Perimeter Security Case in Point: Construction Site Security

Shumate Constructors turns to wireless perimeter technology


Meurer adds that one of the greatest benefits with a wireless solution is the flexibility to mold to a new location if the site changes. Oftentimes, the site is graded/re-graded; equipment or storage containers are delivered and removed. Additionally, for a period of time during the day, workers may need to move the perimeter posts that hold the sensors out of the way. Any of these factors can change the perimeter and create a need to re-configure the posts to ensure a secure perimeter; however, the wireless connectivity enables users to easily reposition the posts in the proper location at the end of the day.

How the Solution Works

When the perimeter of a Shumate Constructors’ site is breached, a signal is immediately transmitted back to the Armed Response Team’s electronic central monitoring station. Operators pick up the signal and can tell whether it is one sensor or multiple that have been triggered and which part of the perimeter is impacted. The operator immediately reports the activation and provides the address, zones that were breached and the exact location on the perimeter. An Armed Response Team officer is sent to that location to do an initial investigation. If there are subsequent signals that come in from additional sensors, the operator will update the responding officer via two-way-radio.

Upon arrival, if they observe any activity, the security officer will call in back-up law enforcement immediately. If the suspect attempts to leave, the Armed Response Team officer will detain the perpetrator(s) and hold them until law enforcement arrives. “The whole purpose of the system is to know if a criminal is on site before they cause any damage,” Meurer says. “If we can do that, it is very likely that we can get there and apprehend them before they have done anything significant or escaped.”

With any wireless solution, there can be issues with Line-of-Sight (LOS). Often, the initial configuration of a system will work flawlessly because the building has not yet been brought up from the ground and there are not as many obstacles in the way, such as steel structures. Once the walls begin to go up, however, this can be affected. In order to avoid this issue, the Armed Response Team constantly monitors the site to make sure each sensor is functioning. If there is a LOS issue, the fix often is as simple as adding a repeater. Because the wireless technologies are allowing real-time monitoring, a LOS issue is immediately detected and easily remedied.

Avoiding False Alarms

Construction sites often are prone to stray animals. Without the right kind of sensors, an animal that crosses the site perimeter will trip false alarms. Some wireless systems can also be tripped by tumbleweed or plastic flapping in the wind. The weather also can cause these incidents. The Optex dual beam technology combined with Inovonics wireless sensors is sophisticated enough to eliminate most of these common false alarms. It can recognize if the perimeter breach is producing heat and if it’s the right size to send a signal.

“Without this level of technology, a wireless solution is pointless,” Meurer says. “The system would generate hundreds of signals that are not valid intrusions and then it becomes a ‘cry-wolf’ syndrome.”

After deploying the system, with the exception of very minor events, theft and vandalism were virtually eliminated for Shumate Constructors. The company has used the system for five projects since the first deployment. It plans to continue to use this solution for all future projects.

“The perimeter security solution has been an ideal investment,” Shumate says. “Not only have we saved money by eliminating losses at our construction site, but we’ve saved critical man-power hours, which helps us complete projects on time and contributes to our reputation as the contractor of choice for educational facilities in the Albuquerque area.”