Buildi ng Construction. After graduating from UF, Francisco plans to unde rtake a career in cons truction management with an interest in project management. Th e next goal will be to become a licensed architect and contractor.


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0001192/00001

Material Information

Title: Jobsite security in residential construction
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Creator: Montealegre, Francisco ( Author, Primary )
Publication Date: 2003
Copyright Date: 2003

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0001192:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0001192/00001

Material Information

Title: Jobsite security in residential construction
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Creator: Montealegre, Francisco ( Author, Primary )
Publication Date: 2003
Copyright Date: 2003

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0001192:00001


This item has the following downloads:


Full Text











JOBSITE SECURITY IN RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION


By

FRANCISCO MONTEALEGRE


















A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2003















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Montealegre, the most important

people in my life. Without their help and their support throughout my university career

and now in graduate school this thesis would never have happened.

Also I want to thank God for the wisdom and the fortress he has given me to

achieve the goals in my life, because without Him nothing is possible.

Finally I want to express my sincere gratitude to Professor Jimmie Hinze for his

help, guidance, support and patience in the development of this document. Also special

thanks go to the rest of my committee members, Dr Robert C. Stroh and Dr. Leon

Wetherington and my friend Xinyu Huang for their assistance and supervision of this

document.















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ...................... .. .. ............. ....................................................ii

LIST OF TABLES ................................ .. .. ... .... ................. v

LIST OF FIGURES ............. .... ... ........ ......... ............... ..... ...... vii

A B S T R A C T ................................. ........... ............................ ................ ix

CHAPTER

1 IN TR O D U C TIO N ............................................... .. .... ...... ........ .......

1.1 B background .................... .............................................................. 1
1.2 P purpose of the Study ................... ........................................................ 2

2 LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................... .............. 4

3 M E T H O D O L O G Y ...................... .. .. ......... .. .. ..................... .............................. 11

4 R E S U L T S ......... .. .......................................................................................... 1 6

4.1 General Information About The Responding Companies............................ 16
4.1.1 H houses C om pleted per Y ear............................................... ... ................. 17
4 .1.2 D ev elopm ent Sites........................................................ .... ................ 18
4.1.3 Percentage Subcontracted ........................................................... ... 19
4.1.4 Measures to Ensure the Security of Individual Houses.......................... 21
4.1.5 Security Measures used when Projects are Located in Existing
Neighborhoods or Remote Areas. ...................................24
4.2 Theft .............................................................................. 26
4.2.1 Company's Theft Experiences and Value of these Thefts....... ........ 26
4.2.2 Types of Incidents Experienced. .................... .............. 30
4.2.3 Other M measures to Curtail Jobsite Theft ....... ... ............................... 34
4.2.4 Jobsite Layout ......................... .. .................. .......... .. ...... .. ........ 35
4.2.5 Incidents R reported to the Police.................................. .................... 36
4.2.6 Deductible on Insurance Policy........................ ................................. 38
4.2.7 Tool Theft Prevention ........................................................ .............. 39
4.2.8 Equipment Theft Prevention ......... .................. ............ ............. 41









4 .2 .9 W workers and T heft.................................................................... ............... 43
4 .3 V an dalism ...................... ..................... ... ......................... .......... .................. 44
4.3.1 Company's Vandalism Experiences and Value of these Incidents........44
4.3.2 Incidents Reported to the Police.......................................................... 47
4.3.3 Types of Vandalism Incidents Experienced by Respondents ..............48
4.3.4 V andals Caught ......................................... .. .. .... .. .. ........ .... 49
4.3.5 W ho are the V andals ........................................ .......... .............. 50
4.3.6 Other Steps to Curtail V andalism ...................................... .............. 51

5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS......................... ........... 52

5 .1 C o n clu sio n s ........... ....................... ......................................... 5 2
5.2 Recommendations for Homebuilders............... ....... .................... 54
5.3 Recommendations for Future Research .................................................... 55

APPENDIX

A SAMPLE COVER LETTER........... .................................. .............. 56

B SA M P L E SU R V E Y ................................................. ..................... .......................57

C SAM PLE SIZE ESTIM ATION TABLE............................................... .... ................ 59

D SPEARM AN'S CORRELATIONS ......................................................... ............... 61

L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ..................................................................... ....................... 63

BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH ....................................................................................... 65















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

2-1 Equipm ent theft by type .............. ............................. ................... .............. 5

2-2 Equipment theft frequency by State .................................... .............7

4-1 H ou ses built per y ear............................................................................ 18

4-2 Size of firm and security measures ............................................................... 23

4-3 Average number of measures taken, large firms vs. small firms....................... 23

4-4 Distribution of theft incidents from 1 to 5 ................................... ............. 27

4-5 Loss distributions of theft losses less than 5 thousand................ ................... 29

4-6 Average of theft annual losses per million dollars of work volume; small
firm s vs. large firm s ................. ................. .............. .. .... .......... ..... 30

4-7 Losses resulting from tool theft in past 3 years................................. .............. 30

4-8 Losses resulting from vehicle theft in past 3 years ................... ............. 31

4-9 Losses resulting from off-road equipment theft in past 3 years............................ 31

4-10 Losses resulting from office equipment theft in past 3 years............................. 32

4-11 Losses resulting from material theft in past 3 years........................................... 32

4-12 Other steps taken by the firms to curtail theft......................................................34

4-13 L ayout decisions..................................................... .. .... ..... .. .............. 36

4-14 Deductible amount of the builder's risk insurance............................................... 39

4-15 Size of the firm and measures to prevent tool theft.............................................. 41

4-16 Size of the firm and the average number of measures to secure tool theft ..........43









4-17 Average annual vandalism losses per million dollars of work volume; small
firm s vs. large firm s ................. .............. .................. .... ... .............. 47















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

4-1 Distribution of the companies in the study (N=122)............................................ 17

4-2 Number of housing development areas (N=112)....................................... 19

4-3 W ork Subcontracted (N =128) ...................................... ........................ ........ 20

4-4 Measures to secure individual houses (N=128) ................. ............... .............21

4-5 Firms that employ special measures when projects are located in
neighborhood areas ........................................................ .. ......... ... .... .. 24

4-6 Firms that employ special measures when projects are located in remote areas ..26

4-7 Number of theft incidents in the past three years (N=121)............................... 27

4-8 Companies' estimated total loss of thefts in past three years (N=123)................. 28

4-9 Average of annual theft losses per million dollars of work volume ................... 29

4-10 Frequency of theft incidents by type of loss ................................................... 33

4-11 Average cost of theft losses by type of loss (three year period) ........................... 33

4-12 Percent of thefts reported to the police (N=116).............................................. 36

4-13 Minimum value of loss reported to the police (N=90)................ .................... 37

4-14 Percentage of stolen items recovered ......................................... ..............38

4-15 Measures to prevent tool theft (N=103) ....................................... .............40

4-16 M measures to prevent equipment theft (N=74) .......................................................41

4-17 Other measures to prevent equipment theft (N=26)............................................42

4-18 Company perceptions that on-site workers are involved in thefts (N=101) ......... 43









4-19 Number of vandalism incidents in the past 3 years (N=115).............................45

4-20 Estimated total losses due to vandalism in the past 3 years (N=110) .................46

4-21 Average annual vandalism losses per million dollars of work volume............... 46

4-22 Incidents of vandalism reported to the police (N=108) .............. .. .................47

4-23 V andalism by type (N =76)........................................................................ ..... 48

4-24 Percentage of vandals caught (N=84) .............................................................49

4-25 W ho w ere the vandals (N =51) ...................................................................... .. 50















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of
Master of Science in Building Construction

JOBSITE SECURITY IN RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION

By

Francisco Montealegre

August 2003

Chair: Jimmie Hinze
Cochair: Robert Stroh
Major Department: Building Construction

Construction crime can cost a homebuilder hundreds to thousands of dollars each

year. Theft and vandalism on construction sites is a common problem for the construction

industry. Therefore, securing the jobsite is critical to avoid theft and vandalism. This

thesis presents the effects that theft and vandalism have on the homebuilding industry as

well as the common measures taken by residential contractors in Florida to curtail jobsite

crime. Data for this research were obtained through a mailed survey. The survey

participants consisted of Florida members of the National Association of Home Builders

(NAHB). Based on 128 survey respondents the results of this research show that

construction theft and vandalism incidents are serious problems but they can be

minimized by taking precautionary measures. Most thefts are preventable, and if

precautions are not taken, profits will be adversely impacted. Ignoring the problem does

not only make the problem worse, but encourages criminals to attack again.









A culture of planning and reporting crimes needs to be created among homebuilders in

order to address this problem at the root.















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

Jobsite crime can be a major problem for construction contractors. Incidents of

theft and vandalism on construction projects cost the industry millions of dollars each

year, and it has been increasing during the past years. For example in 1990, according to

estimates of the Associated General Contractors, an average contractor lost about

$13,000 to theft (November 1990/ the Constructor). In 2001, this amount increased to

$18,500. In addition, Caterpillar, Inc. reported in 1990 that $1.2 billon was lost due to

theft of heavy equipment. This estimated amount increased in 2001 to $1.5 billon nation-

wide. Crime prevention on construction sites has become a major concern for all

responsible contractors. The contractor's ability to effectively control crimes is often the

difference between taking a loss or making a profit on a project.

Crime prevention is the key to avoiding or at least minimizing the problem of

theft on construction jobsites. Losing tools, materials and heavy equipment to theft may

be considered a cost of doing business on a construction site, but taking reasonable

security measures can make the difference between being a frequent target or an

infrequent one.

Jobsite crime will never be totally stopped; however, measures can be taken to

make it difficult for criminals to do their jobs. For example, measures can be taken to

make a construction site unattractive to criminals.









No contractor, whether large or small, commercial or residential, is immune from

theft and vandalism. Some builders tend to allow some losses to occur and routinely

absorb these costs while expecting their insurance carrier to cover the remaining costs.

Unfortunately, this approach just harms the contractor in the long run as the insurance

premiums will be increased when a firm has a bad loss history. Tolerating theft can have

a huge adverse impact on theft losses and the profit margin of a firm.

