Two out of five surveyors have been affected by lost or stolen equipment, with the average cost of replacing the equipment on a job affected totalling over £10,000, according to a poll of 100 land surveyors.
- Average cost of replacing stolen equipment on a job totals over £10,000
- Loss of working time is biggest impact of lost or stolen equipment
- Fewer than a quarter of surveyors take the precaution of ID tagging and less than one in five use remote locking
Commissioned by Topcon GB & Ireland, the research revealed that the biggest impact of lost or stolen equipment was loss of working time and additional cost of replacing equipment. Damage to equipment (56 per cent) and lost or stolen equipment (39 per cent) were also listed as common causes of delays on site. Recognising the impact of loss or damage to equipment, the research explored the precautions being taken to protect equipment and data. Top of the list was using a locked area to store equipment overnight (85 per cent), but 41 per cent said they take the costly measure of employing extra security staff on site to protect equipment.
Despite security software providing a more cost effective means of protecting equipment, the majority of those surveyed do not use security software to protect equipment. Fewer than a quarter take the precaution of ID tagging and less than one in five use remote locking. Where it might be common place for sites to demand that large machinery is security marked through the CESAR Scheme, the survey showed that this was not the case for security software: 86 per cent reported had never been required to have security software for equipment on site.
Peter Roberts, technical support manager at Topcon GB commented on the results, “While advances in technology are reducing the amount of people needed on site and making projects more efficient, it’s essential that the industry is adapting to this to protect equipment against theft too. Locking up equipment at night is no longer a smart enough approach to combatting this issue.
“With robotic total stations topping the list of the most important equipment on site for surveyors, it is essential that security software is more widely adopted to deter thefts. Security software, such as TSshield, can be used to lock equipment remotely as well as provide its position to within 100m anywhere on the planet, dependent on GPS/Cellular coverage. Recently our TSshield technology has located instruments stolen in the UK as far afield as an Island in the Indian Ocean and Central America. Wide spread adoption of this technology would have a serious deterrent to thieves of equipment, decreasing re-sale value for stolen equipment.”
Kevin Howells, Managing Director at security marking experts Datatag responded to the findings: “With less than a quarter of respondents using any form of security marking it’s clear there is a big job for the industry to make the use of this technology standard practice, and complement the use of security software, to further deter thieves.
“The widespread adoption of security marking and tagging large scale plant and machinery on site through the CESAR Scheme, has proved to deter thefts and significantly disrupt the black market for sales of stolen equipment. It’s time to adopt the same technologies for smaller pieces of equipment because, as the survey results show, it’s costing the industry valuable time and money. This is where the technologies in our Datatag Survey Equipment System will have a similar significant impact in reducing theft.”