Borders and walls might have been a central point of contention during the U.S. election, but their use on construction sites is far less controversial. For example, have you ever erected a fence around a work area to protect your assets? Or considered a barrier to keep people out, or to simply make tracking who is on site easier? What if I told you that you could accomplish all of those things without a physicalfence? Welcome to geofencing. Below, I’ll detail what geofencing is, how to use it, and some tools that can help you adopt it to your construction site.
What is geofencing?Gartner defines geofencing as “creating a virtual boundary in which a device, individual or asset can be tracked and monitored or detected if the boundary is violated.” In other words, geofencing is a tool that creates and tracks virtual boundaries. It uses GPS technology along with dedicated software to track equipment and people. The software can also send users alerts and notifications about the premises that they’re tracking. Many industries use geofencing technology. For example, retailers use it to identify customers near their locations, helping them send targeted marketing messages. Transportation companies use geofencing to track their fleets. Healthcare facilities use it to improve patient care. Animal farms use it to track their herds. In fact, geofencing is growing so rapidly that Global Market Insights predicts the global geofencing market will exceed $500 million by 2023. Construction, along with the other abovementioned industries, should expect an explosion in the use of geofencing in the next few years.
Do you worry that your building under construction may catch fire? Or get vandalized? Does the thought of stolen heavy equipment or construction materials make you nervous? You’re not alone. In fact, a study from the Chartered Institute of Building found that 92% of respondents in the construction industry suffer from regular site theft. One in five of these respondents added that theft takes place on a weekly basis from their sites. The NICB (PDF) adds that the average value of a stolen piece of construction equipment is $46,273. They add, “Annual estimates of the cost of equipment theft vary from about $300 million to $1 billion, with most estimates in the range of $400 million.” What’s worse? “The estimates don’t include losses from business interruption. Those losses include the cost of rentals, project-delay penalties, and wasted workforce and management time.” In other words, construction site theft is a prevalent and expensive problem in the industry. How can you prevent it? Construction risk insurance.