Curbing j obsite crime starts with the development and implementation of a

security plan before the contractor begins to work on a project. In this plan it is essential

to have the collaboration of all the participating parties, including employees and

subcontractors, in order to create an environment that is not conductive to theft

Construction crime is a very damaging type of activity. It affects the general

contractor who loses money through outright expenditures, increased insurance

premiums, increased worker hours, and time lost for the replacement of stolen equipment

and materials. Other parties, as manufacturers, also lose legitimate sales of equipment to

black marketers who sell stolen equipment at very competitive prices. Lastly the project

owner incurs added costs, as these expenditures will be reflected in the total project cost

in the long run.

1.2 Purpose of the Study

Because there is not much information written about this topic, the purpose of this

study is to collect and analyze data that will help to discover the magnitude of losses due

to theft and vandalism and to identify jobsite security measures being implemented by

contractors and/or developers. Ultimately the results of this study are intended to provide









information that will assist contractors in controlling losses from internal and external

theft as well as vandalism.















CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW


Theft and vandalism is a serious problem in the construction industry. Losing

equipment, materials, and tools as a result of theft, costs the average contractor thousands

of dollars each year. The total losses from theft and vandalism on construction sites have

increased dramatically over the past decade. With all of the pressures of today's

competitive construction market, the last thing a contractor needs is the added expense of

replacing stolen or damaged property.

According to information from the Associated General Contractors of America,

individual contractors lose an average of $ 18,500 a year in tool theft. Unfortunately,

Rowerdink (1987) found that many builders are oblivious to the problem, and he

estimated that theft adds more than 2 percent to the total cost of construction. In addition,

a spokesman for the National Association of Home Builders, stated, Statistics on theft

and vandalism are hard to nail down because many incidents simply are not reported"

(Security and material control onjobsite 1987). "Many builders accept these losses as

part of doing business while others are accepting losses as an element of production".

The lack of security control to combat these losses indicates that contractors need to

expand their understanding of the problem and to implement practical solutions

(Rowerdink 1987).

According to Sally Pfeffer (2001), "tool theft is a significant issue for

construction companies, and the arrival of sites on the Internet has made the problem










worse." Websites can be used to quickly sell stolen products. This practice is becoming a

Steal-to-Order Business. "A person just has to advertise over the Net that he has

construction equipment for sale, the person looking connects to the buyer, and once he

finds a buyer or like piece of equipment, he steels it, changes the serial number and ships

it. And the person purchasing the equipment doesn't even know it is stolen," Pfeffer

(2001).

Pfeffer (2001) stated that stolen tools are easy to resell because there is no

standard method for recording or registering serial numbers. In addition, contractors

contribute to this problem because they do not take time to record the serial numbers.

Another target, besides tools, is heavy machinery, such as "bobcats" and tractors.

Denis Taylor and Co, a company that rents larger equipment and operators to many

Atlanta contracting firms, reported that about ten machines were stolen in the past 25

years including two last summer (Jessie Bond 2000). These are expensive losses. Bobcats

cost about $30,000, and crawler loader backhoes cost around $80,000 (see Table 2.1).

Table 2-1: Equipment theft by type

Source NER1/ISO2 October 2001
Rank Type
1 Loader (includes Skid Steer)
2 Tractor
3 Backhoe Loader
4 Forklift
5 Dozer
6 Harvesting Equipment
7 Generator
8 Excavator
9 Trencher



NER National Equipment Register
2 ISO International Organization for Standardization









A problem with larger construction equipment made by some of the big

manufacturers is that they are keyed alike, making it easy for people in the construction

industry to gain access to them. Thieves typically sell the machines for quick cash, and

buyers put them back to work on other construction sites.

Complete national statistics do not exist, but limited existing figures suggest a

huge problem that it is getting worse. Reports from the Insurance Services Office, Inc.

(ISO) show an annual increase of up to 20% in the value of stolen equipment since 1996.

The report also shows theft as the most common cause of loss of heavy equipment,

representing more than 50% of all causes of loss. Some national surveys have suggested

that the total annual losses could be as high as $1 billion. Heavy losses also result from

indirect costs, such as rentals, downtime, wasted management time and project overrun

penalties. Perhaps the most worrisome statistic for owners and insurers is that as little as

10 to 15% of the stolen equipment is ever recovered (2002 National Equipment Register,

Inc.).

When heavy equipment is stolen from a company, the company not only loses an

expensive piece of machinery, but it experiences lost worker productivity, lost job time,

down time for operators, higher insurance premiums, and the possible cancellation of the

insurance policy, with the accompanying risk of jeopardizing bonding and borrowing

power.

Theft of heavy machinery is well organized, according to supervisory special

agent, Tracey Reinhold, of FBI's major theft transportation crimes unit in Washington.

He claims that thieves "usually have a buyer before they steal something" (Rawl 2000).










Often the heavy equipment thief will set out to steal a specific piece of equipment

that has a specific cash value or for which a buyer as been identified prior to the theft.

The heavy equipment thief usually plans a careful escape. To make such plans, the thief

may show up at a construction site three or four times in one day in order to determine

the contractor's routine and security measures (NUCA May 1986).

The frequency of equipment theft is not uniformly distributed in the United

States. Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Illinois seem to be the most frequent

targets for heavy equipment thieves. From 1998 to 2001, Florida has been among the top

five targeted states. However in 2000 and 2001, Florida escalated to the second position

right behind Texas (see Table 2.2).

Table 2-2: Equipment Theft Frequency by State


Source NER/ISO October 2001
Rank 2001 2000 1999 1998
1 Texas Texas Texas Texas
2 Florida Florida North Carolina North Carolina
3 North Carolina North Carolina Georgia Georgia
4 Georgia Georgia Illinois Florida
5 Illinois Illinois Florida California
6 Missouri Indiana Missouri Illinois
7 California Minnesota Indiana Ohio
8 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Ohio Oklahoma
9 Tennessee Michigan Oregon Indiana
10 Indiana South Carolina Pennsylvania South Carolina


With the construction industry booming, the demand for equipment often exceeds

the supply. Delivery of machines can take as long as three months with little reduction in

the sales price. With this in mind, thieves are cracking into this lucrative market (Rawl

2000). The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the theft of heavy equipment to be

a crime with one of the highest profits, yet a low risk of detection.









The reward to the thief far outweighs the risks taken. The low recovery rate is a

clear indication of the low risk for a thief. Even if an item is recovered, an arrest may not

be made. When an arrest is made, a conviction may not be secured. Even when a

conviction is secured, the penalty is likely to be light (National Equipment Register, Inc.

2002).

A major problem in equipment recovery is the time lapse from the theft to

equipment discovery. If a car theft will be caught, it is usually minutes or hours, after the

crime. An equipment theft occurring on a Friday night might not be discovered until the

following Monday morning. Equipment owners with larger fleets or multi-site operations

might not discover the theft for days, weeks or, in some cases, months. This gives the

thief a 'window' of opportunity as the stolen equipment can often be sold before the theft

is even discovered. Suspicious activity such as moving equipment at a strange time of

day or on ill-suited transport might draw attention but will not raise an alarm if the theft

is still undetected (National Equipment Register, Inc. 2002).

According to J. Danek (2000), recovering stolen equipment is difficult. In some

cases the heavy equipment is being transported overseas in cargo containers that are

marked as containing something else, such as household goods. Also he states that one

reason the thieves can get away with such crimes is that, unlike automobiles, heavy

equipment does not have universal identification numbers, i.e., each manufacturer has its

own system of identification.

In addition to tools and heavy equipment, computers and fax machines, now

common in construction site trailers, have been a target of thieves (Bond 2000). With

computers playing a significant operational role, the theft of a computer can seriously









impact the company's ability to conduct business. What's more, when tools and

machinery are stolen, contractors turn in insurance claims that eventually will cause

insurance premiums to increase.

Another constant concern is vandalism, which has also increased during the past

decade. The reason for this phenomenon is different in nature. According with Susan

McGreevy (1999), construction attorney, the days of union and non-union linked

vandalism are pretty well over. Police statistics indicate that, other than the occasional

disgruntled former employee, the majority of vandalism incidents involve teenagers.

Since these incidents tend to go in strings and the perpetrators are not particularly

sophisticated, prompt reporting to police can be effective in bringing the problem to a

quick halt.

Vandalism ranges from graffiti and putting foreign substances in fuel tanks, to

moving survey markers and using equipment to rip up a job site. These incidents do not

happen all the time, but it's a lot more serious than people realize.

The figures only represent the direct costs of losses. Indirect costs are often

reported to be anywhere from two to ten times more than the direct costs, and these costs

are not paid by insurance but come directly from the victims profits. For instance, if the

competition uses free or cheap tools and equipment, they can bid jobs cheaper and still

maintain their profit margins (The Constructor November 1999).

Most construction equipment insurance policies have a $1,000 or more

deductible, with contractors paying the deductible amount when there is a loss. This

deductible reduces profits. For example, if the profit margin is 5 percent, it takes a









$20,000 contract to pay for a $1,000 loss. If the profit on a ton of asphalt is $20, it takes

50 tons to pay for the loss (The Constructor November 1999).

In summary, staying competitive in the contracting business means controlling

costs. The best solution to this problem lies in taking proper precautions. McGreevy

(1999) stated that the loss prevention professionals say that the biggest single impediment

to controlling theft and vandalism is the attitude of contractors themselves. Allowing

these losses to happen makes the problem worse. Consequently, the answer is the need

for a serious loss-prevention program that will save money for the construction

community.















CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Limited data exist on the occurrence of theft and vandalism in the construction

industry. This research study was formulated to expand the data currently in existence.

The study began by examining various resources on the subject, including the Internet,

journal articles, newspapers and similar documents. This investigation formed the

literature review and the base of this research.

It was decided that the type of information that was needed could best be obtained

through a mailed survey. Dr. Jimmie Hinze had developed a survey on theft and

vandalism several years ago. The objective of that survey was very similar to the

objective of this research, but it was focused on large commercial construction

contractors. Since the survey was not focused on the homebuilding industry, some

modifications needed to be made to it.

The modified survey, focused on theft and vandalism on homebuilding projects,

was designed to obtain both quantitative and qualitative information. The final survey

contained two types of questions. Most questions solicited a multiple-choice response

that allowed the respondents to simply check an appropriate answer while providing

valuable information about the specific means and methods used to curtail jobsite crime.

Open-ended questions were also asked and these were designed to obtain additional

information about individual methods that contractors use to avoid or minimize theft and

vandalism on their homebuilding sites.









Several iterations of refinements were made to the survey. The final survey

consisted of questions that appeared on two pages. It was felt that a short survey would

yield a higher response rate.

