WA police sign a 'PACT' to beat construction site theft

WA police, Braven Group Services, Master Builders WA, the Urban Development Institute of Australia WA, and the Civil Contractors Federation WA have joined forces to launch the Partnership Against Crime Taskforce. Photo: Supplied.
WA police, Braven Group Services, Master Builders WA, the Urban Development Institute of Australia WA, and the Civil Contractors Federation WA have joined forces to launch the Partnership Against Crime Taskforce. Photo: Supplied.

Theft and vandalism has become a big problem for builders with millions of dollars of tools, machinery, materials and white goods stolen from construction sites each year.

According to Western Australian police, theft from residential construction sites accounts for one per cent of the cost of a new home.

One Peel builder said theft and vandalism was an ongoing issue on construction sites.

"Thefts happen very regularly," he said.

"We get ripped off all the time and it costs us a lot of money.

"Illegal dumping is also a shocker as people throw things at the building site or put stuff in our skip bins."

To curb theft on WA construction sites, the state police, Braven Group Services, Master Builders WA, the Urban Development Institute of Australia WA, and the Civil Contractors Federation WA have joined forces to launch the Partnership Against Crime Taskforce (PACT).

Central to the PACT program is an online crime reporting platform, where building and construction contractors can quickly and conveniently report crime that may previously have gone unreported.

There is also a 24/7 phone number for members of the community to report crime and suspicious activity.

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Civil Contractors Federation WA chief executive Andy Graham said building site theft and vandalism caused unnecessary financial costs.

"On civil sites, the main targets for theft include fuel, plant and machinery, copper pipe and electrical cable. Often, the damage done by thieves will be worse than the theft itself," he said.

"For example, they will cause thousands of dollars' worth of damage to steal a few hundred dollars' worth of diesel, or they will rip out newly installed underground cable, requiring costly and time-consuming rework in addition to the value of the cable."

The view was echoed by Master Builders executive director John Gelavis announcing the PACT program would save police resources and extra financial costs.

"Building site theft and vandalism has been a major issue in the building and construction industry over many years," he said.

"The significant financial costs to builders and consumers along with the emotional stress to delayed completion times impacts both the community and industry alike.

"The PACT program would allow incidences of site theft and vandalism to be reported and investigated more effectively, reducing crime while saving police resources."