Manawatū construction industry worried about site safety due to extended lockdown

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The potential of an extended lockdown raises safety concerns for Manawatū's construction industry, with construction sites concerned that closures will become more tempting targets for thieves (file photo)

David Unwin / Tips

The potential of an extended lockdown raises safety concerns for Manawatū’s construction industry, with construction sites concerned that closures will become more tempting targets for thieves (file photo)

Manawatū’s construction industry fears empty construction sites will be particularly vulnerable during an extended lockdown period, despite additional security.

Cameron Isles, owner of Isles Construction, said when speaking to others in the local industry that there has been an anecdotal increase in tools and materials stolen from construction sites over the past year.

Five days after Alert Level 4, and uncertainty over how long Manawatū will stay there now that sites of interest have been identified in Bulls and Waiouru, they fear the locked sites may be even more tempting targets. for thieves.

“Our own sites have already been severely affected recently. We had two break-in attempts last week [before lockdown.]”

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Central Demolition owner Ian Butcher said a full lockdown was another wrinkle in the persistent and frustrating problem of tools, vehicles and equipment stolen from construction sites.

Central Demolition had 10 active construction sites, in addition to the company’s depots, spread out from Wellington to Taranaki to be secured ahead of the level 4 move last Wednesday.

Butcher said that while they all had increased security, including 24/7 monitored cameras, it was hard not to feel more vulnerable the longer the lockdown lasted.

He knew from experience that thieves weren’t always spotted by the camera.

Sometimes it wasn’t until the footage was viewed after workers noticed something was missing the next morning.

“So you really worry about the material left behind… when there is no work going on it may take longer before we know something is missing. “

Jpac Homes owner Paul Haydock said as building materials have become scarce since the start of the pandemic, they have become increasingly valuable.

They were now stolen even more often than tools from Jpac sites, so with short notice to secure its sites, materials were the first priority.

“We hid as much material as we could in the garages and boxes. And we’ve got everything we can get off-site.

A spokeswoman for Manawatū police said that with the area experiencing a construction boom, both in housing and in commercial developments, there were more sites around with fewer people during this lockdown.

While it has increased opportunities for thieves, the lockdown has also made anyone moving more visible, she said.

Police advised anyone living near a construction site to write down details of any unusual activity and call the police.


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