The objective of this research was to determine the magnitude of the problem of

theft and vandalism in the homebuilding community, the approaches been taken to

control these types of losses, and to assess the most effective means of controlling these

loses.

The survey was carefully designed to obtain the desired information within a short

amount of time. An informed respondent could complete the survey within ten minutes

without referring to any other data source.

Basically the survey was divided in 3 major sections:

I. Section 1 was designed to obtain information about the company. This part asked

about the annual volume of business of the respondent, and the percentage of

work that was subcontracted to others. Also, it asked about the number of houses

the firm built per year, as well as the number of development sites on which these

houses were built.

This was information sought to establish the context related to the individual

experiences of firms. Smaller companies might employ different types of security

measures than larger companies. In addition, larger companies often possess

more resources, which might allow them to employ different means of job site

security (see survey in Appendix B).

II. Section 2 of the survey pertained to experiences that homebuilders have had with

theft. This included the estimated loss in past years, and the type of incidents that









had occurred. Also, the respondents were asked about information related to

reporting thefts. Additionally, specific questions were asked about measures taken

by the firms to prevent the theft of tools, materials and equipment.

III. Section 3 also consisted of company experiences but these were related to

vandalism. Questions were asked about the measures taken to avoid vandalism, as

well as each firm's experience with this type of crime. This information was

sought to determine the most common type of vandalism incidents that occur on

homebuilding projects, including graffiti, destruction of in-place materials, broken

glass etc.

The geographical scope of the study was limited to the homebuilders in the state of

Florida. Once the survey was in its final version, it was submitted to the Institutional

Review Board (IRB) of the University of Florida for approval.

In order to try to maximize the response rate and to minimize bias in the

responses, a cover letter was developed to encourage potential respondents to participate

in the study. The cover letter introduced the study to the potential respondent and

provided the reader with the benefits of participating in the study. Specifically the

participants were promised a summary report of the research findings if they wanted and

requested one. The general idea was to maximize the response rate, which would reduce

the chance of bias in the study. The cover letter was included in the materials sent for

approval to the IRB. The materials were approved by the IRB with no exceptions being

noted.

The sample population consisted of the members of the National Association of

Home Builders (NAHB). The mailing labels of potential participants were obtained from









the NAHB. The labels were acquired through the gracious efforts of Dr Robert Stroh who

has a good working relationship with the NAHB. The complete population of

homebuilders in Florida accounted for approximately 4000 firms.

In order to have viable results, sufficient replies to the survey were needed.

Computations were made to determine the desired number of replies. This number of

replies must be large enough to be scientifically valid. The parameters used to calculate

the sample size or n value is explained below:

Bound error about 5%

Level of confidence = 80%

Standard error for P = 50% or 0.5

Z value according to the standardized normal table = 1.28

Since the value of P for the study was not known, a conservative value of 0.5 or 50% was

used.

Formula: n = Z (squared) x P (1-P)/B (squared)

n = [(1.28 x 1.28) x (0.5 x 0.5) / 0.25] x 100

n= 164

In summary, 164 was determined to be minimum desired sample size to meet the

requirements for the research objectives (see table in Appendix C).

Based on the estimated sample size, 1700 firms were randomly selected from the

original population of homebuilders. This accounted for 42.5% of the total population in

Florida.

After the IRB approval was obtained the surveys were sent out with a postage

paid return envelopes. A total of 128 completed surveys were returned. Also received






15


were 60 undeliverable envelopes representing bad addresses or firms that were no longer

in business. The 128 replies represented approximately an 8% response rate, slightly

lower than originally expected.

The 128 responses were organized and analyzed by using the Statistical Package

for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Many tables and graphs were generated from the analysis

of the information.















CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

The results of this research are presented in three separate sections in order to

clearly present the findings. The first section gives the general characteristics of the

respondents to the study, including such issues as the size of the firms, the average

number of houses completed per year, and the work subcontracted to others. General

information is also provided on ways projects sites are secured.

The second section present findings regarding jobsite theft. This section

incorporates a summary of the theft incidents experienced by the firms in the past years,

the estimated costs incurred due to thefts, and an analysis of the specific measures that

firms use to curtail the theft of material, tools, equipment, etc.

The last section presents the results gathered about construction vandalism. The

information presented shows the effect that vandalism has on the residential construction

industry. This section reveals the most frequent types of vandalism incidents and the most

costly ones for residential contractors, and also includes information on the type of

individuals that are more likely to act as vandals so contractors can take the necessary

precautions.

4.1 General Information About The Responding Companies.

Based on 122 survey responses, the distribution of the company sizes is presented

in Figure 4.1. This graph shows that more than sixty percent of the survey participants










were companies with an annual dollar volume of work of less than five million. About

twenty percent ranged between five and ten million dollars. The remaining twenty

percent ranged from twenty million dollars to more than $100 million. The findings of

this research represent the responses of primarily small companies. The smallest firm in

the survey had an annual dollar volume of work of $400,000 and the largest company had

an annual work volume of about $130 million. The average volume was $11.44 million

and the median was $4 million.


70
63.1
60

50
()
S40-
()
30
(3-
18.9
20
6.5

65 2.5 0.8 0.8 2.5 1.2 0.4 0.8 0.9 1.6
0 --

0.4 to 5.1 10.1 20.1 30.1 40.1 50.1 60.1 70.1 80.1 90.1to 100+
5 to10 to20 to30 to40 to50 to 60 to 70 to 80 to 90 100
Annual Dollar Volume of Work in Millions

Figure 4-1 Distribution of the companies in the study (N=122)

4.1.1 Houses completed per year

The number of houses completed per year varied considerably among the

respondents. The average contractor completed about 67 houses per year; however, the

median was twelve houses. Of 117 respondents who provided this information, only one

respondent mentioned that they do not complete any houses because they do only










additions to existing houses. The maximum number of houses per year was reported to be

2000. This accounts for less than 1% of the companies responding to the survey.

About half of the respondents complete ten houses or less per year. This was true

of 58 responses (see Table 4.1). There is a direct relationship between the size of the

company and the number of houses completed per year. The bigger the company, the

more houses it completes in a single year. It is important to mention, however, that the

type of residence (size, design and cost) plays an important role in the number of units

that are completed annually.

Table 4-1 Houses built per year

Houses Frequency Percentage
0 1 0.8
1 to 10 57 48.8
11 to 20 18 15.4
21 to 30 15 12.8
31 to 40 6 5.1
41 to 50 4 3.4
51 to 100 6 5.2
101 to 300 4 3.4
300 + 6 5.1
Total valid answers 117 100
Missing 11
Total 128

4.1.2 Development sites

Survey participants were asked about the number of construction development

sites. For example, several houses might be built in a single subdivision. Based on 112

responses, firms built houses on an average of 6 development areas (the median was

four). The minimum number of houses on a single development site was one and the

maximum was thirty, with the average number of houses per development was 10.










The analysis shows that of the 112 responses, the most common number of

development areas was between two and five accounting for more than 60% of the

population. The second most common response was between 6 to 10, which accounted

for 17.9% (see Figure 4.2). It is important to note that 8.9% or ten companies reported

building one home in each development site. This indicates that ten companies in the

study are perhaps small firms or that they construct high-end custom homes.


70
60.7
60

50

c140

30
17.9


20zu -
8.9
10

0-


7.1 5.4


1 2 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 20 21 to 30
Houses

Figure 4-2: Number of housing development areas (N= 12)

4.1.3 Percentage subcontracted

The data were examined to determine what percent of the work residential

construction firms typically subcontract. The data indicate that, on average, companies

subcontract 91.12% of the work. The median answer was 100%. This indicates that most

firms subcontract most of their work. Despite this, the minimum percentage

subcontracted was 5% and the maximum was 100%.

According to the findings, a significant number of firms subcontract between 90

to 100 percent of the work; this category accounts for 80.3% of the respondents. The

responses can be broken down as shown in figure 4.3. This includes sixty-five firms that









subcontract all their work, six firms that subcontract 99% and 98% of the work, and 15

firms subcontract 95% and, 17 firms that subcontract 90%. The remaining 32% of the

firms are distributed as shown in Figure 4.3.


50% to 69% 30% to 49% 5% to 29%
4.0% 1.6% 1.6%
70% to 89%
12.5%








90% to 100%
80.3%


Figure 4-3 Work subcontracted (N=128)

Further analysis shows that there is no obvious relationship between the size of

the company and the percentage of work subcontracted. Size apparently is not a factor

that impacts the decision to subcontract work. Homebuilders tend to act as managers and

not as builders of the work. This also reduces the chances of added costs due to lost

equipment and tools due tojobsite crime because subcontractors own the equipment.

Nonetheless, this does not help to reduce crime on job sites. On the other hand, the

spearman's correlation (see Appendix D) was used to examine any relationship between

the work subcontracted and the company loses. The findings reveal that firms that

subcontract more percentage of the work have fewer losses due to jobsite crime. In

addition, the more work is subcontracted the less measures need to be used to prevent

tool and equipment theft. The information suggests that to subcontract the work,

homebuilders not only distribute the risk between the subs but also avoid costly loses.










4.1.4 Measures to ensure the security of individual houses

An attempt was made to determine what measures are commonly used by

residential contractors to ensure the security of individual houses. Figure 4.4 shows the

most common methods used by contractors to secure houses being built. Notice that

traditional locksets, warning signs and dead bolts account for the largest percentage. It is

interesting to see that the simplest methods are the most popular. Although inexpensive,

they are simple and may also be effective. On the other hand, security dogs, bars on

windows, and worker badge systems were not used by any of the survey participants.

The employment of guard dogs involves the use of other security measures.

Perhaps this explains their lack of popularity among contractors. Guard dogs require

extra fences, additional warning signs, animal handlers etc. Moreover, dogs cannot

distinguish a thief from a neighborhood naughty kid. Injuries or even death could result

where the contractor might be held legally responsible.


100
90 90.6
80
70
(D 57.8
o) 60
(D 50 44.5
o 41.4
0 40
n 29.7
30
20 17.2 13.3 13.3
1011.7 8.6 7.8 5.5
10



00
Mj a) J ,o (D (




r-
E 4-4: Measures to secure individual houses (N=128)

Figure 4-4: Measures to secure individual houses (N=128)









Bars on windows and worker badge systems are not uses by participating

contractors. According to the results, contractors prefer to close windows and door

openings with plywood sheets. Bars on windows visually expose appliances and fixtures

as well as materials stored inside. This can encourage thieves to find other entrances.

