Statistics suggest that around 10 percent of all construction industry fuel is lost to theft. Some construction firms suffer thousands of dollars in fuel losses per year. When a firm has hundreds of vehicles in use constantly, it’s challenging to track where fuel might be lost. As industrial demolition firms also rely on gas-driven heavy equipment, they are also vulnerable to fuel theft. Construction and demolition fuel theft may be external or internal. Particularly when construction/demolition equipment is parked on site overnight, thieves may infiltrate job sites to steal fuel. Some employees literally skim off the top of equipment fuel tanks as well. Alternatively, employees may report filling up with less gas than they actually received, in order to pad their own gas tanks.
Fortunately, security firms that cater to the demolition and construction fields are innovating new ways to prevent fuel theft.
Construction and Industrial Demolition Fuel Theft: Technological Advances in Prevention
- DNA Data-Tagging
Last November, UK-based security firm Datatag unveiled an innovative approach to fuel theft prevention: DNA-based tagging technology the firm is calling Datatag Venom. While the firm has not reported its methods, we can extrapolate how the technology works according to research from the Functional Materials Laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland. There, scientists used nanoengineering to create iron oxide nanoparticles. These nanoparticles act as magnetic support for engineered DNA. (DNA is ultimately an information molecule; through which DNA chemists can convey large amounts of information in very small packages.) The nanoparticles are surface modified to allow dispersal in oils. Visually, there is no sign indicating the presence of DNA tagging. The Swiss researchers’ results were found to be stable for two years at room temperature. This technology would allow police to take a sample from a thief’s gas tank, and test it for matches with tagged gas samples. Each job site could have a unique DNA tag, and analysts would be able to detect different tags within the same tank of gas. The thinking here is that thieves will be hesitant to steal when they realize a gas tank sample could immediately reveal their guilt.
- Fuel Tracking Software
HCSS offers software solutions for construction companies. One of their products, FuelerPlus, allows companies to cut down on fuel theft through effective tracking. Here’s how it works: Drivers use a key to access the fuel island on site. After filling up, they report the fuel transaction details to an administrator, who enters the information into the FuelerPlus Manager system. HCSS’s clients have successfully prevented theft with this system; one client has had zero fuel write-downs in the year after installing the software. FuelerPlus can aggregate all fuel transactions—from bulk purchases to fuel cards to job site distributions—in one centralized location.
- Ultrasonic Fuel Level Sensors Paired with Fuel Tracking Software
EU-based ENAiKOON has created a two-part system for tracking fuel theft. Part one is an ultrasonic, waterproof fuel level sensor that is externally installed underneath the fuel tank, without drilling or modifications required. Information from the sensor is relayed in real-time to a software solution. Clients may be alerted immediately via text message or email when an unusual amount of fuel is being used. The sensor also coordinates gas levels with reported fill levels, eliminating potential reporting discrepancies.
As leading Portland demolition contractors, we stay up-to-date on the latest technological advances in construction and demolition theft deterrence. This vigilance pays off in minimized losses, which in turn translates to better rates for our Elder Demolition clients. To learn more about how we can help you manage your next project, contact us today.