Builders in Middle Tennessee adding security to construction sites as thieves target lumber around the country

Cost of lumber shot up 300% during the pandemic
Camera at construction site
Posted at 3:02 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 19:37:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Building material costs have soared over the past 12 months, especially lumber.

Now, crooks are targeting construction sites for wood, forcing builders to set up surveillance systems.

"There is builder's risk insurance that covers some of that, but how long is that going to delay your project?" said Brink Fidler, a physical security consultant.

Brink Fidler is the president of Defend Systems. The former police officer helps secure properties from start to finish.

"There's tons of construction in Nashville and so people are competing. If you know you need to finish a job, and you don't have the material then they'll go steal it from somewhere else," Fidler said.

When the pandemic hit, the cost of lumber shot up 300 percent, according to The National Association of Home Builders.

At a development in Old Hickory, a trailer wired with several live cameras sits in the middle of the townhouses under construction. It has a clear view of the stockpile of lumber.

"There's a good chance we're going to have video of you if you come on this site," Fidler said.

The Herring Technology device is equipped with speakers. It is similar to the setup that police use to monitor parking lots and shopping centers.

"Whoever is monitoring [it] can actually talk to the person and say you're in a restricted area, please leave," Fidler said.

Less costly security measures also exist. Fidler explained that installing fencing close to raw materials, and/or parking a vehicle to block access to it does work.

"It's going to make it a pain in the butt to get in here, and carry anything over [the fence] or pass it to my buddy over the fence, when I can go right down the street to a construction site that doesn't have a fence or is wide open," he said.

Despite the high price of lumber, Metro Nashville Police are not aware of a rise in construction thefts in Davidson County.