Plywood sheets are inexpensive and easy to install and close openings completely.

Figure 4.4 represents all the measures that were specifically asked about in the

survey and their extent of use among contractors. The results imply that simple,

inexpensive, and practical methods are preferred by most homebuilders. More

technological and expensive measures (alarms, cameras, gate guards, etc,) are less likely

to be used by residential contractors. Larger firms may have the needed funds to permit

them to expend money on these measures. Additionally, the results of this research show

that larger companies are more likely to own construction machinery and equipment.

Additional measures to secure sites were given by 7.8% of the contractors. These

include: (1) Putting lock boxes on the doors, and only authorized persons keep the keys;

(2) Parking a van or vehicle on site most of the time to make it look as if someone is

inside; (3) Securing job trailers with security bars over the windows and heavy duty locks

on the doors; (4) Know your neighbors, be nice and help them if you can. It will pay off;

and (5) Just-in-time delivery of materials that reduces the amount of materials left on site.

An analysis was conducted to determine if there was a relationship between the

size of the company and the types of security measures taken. The findings reveal that

some relationships exist. Night guards and alarm systems are measures that are more

commonly employed by the larger firms. Small firms are more likely to remove

equipment from the site (see table 4.2).










Table 4-2: Size of firm and security measures


Measure Frequency Percentage
Night guard
Large firms ($5M+) 8 14.8%
Small firms (<$5M) 2 2.9%
Alarm systems
Large firms ($5M+) 22 40.7%
Small firms (<$5M) 14 20.6%
Remove unused equipment
Large firms ($5M+) 19 35.2%
Small firms (<$5M) 31 45.6%


Smaller companies are more likely to remove their equipment from site while

larger companies have a tendency to protect them on site by using night guards and alarm

systems.

Further analysis revealed that larger firms have a tendency to use more security

measures than smaller firms to secure their sites. Large companies use an average of four

different types of measures while the smaller companies use an average of three. Even

though, the difference is only one measure, the correct application of one measure to

protect the site could be the difference between being a easy target or not (see Table 4.3).

Table 4-3: Average number of measures taken, large firms vs. small firms.


Mean N Std Deviation # of measures Significance

Small firms (<$5M) 2.99 77 1.499 3 0.002

Large firms ($5M>) 3.86 51 1.51 4

Note: Differences are statistically significant at p< 0.02 based on ANOVA









4.1.5 Security measures used when projects are located in existing neighborhoods
or remote areas.

Contractors were asked about measures taken when projects are located in

existing neighborhoods. Based on sixty responses, the results show that 46.9 % of the

respondents utilize different measures when projects are located in existing

neighborhoods; the remaining 53.1% of companies do not take any different precautions

(see Figure 4.5). Among the 46.9% of the respondents that use different measures in

existing neighborhoods, a significant number have a common view about the appropriate

measures to use.





Yes
yes
no 46.9% 1. Safety is a frequent concern
no53.1% 2. Fences without top rail
3. Neighborhood watch




Figure 4-5: Firms that employ special measures when projects are located in
neighborhood areas

Safety is a frequent concern when people, especially children, are nearby.

Contractors tend to focus more on removing hazards from the site, building in a safe area,

covering holes and removing debris, etc, than to focus on security problems. To them the

safety issue is more important than the security issue when there are people living around

the site, because a severe injury could result in a lawsuit due to the failure to secure the

site.









Fences are another way of keeping people and kids off the property, yet it is

important to notice that contractors use fencing around the site independent of the size of

the project or the type of neighborhood where the projects are located. Some

neighborhoods are more secure than others and do not require too many security

measures. One respondent suggested that fences should be installed without a top rail

because they are harder to climb. Also, motion sensor lights are effective and

inexpensive. Another company preferred to rely on neighborhood watch and reward

systems. They preferred to talk to neighbors (especially retirees) and pay them a reward

in order to keep an eye on the site. Setting up a neighborhood watch program with other

residents and other commercial establishments in the area helps to reduce losses.

A second variable included in the questionnaire dealt with measures that

contractors take when projects are located in unpopulated areas. Remote units are more

difficult to protect because of their vulnerable location, so it is essential to know the

geographic region and to prepare measures using common sense, as mentioned by one of

the companies. Based on forty-six responses, the results show that 35.9 % of the

respondents take different measures when projects are located in remote areas (see Figure

4.6).

The respondents that answered this question had some common views about what

they do on projects in remote areas. The replies indicate that contractors primarily use

police patrols, regular visits by themselves, especially on weekends, just-in-time

deliveries, fences, and the minimization of valuables left on site such as materials,

appliances, and power tools.












yes Yes
1. Police patrols
2. Regular visits to the site
3. JIT deliveries
4. Min. of valuables left on site
no
64.1%



Figure 4-6: Firms that employ special measures when projects are located in
remote areas

One respondent suggested that uninstalled appliances should never be left on job

site. Appliances must be installed as soon as they are delivered to the site. Furthermore, it

is important to dispose all the appliance boxes. Do not advertise the domestic devices

being stored or installed by leaving empty delivery boxes around the site with a direct

view to the street.

4.2 Theft

4.2.1 Company's theft experiences and value of these thefts

Information was sought on the approximate number of theft incidents that the

companies have experienced in the past three years. There were 121 responses. The

findings show that the average firm experienced about eighteen theft incidents over a

period of three years (the median answer was three). This suggests that a company suffers

about six thefts per year. In addition, the minimum number of thefts was 0 and the

maximum was 1000.

According to the findings, a significant number of responding firms have

experienced between one to five incidents. This accounts for 62 % of the respondents.

These responses are broken down, as shown in Table 4.4.











70
62
60

50
0)
S40
S 0-----^ H---
2 30
20 14.9
20
10.7
10
0


6.6 3.3 2.5

-l


0 1 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 20 21 to 50 51 +
Theft incidents

Figure 4-7: Number of theft incidents in the past three years (N=121)

Eighteen firms, or 14.9% of the respondents, experienced between six and ten

incidents. The third category that comprises eight firms, or 6.6%, experienced between

eleven and twenty incidents. The remainder are distributed as shown in Figure 4.7.

Table 4-4: Distribution of theft incidents from 1 to 5

Number of thefts Frequency Percent
1 19 15.7
2 24 19.8
3 20 16.5
4 7 5.8
5 5 4.2
Total 75 62


One responding company reported a very high history of theft incidents in

comparison with the rest. This company estimated they had had approximately 1000

cases of theft on their construction sites in the past three years. They approximated the

costs of these thefts to be around $180,000 in total losses including hand tools, power

tools, office equipment, and construction materials. According to the survey, this firm









completed about 100 houses per year. They mentioned that they had tried everything to

curtail jobsite theft on their construction sites.

Respondents were asked about the estimated value of these thefts. Based on 123

responses, the company theft losses averaged $10,800 over three years (median of

$1500). In addition, the minimum value of theft incidents reported by the respondents

was $100 and the maximum was $200,000. The company that suffered $200,000 in losses

reported about 100 cases of theft per year. This company was one of the largest in the

study with an annual volume of work exceeding $100 million.

According to the findings, 62.6% of the companies in the study lost between $100

and $5,000 from theft over a three-year period (see Figure 4.8).


31k to 50K 50k +
21k to 30k 1.6% 4.9%none
3.3%
11.4%
11 k to 20k
6.5%

6k to 10K
9.7%


0.1lk to 5k
62.6%


Figure 4-8: Companies' estimated total loss of thefts in past three years (N=123)

The results suggest that over a three-year period more than 60% of the residential

contractors in Florida not only experienced one to five incidents of theft but also the cost

of these thefts ranged from $100 to $5,000 dollars. Twenty-six percent of the contractors

experienced more than $5000 in theft losses in a period of three years. Eleven percent

experienced no losses. No construction site is immune to theft and only a small number

of firms have been able to avoid jobsite thefts. The data of firms with theft losses from











$100 to $5000 is broken down in Table 4.5 to provide a better understanding of the

distribution of the losses.


Table 4-5: Loss distributions of theft losses less than 5 thousand


Values of theft Frequency Percentage of
in thousands Responses
0.1 to 1000 29 23.6
1001 to 2000 27 22.0
2001 to 3000 10 8.1
3001 to 4000 4 3.2
4001 to 5000 7 5.7
TOTAL 77 62.6



Losses of theft per million dollar of volume of work were also analyzed. The data


shows that the average company loses about $593 per million dollar of volume of work


per year. Basically, for every thousand dollars a company does in work it will suffer sixty


cents in losses due to theft. The minimum value was $2.78 and the maximum was


$11,666. Figure 4.9 shows the distribution of these losses.


30

note An additional 17 companies not shown in
the graph experienced losses between $1,000
and $11,000

20





10


D Std. Dev= 141 3.39
SMean= 592.8
0 N = 105.00
4 -9 o A g of asi
S '0 '0 0 0 0 '0 0 0 0 '0




Figure 4-9: Average of annual theft losses per million dollars of work volume










In addition, smaller homebuilders in the study seem to lose more money than

smaller firms (per million dollars of work volume). Smaller firms lose an average of

$803.30 while larger firms lose one third of this amount (see Table 4.6).

Table 4-6: Average of theft annual losses per million dollars of work volume; small
firms vs. large firms


Mean N Std Deviation Median Significance
Small firms (<$5M) 803.3 66 1726.04 236.1 0.046
Large firms ($5M+) 236.3 39 404.72 92.59
Note: Differences are statistically significant at p< 0.046 based on ANOVA


4.2.2 Types of incidents experienced.

Information was obtained on the type of incidents and the costs that the firms

have incurred in the past three years. Five types of theft were examined to determine the

items that are the common targets for thieves, namely tools, vehicles, off road equipment,

materials, and office equipment.

The results show that 44.5 % of the respondents have experienced tool losses on

their construction sites. On a three-year period, the costs of these losses averaged $1,997

per firm. The maximum loss reported was $25,000. Table 4.7 shows the responses broken

down by percentages. More than one half of the respondents suffered losses ranging from

$20 to $500. However, 7.14% have experienced losses larger than $5000.

