Lumber prices seem to finally be dropping after historic highs for several months. There was a period where lumber prices were 400% of normal. Suddenly not copper wire, not tools, not equipment, but lumber was the most valuable commodity on a job site.
According to the National Homebuilder’s Association, lumber theft skyrocketed. Some research indicated that more than half of all builders in the U.S. have had lumber stolen in the last six months. That’s an historic high.
So, what can builders do about it?
Recently we did interviews with several homebuilders. They had several thoughts about the current situation on job sites and how to solve the problem:
1. The current state of theft and the importance of security
Builders that don’t have proactive security—either with a fence around a jobsite, an LVT Unit on the jobsite, or security guards on a jobsite—are going to have theft. One builder told us that he’s seen pickups pull up to job sites and load lumber in broad daylight. In some cases they’ll do this with subcontractors actively working in the house. In one case the plumber was inside working and someone pulled up out front and stole nearly all the remaining lumber for the job.
2. Jobsite theft appears to be getting more brazen and common
Theft appears, not only to be more common, but to be more brazen than ever before. According to the CEO of Aspect Homes, criminals in the past used to drive up in the middle of the night, throw a couple of sheets of plywood in their truck, and hurriedly speed away. Or maybe they’d grab a stray hammer or tape measure that was left in the unfinished home. Now, people are pulling up with trailers and loading lumber, tools, large equipment, and other items in the middle of the day.
3. There are options to keep the bad guys out
Commercial construction sites have long had portable chain link fences put up on their jobsites. Residential builders generally have not. But during this increase in theft, more and more residential builders have considered fencing. Some builders told us they have invested in chain link fences to take from job site to job site. But they ALL said that setting up the chain link fence at every site, tearing it down, loading it, and taking it to a new site is annoying, time-consuming, and costly.
Some builders are turning to LiveView Technologies and are using mobile surveillance units that can be set up and torn down in less than 30 minutes. These almost completely deter 100% of the theft.
How does LVT work on a construction site?
You can read how Aspect Homes—a small builder in Las Vegas is using LVT to secure their construction site. Basically, builders will simply hook up a mobile LVT surveillance unit to the back of their truck and take it to a job site. They’ll then set it up in 30 minutes or less and are able to see live and recorded surveillance, use thermal and movement sensors, and even utilize custom lights (like flashing blue lights or strobe lights) and audio warnings (either recorded or live) to stop theft. This has reduced theft by nearly 100% at the job sites where it is deployed.
Builders universally are seeing, not only more theft, but more brazen theft. And LVT Units are the simplest way to stop it.