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Liquid Deterrent Helps Prevent Theft

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Liquid Deterrent Helps Prevent Theft

Job­site theft costs the construction industry more than $1 billion a year. Some companies are adding a new deterrent to their arsenal of security measures


By By Michael Chamernik, Associate Editor October 13, 2015
SmartWater CSI has begun to release its new SmartWater technology product into construction sites
This article first appeared in the PB October 2015 issue of Pro Builder.

Thieves seize easy opportunities, and one of the easiest marks is a home construction site. Trespassers often don’t look out of place on site because jobsites are busy with dozens of builders and subcontractors visiting the location daily. And during off hours, sites are more often than not left completely unguarded.

Anything of value is up for grabs, from tools to lumber to fixtures to excavators to kitchen appliances. Copper wiring is particularly attractive to thieves because the metal is currently so valuable.

According to the NAHB and the Na­tional Equip­ment Register, job­site theft costs the construction industry more than $1 billion a year.

Security precautions, such as storing and locking up tools, installing fencing and motion-detecting floodlights, recording serial numbers, and using “just-in-time” delivery so that hardware and supplies aren’t needlessly lying around on site, are standard practice for many.

SmartWater CSI's theft deterrent

But what if that’s not enough?

SmartWater CSI has begun to release its new SmartWater technology product into construction sites around South Florida. SmartWater is a traceable liquid theft deterrent that’s used by law enforcement and retail stores.

Two Florida firms have partnerships with the company: Coastal Mechanical Services, a mechanical contracting business that’s based in Melbourne, and Current Builders, a construction company that’s headquartered in Pompano Beach.

Builders can apply the deterrent to their tools, equipment, and other easily moveable items around the jobsite. SmartWater leaves an invisible “serial number” on the item that’s only visible under a long-wave UV black light.

Guaranteed to last a minimum of five years, the liquid is nonhazardous and nearly impossible to remove. It doesn’t contain organic DNA-based materials, which degrade in sunlight and can be affected by temperature, oxygenation, and other environmental factors.

As an extra pre­caution, SmartWater warn­ing signs can be placed around the jobsite to let intruders know that the items are tagged. Since thieves are more likely to pawn or deal the items than use them for themselves, the resale value drops significantly because the stolen items are traceable.

Of course, SmartWater won’t stop all jobsite theft. But it is one of the more realistic solutions—and it’s definitely much cheaper than hiring a security guard.  PB

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