Table 4-7: Losses resulting from tool theft in past 3 years

Tool Cost Number of Percentage of
Replies Responses
From $20 to $250 13 23.21
From $256 to $500 16 28.57
From $501 to $1000 7 12.5
From $1001 to $2000 4 7.14
From $2001 to $3000 9 16.07
From $3001 to $5000 3 5.37
More than $5000 4 7.14
Total 56 100










Based on five responses, the results show that 3.1% of the respondents have

experienced licensed vehicles losses in their construction sites. The average cost of these

five incidents was $10,620 over a period of three years. The minimum value of these

losses was $100 and the maximum was $45,000. Table 4.8 shows the responses broken

down by percentages.

Table 4-8: Losses resulting from vehicle theft in past 3 years

Vehicle cost Number of Percentage of
Replies Responses
From $100 to $1000 2 40
From $1001 to $2000 1 20
From $2001 to $5000 1 20
More than $5000 1 20
Total 5 100

Three respondents reported that they had off-road equipment stolen from them.

The mean cost in three years of these incidents was $12,000. Homebuilders lost on

average $4000 in off-road equipment per year. The maximum theft loss was $32,000.

Table 4.9 shows the positive responses broken down by percentages.

Table 4-9: Losses resulting from off-road equipment theft in past 3 years

Off road equipment Number of Percentage of
cost Replies Responses
$2,000 2 66.6
$32,000 1 33.3
Total 3 100


Office equipment losses such as computers, printers, faxes etc. and their costs

were analyzed. Based on nine responses, the results indicate that 7% of the respondents

have experienced this type of loss on their construction sites. The average contractor lost

$4,431 in three years. The maximum value of these losses was $10,000 and the minimum

reported was $1000.










Table 4-10: Losses resulting from office equipment theft in past 3 years

Computer, Printers Number of Percentage of
Faxes, cost Replies Responses
$1,000 1 11.1
From $1001 to $2000 2 22.2
From $2001 to $3000 2 22.2
From $3001 to $4000 1 11.1
From $4001 to $5000 1 11.1
More than $5000 2 22.2
Total 9 100

Information was obtained on the theft of construction material along with their

costs. Based on eighty-seven (68%) respondents who had experienced such losses, the

cost was $9,694. In addition, the minimum cost of material theft reported was $10 and

the maximum was $200,000 (see Table 4.11).

It would appear intuitive that vehicle and off-road equipment losses will cost the

firms the largest amount of money, but such losses are not frequent among homebuilders.

Table 4-11: Losses resulting from material theft in past 3 years

Material Number of Percentage of
Cost Replies Responses
From $10 to $100 5 5.8
From $101 to $500 17 19.8
From $501 to $1000 14 16.3
From $1001 to $2000 11 12.5
From $2001 to $3000 9 10.3
From $3001 to $4000 4 4.5
From $4001 to $5000 3 3.4
More than $5000 24 27.3
Total 87 100



Figure 4.10 shows a summary of the most common items stolen on construction

sites. The data reveal that 68% of the firms participating in this study have experienced

loss of construction materials. Hand tools and power tools accounted for 44.5% of all the

incidents involving theft. The remaining types of theft incidents were each experienced

by less than 10% of the respondents.










As shown in Figure 4.10, the major theft problem lies in the theft of construction

materials and tools. This suggests that construction materials and tools are the most

vulnerable items on jobsites, especially when measures are not enforced to protect them

from theft. So residential contractors must pay special attention to these items in order to

cut costs and preserve profits. Although the incidence of thefts of vehicles and off-road

equipment is low, the costs of such thefts are high when they do occur (see Figure 4.11).


68


44.5





7 3.1 1.6


Const Mat. Tools Computer Vehicles Offroad equip
Type of Theft

Figure 4-10: Frequency of theft incidents by type of loss


80
o 70
o
c 60
| 50
0 40
aO
30
e--
I 20
Q_ 10
0







14,

12,

10,

8,

6,

o 4,
2
2,


0
0 10,620 12,000

9,694
0

0 4,431
0

1,997
0


Const Mat. Tools Computer Vehicles Offroad equip
Type of loss

Figure 4-11: Average cost of theft losses by type of loss (three year period)


00(

00(

00(

00(

00(

00(

00(
,OO










4.2.3 Other measures to curtail jobsite theft

One question in the survey asked about other steps that firms take to curtail

jobsite theft. There were forty-four responses to this question. According to the results, it

is essential to minimize tools and equipment left on site, to supervise the site constantly,

and to have materials delivered when ready to install. Others prefer to talk with neighbors

and offer them rewards to keep an eye on the site. Table 4.12 shows the distribution of

the steps taken by respondents.

Table 4-12: Other steps taken by the firms to curtail theft

Steps taken Frequency Percentage
JIT deliveries and installation 10 22.7
Minimize materials and tools left 8 18.2
Frequent visits 7 15.9
Talk with neighbors 5 11.4
Keep jobsite locked 2 4.5
Maintain lock tool storage 2 4.5
Extra police patrols 2 4.5
Build security gate 2 4.5
Pay subs on time 1 2.3
Know who is on site 1 2.3
Courtesy home for police officer to live in** 1 2.3
Install mobile alarms 1 2.3
Use same subs 1 2.3
Ask subs to report anything strange 1 2.3
Total 44 100.0
**Measure taken by company with an annual volume of work of 80 million.

These findings imply that material and tool control are high priority for

responsible contractors. Organized, clean jobsites, and protected valuable tools and

materials appear to be very important factors for combating theft.

In addition, neighbors can play an important role in avoiding jobsite theft. The

results indicate that contractors talk with neighbors and give them rewards for helping

them to supervise the site during nights and weekends. They are encouraged to call the









local police department in case they see something unusual or suspicious. This is a very

good and simple method that not only prevents jobsite theft but also creates a friendly

environment for the community around the site. By understanding what drives human

behavior, homebuilders can create the conditions necessary to encourage desired

behaviors. Reward systems or a simple and friendly talk with neighbors can help firms

create conditions that encourage people to collaborate for the benefit of the project.

4.2.4 Jobsite Layout

Jobsite layout is important to maximize productivity and to ensure the efficient

flow of work on a project site, but it is also important for the protection of materials and

tools left on site. The survey asked about layout decisions that were designed to reduce

theft. Twelve replies to this question indicate that this form of layout decision is made

primarily with regard to on site materials, trailers, and the dumpsters.

Designating a secure storage area for materials and tools accounts for the largest

percentage (see Table 4.13). Homebuilders secure materials and tools inside selected

homes, garages, or even trucks that can be locked after each work day. One measure that

is used is to assign the material drop areas where they are not in direct view of the street

to avoid theft. However, some have opposite views. For example, when materials are

visible from the road, the work of thieves is more difficult. In addition, visibility not only

makes materials harder to access but also exposes the thief to anyone passing by.

Materials left to the side or rear of housing units are better targets for thieves. Findings

also show that contractors locate their trailers in front of the building site with a direct

view of material storage areas and dumpsters. These measures help to readily detect

suspicious behavior.










Table 4-13: Layout decisions

Layout decisions Frequency Percentage
Designate secure storage area 4 33.3
Keep materials out of sight 3 24.9
One entrance communities 2 16.7
Office trailer location 2 16.7
Dumpster location 1 8.4
Total 12 100


4.2.5 Incidents reported to the police

Information was sought on reporting incidents of theft to the police. One question

in the survey asked what percentage of theft incidents are reported to the police. Based on

116 responses, an average of 64.1% of the thefts are reported. In addition, some made no

theft reports the while others reported every theft that occurred.

According to the findings, 55.2% of the companies in the study report from 75 to

100% of the theft incidents to the local police. However, 22.4% of the companies do not

report any theft incidents (see Figure 4.12).

76% to 100% none
55.2% 22.4%




1% to 25%
5.2%
26% to 50%
51% to 75% 13
3.4%

Figure 4-12 Percent of thefts reported to the police (N=116)

The second question asked about the minimum value of theft loss that was

reported to the police. Based on ninety responses, the average homebuilder reported a

minimum value of $1570 to the police (the median answer was $300). In addition the









minimum value of theft incidents reported to the police was $1 and the maximum was

$100,000.

The results indicate that 26.6% of the companies in the study reported items

valued between $1 and $100. This accounts for the largest percentage. The findings show

however, that basically about 3% of the firms report only losses exceeding $1000. The

remaining percentages are show in Figure 4.13.


1k+ Any value
3.3% 6.7%
$1 to $100
26.6%
$501 to 1k
21.2%




$101 to $200
5.6%

$401 to $500 $201 to $300
22.2% $301 to $400 12.2%
2.2%
Figure 4-13: Minimum value of loss reported to the police (N=90)

The third question pertaining to this subject asked what percentage of stolen items

are actually recovered. Based on 117 responses, the mean answer was 3.97% (the

median answer was 0%). In addition, two firms reported the recovery of all or 100% of

these stolen items.

The findings show that basically more than 80% of the companies in the study

never recover the items that are stolen from their jobsites. However, 14% recover from

one to ten percent of the stolen items. It is evident that the recovery rate is quite low (see

Figure 4.14).









In summary, these findings reveal that more than half of the participants in this

study report basically all the theft incidents that occur on their jobsites. Also, more than

70% report the loss of items with an estimated value of $500 or less. However, 80% of

the firms never recover their tools and equipment. Consider this: fifty-five homebuilders

out of 100 report pretty much all their theft incidents to the police. Nevertheless, 44 out

of the 55 will never recover the items lost. These are alarming statistics for homebuilders;

for this reason, it is important to attack the problem at the root. A well-planned

prevention program is the key to avoiding losses.



11% to 50% 50%+
1% to 10% 3.4% 1.7%
14.6%








none
80.3%

Figure 4-14: Percentage of stolen items recovered

4.2.6 Deductible on insurance policy

A deductible is the amount of a loss that an insurance policy holder has to pay

out-of-pocket before reimbursement begins in accordance with the insurance policy. The

survey asked the companies about the deductible amount on their builder's risk insurance

policy. Based on 104 responses, the mean deductible amount was $1346 (median of

$1000). In addition, the minimum deductible was $250 and the maximum was $10,000.










Statistics show that most firms in the study have a deductible between $500 and

$1000. This accounts for 75.9 % of the respondents. Thirty-six firms out of 104,

accounting for 34.6% of respondents, state they have a deductible amount of $500. Forty-

three firms (or 41.3%) have a deductible amount of $1000 (see Table 4.14).

Table 4-14: Deductible amount of the builder's risk insurance

Responses Frequency Percent
0 3 2.9
250 5 4.8
300 1 1
500 36 34.6
1,000 43 41.3
1,500 3 2.9
2,500 4 3.8
3,000 1 1
5,000 4 3.8
10,000 4 3.8
Total 104 100


4.2.7 Tool Theft Prevention

Section 4.2.2 revealed that hand and power tools are the primary targets for

thieves, costing the average homebuilder about $500 per year. This segment examined

the measures that residential contractors usually take to reduce hand and power tools theft

in their jobsites. Based on 103 responses, the findings are shown in Figure 4.15, which

show the measures preferred by residential contractor to secure tools.

Minimizing tools left on site accounted for the largest percentage (69.9%) of the

seven types of measures examined on this study. Tools are easy targets for thieves. Tools

get swiped from jobsites, from vehicles, and construction trailers, mostly due to their

small size.











80
69.9 67
70
60
49.5 47.6
50
5 40
y 30 3230
20
10
0
No tool left Worker Mark tools Storage Tool Supervise Other
resp. area inventory trash
removal.
Measures

Figure 4-15: Measures to prevent tool theft (N=103)

On the other hand, 67% of the respondents affirm that they make workers

responsible for the tools used. When workers take responsibility for a specific item, they

tend to be indirectly motivated to take care of that item. In addition, this responsibility

helps promote personal involvement that probably prevents or at least reduces tool theft.

Marking tools was noted by for 49.5% of the respondents. Marking tools with a

visible and durable mark can make the difference between recovering a stolen tool and

losing it, especially when proving ownership of the tools taken.

It is important to mention that 11.7% of the firms participating in this study use

other measures to secure their tools. Primarily, respondents prefer to hire employees,

workers, and subs who use their own tools.

An additional analysis was done to find the level of significance between the

measures taken and the size of the companies. The findings reveal that minimizing tools

left on site is a common practice of smaller firms. Basically, smaller firms tend to enforce

this measure more than larger firms (see Table 4.15).







41


Table 4-15: Size of the firm and measures to prevent tool theft.

Measure Frequency Percentage
Minimize tools left
Large firms ($5M>) 20 55.6%
Small firms (<$5M) 47 69.1%


4.2.8 Equipment theft prevention

Equipment theft is a serious and growing problem that costs millions of dollars

each year. Managing heavy equipment theft will be more challenging in the new

millennium, thanks to the new technologically advanced thieves that annually steal

hundreds of vehicles and off-road equipment. A question in the survey asked what

measures firms take to prevent theft of machinery and equipment. Based on seventy-four

responses, the findings are summarized in Figure 4.16.


60
50
50

S40 -35.t
Co 28.4
_ 30 -
2020.3
20.03_17.6

10 8.1
0
Park equip in Other Park in Diff. color Add ID Modify
lighted areas central ignition
location
Measures

Figure 4-16: Measures to prevent equipment theft (N=74)

Figure 4.16 reveals that 50% of the firms participating in this study park their

equipment in well-lighted areas; this measure accounts for the largest percentage. "Other

measures" account for 35.1%. Residential contractors mention that they use heavy

construction equipment locks and chains, private patrols at night (including weekends),










use rental equipment only, or remove equipment from site at the end of the day. Several

firms stated that they that do not own any equipment. For example, the equipment may

belong to the sub-contractors or they rented equipment.

Others confirm that they use tracking devices. Basically, this involves the use of

satellite-based mobile tracking equipment that uses Global Positioning System (GPS) and

embedded cellular technology. The signals produced by the GPS satellites are used to

determine the precise latitude and longitude coordinates, along with the direction and

speed of travel.

Private patrols
Tracking devices 5.5% Remove equip.
5.5% each day
39.1%
Locks and chains
16.6%







Do not own equip.
33.3%


Figure 4-17: Other measures to prevent equipment theft (N=26)

Parking equipment in a central location, using a unique color for the equipment,

adding additional identification on the equipment, and modifying the ignition were other

approaches used.

The number of measures used by large firms and small firms to prevent

equipment and tool thefts were examined. The statistical analysis shows that basically

there are no differences in the number of measures that large and small homebuilders use

to prevent these crimes. Firms no matter their size, use an average of three measures to










prevent tool theft and an average of two measures to prevent equipment theft (see Table

4.16).

Table 4-16: Size of the firm and the average number of measures to secure tool theft

Tool Theft Equipment theft
Prevention Prevention
Small firms (<$5M) Mean 2.86 1.22
N 69 48
Std. Dev. 1.21 0.90
Median 3.00 1.00
Large firms ($5M>) Mean 2.50 1.26
N 34 26
Std. Dev. 1.30 0.87
Median 2.00 1.00


4.2.9 Workers and theft

Not all thefts are attributed to strangers. The respondents were basically asked

what percentage of thefts in their jobsites are assumed to involve former employees.

Based on 101 responses, the mean answer was 21.3%. This suggests that the average

company thinks that more than twenty percent of their thefts involve former workers. In

addition, the minimum percentage was zero and the maximum was 100%.


50.5


18.8


19.8


4 6.9


0% 1 to 25% 26% to 50% 51% to 75% 76% to 100%


Figure 4-18: Company perceptions that on-site workers are involved in thefts
(N=101)









Figure 4.18 indicates that a significant number of homebuilders in this study have

considerably confidence in their workers. This category accounts for 50.5% of the

respondents that never suspected their workers when thefts occurred on their sites. On the

other hand, 18.8% of the responses believe that workers are responsible for 1 to 25% of

the stolen items. Nearly twenty percent think workers are responsible for 26% to 50% of

jobsite thefts. Finally, 6.9% of the firms assume that workers are responsible for 76% to

100% of theft incidents on site. Further analysis of the data revealed no relationship

between the size of the company and the perception of the identity of the thieves.

4.3 Vandalism

4.3.1 Company's vandalism experiences and value of these incidents

Vandalism is a major problem in many areas and adversely affects the

construction community in numerous ways. Repairing damaged property is expensive

and time consuming for residential contractors. A question was asked about the

approximate number of vandalism incidents each respondent had experienced in the past

three years. Based on 115 responses, the average number of vandalism cases in three

years was 9.14 or approximately three vandalism incidents per year. In addition, the

minimum number of incidents was one and the maximum was 700 incidents in three

years.

According to the findings, 44.3 % of the respondents reported no incidents of

vandalism. Also, 13.9% and 8.7% have experienced one and two incidents, respectively

(see Figure 4.19).

One company shows a very high incidence of vandalism in comparison with the

other respondents. This company estimated approximately 700 cases of vandalism on









their construction sites in the past three years. They estimated the cost of these incidents

to be around $50,000 in total losses, including graffiti, broken glass, destruction of in-

place materials and fixtures, and damage to construction equipment. Further analysis

reveals that this company also experienced the highest estimated total loss in theft

incidents.


11 to 40 40+
6 to 10 5.2% 0.9%
9.6%

none
3 to 5 44.3%
17.4%






8.7% 1
13.9%
Figure 4-19: Number of vandalism incidents in the past 3 years (N=115)

The survey asked about the estimated value of vandalism incidents. Based on 110

responses, the mean answer was $3,767 and the median answer was $300. In addition the

minimum value of these incidents according to the data was $50 and the maximum was

$100,000 in three years.

The company that experienced $100,000 in losses reported about 233 cases of

vandalism per year. According to the findings, 44.5% of the companies in the study had

not experienced any incident over the same period of time. However, 23.7% have

suffered losses that cost between $1 and $1,000 during the same period (see Figure 4.20).

In summary, the graph indicates that approximately 45% of the homebuilders did

not have any vandalism incidents on their jobsites; nevertheless, another 45%











experienced losses estimated at less than $5,000, and the remaining 10% experienced


vandalism losses exceeding $5,000.


10,001 to
20,000
1.9%

5,001 to 10,000
3.6%

1,001 to 5,000
21 8%


20,001 to
30,000 30,000 +
1.8% 3%


none
44.5%


1 to 1000
23.7%

Figure 4-20: Estimated total losses due to vandalism in the past 3 years (N=110)


Losses of vandalism per million dollar of volume were also analyzed. The results


shows that the average homebuilder loses $522 per million of volume of work per year.


The minimum was $3.3 and the maximum $13,333 (see Figure 4.21).


30





20





10



u


Std. Dev = 1827.89
Mean = 522 0
N=5800


o %00 % % % %%% %


Figure 4-21: Average annual vandalism losses per million dollars of work
volume










Table 4.17 show that small firms lose more money (per million dollars of work

volume) than large firms due to vandalism. Small firms lose an average of $872.8 while

larger firms lose an average of $58.98 per million dollars of work volume. Note that not

only for vandalism but also for theft (see Section 4.2.1) small homebuilders had

experienced higher losses.

Table 4-17: Average annual vandalism losses per million dollars of work volume; small
firms vs. large firms


Mean N Std Deviation Median Significance
Small firms (<$5M) 872.8 33 2377.88 200 0.093
Large firms ($5M+) 58.89 25 59.81 33.33
Note: Differences are statistically significant at p< 0.093 based on ANOVA

4.3.2 Incidents reported to the police

The survey asked about the number of vandalism incidents that are reported to the

police. Based on 108 responses, the findings show that the firms report an average of

three incidents to the police. The minimum number of vandalism cases reported to the

police according to the data was one and the maximum was 100. It is interesting to note

that the company that estimated 700 cases of vandalism reported only 100 of them to the

police.


16 1 .
14
12
12 9.3


0 4.6 4.7
i 6
n 3 .7
4
2
0
1 2 3 4 5to10 10+
Number of incidents

Figure 4-22: Incidents of vandalism reported to the police (N=108)










The findings show that 59.3% of the 108 responding companies reported no

incidents of vandalism to the local police. This accounts for the largest percentage of

responses. On the other hand, 14.8% of the companies had reported one incident in the

past three years. 9.3% and 4.6% of the firms had reported two and three cases of

vandalism respectively (see Figure 4.22).

4.3.3 Types of vandalism incidents experienced by respondents

The data was examined to determine the frequency of the types of vandalism acts

in residential construction. Based on seventy-six responses, the results are shown in the

following graph.


70

60 57.9
60

50
( 40.8
'40 -
30
1 30

20 15.8

19.2 6.6
10


Broken Destruction Grafitti other Damage to Damage to
glass in place mat const. equip vehicles


Figure 4-23: Vandalism by type (N=76)

Figure 4.23 illustrates the most frequent acts of vandalism. "Broken glass"

accounted for the largest percentage, 65.8% of the six types of incidents examined in this

study. "Destruction of in-place materials" accounted for 57.9% of the responses.

"Graffiti" was reported by 40.8% of the respondents.










This analysis includes a category called "other" that accounts for 15.8% of the

respondents. For example, destruction of framed walls, damage to toilets, stolen or

destroyed plans, and driving over graded site work were included in these acts of

vandalism.

Damage to construction equipment and damage to vehicles accounted for 9.2%

and 6.6%, respectively. These incidents are the least likely to happen, according to this

study. In summary, residential contractors not only should pay special attention to

protecting glass in windows, doors, and equipment, but also in-shielding in place

materials and fixtures.

4.3.4 Vandals caught

A question was asked about catching vandals. Based on 84 responses, most

vandals are never caught. The information implies that for the average homebuilder that

experiences vandalism, the vandals are not caught. In addition, the minimum number of

vandals caught by the police according to the data was zero and the maximum was five in

a period of three years.


90
79.8
= 70
0
0 60 -
50 -
0
w 40
S30
S0 14.2
2 20
2.4 1.2 1.2 1.2
a 10
0
Zero One Two Three Four Five
Number of vandals caught

Figure 4-24: Percentage of vandals caught (N=84)










As shown in Figure 4.24, the probability of finding the people responsible for

vandalism acts is very low. The graph shows that nearly 80% of the respondents have

never caught an individual that vandalized their jobsites. On the other hand, the

remaining 20% have had more luck. They have been able to catch between one and five

vandals. However, those statistics are small considering a time period of three years.

4.3.5 Who are the vandals

One issue in the survey attempted to identify those individuals that are most likely

to act as vandals. The survey provided different possibilities from which the respondents

could choose. Based on fifty-one responses, the answers are summarized in Figure 4.25.


80
80 72.5

70

a 60
0
u) 50

0 40
o) 23.5
c 30
( 13.7
2 20
S1 9.8 9.8 7.8
10


Kids Persons/been Strangers Disgruntled Fired workers other
on site workers

Figure 4-25: Who were the vandals (N=51)

As shown in the graph, "kids" are the primary category for those suspected of

being responsible for vandalism acts on residential construction sites. This category

accounts for 72.5% of the responses. "People that have been on site for some reason"

accounts for 23.5% of all responses. "Strangers" comprises 13.7%. Finally, "disgruntled

workers", "fired workers" and "other" accounts for 9.8%, 9.8%, and 7.8%, respectively.









4.3.6 Other steps to curtail vandalism

The last question in the survey asked about other steps firms have taken to curtail

jobsite vandalism. The thirty-nine responding contractors generally stated that they try to

minimize vandalism by locking the doors and windows and by keeping the houses and

sites clean and clear of objects that could be vandalized. Some firms suggest it is a good

idea to use familiar subcontractors, or to use the same team of subs on each job. In this

way they know the other workers on site. Also one contractor prohibits any subs that

have been fired from entering the community. Some contractors stress that it is really

important to make workers on the jobsite feel good about the company, similar to being

part of a family.

Other firms suggested that the neighborhood watch is the best way to keep kids

from damaging a worksite. Meeting and creating a relationship with the neighbors can

stop jobsite crime. Talking to the police and asking them to patrol the site during nights

and weekends is also a measure that is suggested by some homebuilders.















CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Conclusions

The results of this study reveal the importance ofjobsite security for

homebuilders and highlight the issues affecting security on construction projects. The

findings show that more than sixty percent of the homebuilders participating in the study

were small companies with annual volumes of work ranging from 0.4 to 5 million dollars.

Smaller homebuilders do not generally deal with large amounts of money, and

they do not have large profits so each time they lose money due to jobsite theft it directly

affects their profits. However, larger homebuilders seem to be more concerned about the

problem and the effects that theft and vandalism can have on the way they do business

and the success of the firm. According to the findings larger firms use more security

measures than smaller firms to secure their jobsites. Nevertheless, smaller firms may be

limited by their available financial resources, which limits their ability to apply more

security measures.

It appears intuitive that the use of more security measures helped larger firms to

minimize their losses due tojobsite crime. On average small firms experienced about 3.4

times more losses due to theft, and 15 times more losses due to vandalism, than larger

firms per million dollar of work volume.

The industry, in general, recognizes that theft and vandalism are growing

problems. Numerous newspaper articles, books, and construction magazine articles









confirm this, however, it is one thing to know that a problem exists and another to deal

with it.

Small homebuilders tend to use inexpensive, simple methods to curtail jobsite

crime. For example, the use of traditional locksets, warning signs, dead bolts, and

removing equipment from the site daily, etc. are methods commonly used. Larger firms

use more sophisticated means and methods to protect the site. For example, they tend to

use alarm systems, night guards, tracking devices, security cameras, etc.

The findings reveal that smaller firms are inclined to remove their equipment and

to minimize tools and materials left on site, while larger firms have a tendency to protect

the equipment left on site. This is a clear indication that larger firms use their higher

economic capacity to secure equipment on site by using more sophisticated measures.

This perhaps is due to the fact that larger firms build larger home communities where it is

less costly to protect resources on site than to remove them.

Theft seems to be a bigger problem than vandalism. According to the results,

homebuilding sites are more frequently affected by theft than vandalism. The larger

number of responses about theft losses supports this statement. Also, the costs of theft

losses incurred by homebuilders are higher than vandalism losses. Vandalism costs are

incurred for such actions as broken glass, the destruction of in-place materials, and

graffiti, with neighborhood kids being the primary suspected individuals responsible for

these acts. The results show, however, that these acts happen sporadically on residential

sites. On the other hand, thefts occurred more frequently. Construction materials, tools,

and office equipment are the three most frequent targets. Theft appears to be a greater

problem in the homebuilding industry than vandalism.









As a result, homebuilders have a tendency to take theft more seriously than

vandalism. They tend to report nearly all the cases of theft that occur on their sites. On

the other hand, vandalism reports are significantly lower. It is interesting to note that both

phenomenon have very low resolution rates. So, why is the frequency of theft reporting

by homebuilders higher than the reporting of vandalism cases? The answer could be that

theft is a more damaging and costly phenomena. Losing equipment and construction

materials due to theft can cost thousands of dollars. If the equipment and/or the materials

are gone, the contractor needs to replace them. The homebuilder also loses time,

productivity, and ultimately profits as well.

5.2 Recommendations for Homebuilders

Every year residential contractors lose thousands of dollars due to theft and

vandalism. These losses will never disappear completely, but taking appropriate

precautions can make the difference between a company's success and its failure. For

instance, it is essential that homebuilders inform themselves about the possible dangers

and effects of theft and vandalism so they can be better prepared to protect their

resources. This research yields useful information for contractors. First of all, it is

appropriate that homebuilders report all losses due to vandalism or theft to the local

police department. Failure to report not only does not improve the situation, but also

encourages thieves and vandals to strike again.

In addition, homebuilders should pay special attention to the security of

construction materials on site. Builders should minimize the time that materials are left

on site before installing them and when possible enforce just-in-time deliveries. Also,









they should focus on protecting glass in doors, windows, and equipment, as glass is a

primary target for vandals.

Developing a good relationship with the neighbors has proven to be helpful in

reducing jobsite crime. Use a reward system if possible. The purpose is to create an alert

neighborhood by using simple crime prevention methods. This has several advantages,

including the fact that neighbors will be familiar with the homebuilder, the regular work

times, etc. Cooperative neighbors will alert the police if suspicious activity occurs,

especially during nights and weekends. Finally, it is important that contractors ask

neighbors to help them keep their children out of the work place, explaining to them the

possible dangers. This will also reduce possible acts of vandalism and possible injury to

children.

5.3 Recommendations for Future Research

While the results of this research provide valuable information about theft and

vandalism in the homebuilding industry, further research appears warranted. Since

regional differences cannot be anticipated among homebuilders as it pertains to theft and

vandalism, a nation-wide survey should be conducted. That survey should seek a larger

number of replies by increasing the number of surveys mailed.

Means should be explored to increase the response rate. Future researchers may

consider sending follow up surveys to increase the response rate.

Additionally, it is recommended that future studies focus on different sectors of

the construction industry, including commercial, industrial, high-rise, and civil

construction, in order to have a broader sense of the nature ofjobsite crime in the

construction industry.















APPENDIX A
SAMPLE COVER LETTER

April 3, 2003

Subject: Survey on Jobsite Security

Dear Home Builder

The M. E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction at the University of Florida is
conducting a study in cooperation with the Florida Homebuilders Association. The focus
of the study is to identify specific practices that are being employed by homebuilders that
pertain security on home-building projects. In this study we are attempting to identify
typical practices and techniques that are related to reducing theft and vandalism.

The short survey questionnaire contains a variety of questions related to jobsite security
in residential construction. If you feel that you are not the appropriate individual to
complete the survey, please forward it to someone who you feel is knowledgeable on the
subject covered. Many of the questions can be answered by simply checking the
applicable answers. There are no risks associated with participating in this study and the
survey can be completed in a few minutes. Naturally, you are asked to answer only those
questions that you feel comfortable in answering.

Results of this study will be compiled and summarized in a report. We will provide the
summary report to you if you want one. Should you have any questions please feel free
to contact me.

Responses provided by specific firms will be kept strictly confidential to the extent
provided by law. Research data will be summarized so that the identity of individual
participants will be concealed. You have my sincere thanks for participating in this
study.

Yours truly,

Jimmie HinzeHolland Professor
(352) 392-4697 FAX: (352) 392-9606 Email: hinze(@ufl.edu

P.S. For information about participant rights, please contact the University of Florida
Institutional Review Board at (352) 392-0433 or Email: IRB2@ufl.edu.
















APPENDIX B
SAMPLE SURVEY

Jobsite Security

About the Company:
What is the annual dollar volume of work of the company? $ million/yr.
Approximately how many houses are completed per year?
On how many different development sites are these houses located?
What percent of the work is typically subcontracted? % subcontracted

What measures are commonly used to ensure the security of individual houses and
construction sites? (Check all that apply)
O traditional locksets I dead bolts
I bars on windows I alarm system
I guard dogs I security cameras
I warning signs posted I remove unused equipment from site
I security fence I exterior lighting on the site
I use worker badge system I station a guard at entry gate
I night security guard on site D police patrols
I other, describe:
What does the firm do differently in terms ofjobsite security when projects are located in existing
neighborhoods (children and teens are nearby)?



What does the firm do differently in terms ofjobsite security when projects are located in areas
where there are currently no inhabitants?



Theft

In the past 3 years, what has the company experienced in terms of incidents of theft?
Approximate number of theft incidents in past 3 years:
Estimated total loss of these thefts: $
How many of the following types of theft incidents has the firm experienced in the past 3 years?
tools (hand tools and power tools), Value of Loss = $
licensed vehicles, Value of Loss = $
off-road equipment, Value of Loss = $
computers, printers, copiers, etc. Value of Loss = $
construction materials, Value of Loss = $
What other steps, if any, does your firm take to curtail jobsite theft?










If applicable, give an example of ajobsite layout decision that has been used to discourage theft.



What percent of the theft incidents are reported to the police? %
What is the minimum value of a theft loss that is reported to the police? $
What is the deductible amount on the firm's builder's risk insurance policy? $
What percent of the theft incidents are the stolen items actually recovered? %
What measures are commonly used to prevent theft of tools? (1 all that apply)
D maintain tool inventory D mark tools
I maintain secure storage area 0 supervise trash removal from site
I minimize tools left on site I make workers responsible for tools
I other, describe:
What measures does the firm take to prevent theft of machinery and equipment? (1 all that apply)
D park equipment in well-lighted areas at night
I modify ignition or fuel lines to make it difficult for others to start the engine
I include additional identification on the equipment
I use a distinctive color for the equipment
I park the equipment at a central location at the end of each day
I other, describe:

What percent of jobsite thefts on your projects are assumed to involve employees or former
employees? %
Vandalism

In the past 3 years, what has the company experienced in terms of incidents of vandalism?
Number of vandalism incidents in past 3 years:
Total estimated loss due to vandalism: $
Number of vandalism incidents that were reported to the police?
How many of the following types of vandalism incidents did the firm experience in the past 5
years?
graffiti
broken glass
destruction of in-place materials, fixtures, or appliances
damage to vehicles
damage to construction equipment
other:
For how many instances of vandalism in the past 3 years were the vandals on your firm's projects
actually caught?

If known, who were the vandals? (Check all that apply)
I disgruntled workers I workers who had been fired
I strangers D persons who had been on the site for some reason
D neighborhood kids I other:

What other steps, if any, does your firm take to curtail vandalism?

Thank you for your assistance in completing this survey. This information will be most helpful















APPENDIX C
SAMPLE SIZE ESTIMATION TABLE


Confidence level 80% 90% 95% 99%
Z value 1.28 1.64 1.96 2.59
Estimate interval (Delta) 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01
(p) (q) Sample size
0.5 0.5 4096 6724 9604 16770
0.4 0.6 3932 6455 9220 16099
0.3 0.7 3441 5648 8067 14087
0.2 0.8 2621 4303 6147 10733
0.1 0.9 1475 2421 3457 6037


Confidence level 80% 90% 95% 99%
Z value 1.28 1.64 1.96 2.59
Estimate interval (Delta) 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.02
(p) (q) Sample size
0.5 0.5 1024 1681 2401 4193
0.4 0.6 983 1614 2305 4025
0.3 0.7 860 1412 2017 3522
0.2 0.8 655 1076 1537 2683
0.1 0.9 369 605 864 1509


Confidence level 80% 90% 95% 99%
Z value 1.28 1.64 1.96 2.59
Estimate interval (Delta) 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03
(p) (q) Sample size
0.5 0.5 455 747 1067 1863
0.4 0.6 437 717 1024 1789
0.3 0.7 382 628 896 1565
0.2 0.8 291 478 683 1193
0.1 0.9 164 269 384 671









Confidence level 80% 90% 95% 99%
Z value 1.28 1.64 1.96 2.59
Estimate interval (Delta) 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04
(p) (q) Sample size
0.5 0.5 256 420 600 1048
0.4 0.6 246 403 576 1006
0.3 0.7 215 353 504 880
0.2 0.8 164 269 384 671
0.1 0.9 92 151 216 377

Confidence level 80% 90% 95% 99%
Z value 1.28 1.64 1.96 2.59
Estimate interval (Delta) 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01
(p) (q) Sample size
0.5 0.5 164 269 384 671
0.4 0.6 157 258 369 644
0.3 0.7 138 226 323 563
0.2 0.8 105 172 246 429
0.1 0.9 59 97 138 241

Ref: Ostle & Malone (1988) Statistics in Research, Chapter 17.4 & 17.12



















APPENDIX D
SPEARMAN' S CORRELATIONS


Volume in
millions


Number of
construction
sites


Percent
subcontracted



Theft loss per
million/volume



Vand loss per
million/volume



Measures to
secure homes



Measures to
secure tools



Measures to
secure equip.


Volume n Number of
V i construction


millions


sites


Percent
subcontracted


Theft loss per
million
dollars of
volume


Correlation
Coefficient 1 .225(**) .207(*) -.158(*)
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.009 0.011 0.043
N 122 109 122 119
Correlation
Coefficient .225(**) 1 0.03 0.109
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.009 .0.377 0.132
N 109 112 112 107
Correlation
Coefficient .207(*) 0.03 1 -.195(*)
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.011 0.377 0.017
N 122 112 128 119
Correlation
Coefficient -.158(*) 0.109 -.195(*) 1
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.043 0.132 0.017
N 119 107 119 119
Correlation
Coefficient 0.035 .197(*) -0.062 .489(**)
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.362 0.028 0.262 0
N 106 94 107 103
Correlation
Coefficient .168(*) -0.068 -0.043 0.052
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.032 0.238 0.315 0.288
N 122 112 128 119
Correlation
Coefficient -.211(*) -0.095 -.407(**) 0.112
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.019 0.19 0 0.142
N 97 87 103 94
Correlation
Coefficient -0.03 0.117 -.263(*) 0.187
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.401 0.18 0.012 0.062


** Correlation is significant at the .01 level (1-tailed).
* Correlation is significant at the .05 level (1-tailed).


Spearman's
rho


















Volume in
millions


Number of
construction
sites


Percent
subcontracted



Theft loss per
million/volume



Vand loss per
million/volume



Measures to
secure homes



Measures to
secure tools


Measures to
secure equip.


Measures
to secure
homes


Measures
to secure
tools


Measures
to secure
equip.


Vand loss per
million dollars
of volume


Correlation
Coefficient .168(*) -.211(*) -0.03 0.035
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.032 0.019 0.401 0.362
N 122 97 70 106
Correlation
Coefficient -0.068 -0.095 0.117 .197(*)
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.238 0.19 0.18 0.028
N 112 87 63 94
Correlation
Coefficient -0.043 -.407(**) -.263(*) -0.062
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.315 0 0.012 0.262
N 128 103 74 107
Correlation
Coefficient 0.052 0.112 0.187 .489(**)
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.288 0.142 0.062 0
N 119 94 69 103
Correlation
Coefficient 0.003 -0.14 -0.04 1
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.489 0.094 0.378
N 107 90 63 107
Correlation
Coefficient 1 .170(*) 0.067 0.003
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.043 0.284 0.489
N 128 103 74 107
Correlation
Coefficient .170(*) 1 .228(*) -0.14
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.043 0.03 0.094
N 103 103 69 90
Correlation
Coefficient 0.067 .228(*) 1 -0.04
Sig. (1-tailed) 0.284 0.03 0.378


** Correlation is significant at the .01 level (1-tailed).
* Correlation is significant at the .05 level (1-tailed).


Spearman's
rho















LIST OF REFERENCES

A Billion here and a billion there, The Constructor, Nov 1999, Vol. 81, No. 11,
www.agc.org/NewsBulletins/Constructor Nov_1999/nov99_page2.asp, (accessed
January 2003).

Bond, J., Contractors protect tools and equipment from theft, Atlanta Business Chronicle,
Dec 2000.

Combating jobsite equipment theft, NUCA, May 1986, Vol. 10, No. 5, p.20

Danek, S., No construction site is immune from theft, Denver Business Journal; Sept 29
2000, Vol.52, No. 7, p.20B.

Danek, S., Building-site theft increasing, Raleigh, NC, Triangle Business Journal; Sept
15 2000, Vol.16, No.3, p.25.

Gosnell, R. S., Contractors should build loss prevention plans, Best's Review Property-
Casualty Insurance Edition; July 1996, Vol.97, No.3, p.84.

McGreevy S., Theft and vandalism: How to protect yourself, The Contractor; Nov 1999,
Vol.46, No. 11, p.46.

Law Reform Commission of Canada, Damage to property: vandalism, Ottawa, Canada,
The Commission, 1984.

Ostle, B., and Malone, L., Statistics in Research, Nov 1987, Iowa State University Press,
Ames, IA.

The Problem of heavy equipment, National Equipment Register 2002, www.nerusa.com,
(accessed November 2002).

Pfeffer, S., Mark tools to cut theft at construction sites, Buffalo Business First, July 2001.

Rawl, J., Theft Prevention, Heavy Equipment News, March 2000, Vol. 13, No. 6, p.36.

Rowerdink R., Security and material controls on the job site, Washington, National
Association of Home Builders, 1987.

Stahl,A.L., Juvenile vandalism, Washington, DC, Office of Justice Programs, Office of
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2000.






64


Somerville L.S., Theft, vandalism a constant concern, Raleigh, NC, Journal June 15
2001, Vol.16, No.42, p.35.

Wilson, S., Sturman, A., and Gladstone, F. J., Tackling vandalism, London: H.M.
Stationery Off., 1978.















BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Francisco Montealegre was born in October 17, 1976, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to

Dalila Castillo and Franco Montealegre. He has a younger sister, Dalila, and a younger

brother, Eugenio. He graduated from high school in December 1995 and started his

college career at the National University of Engineering in Managua, Nicaragua. He

graduated with a bachelor degree of architecture in May of 1999. After Francisco

graduated, he traveled to the USA to continue his education. In 2001 he was accepted by

the University of Florida to pursue a Master of Science in Building Construction. After

graduating from UF, Francisco plans to undertake a career in construction management

with an interest in project management. The next goal will be to become a licensed

architect and contractor.