Construction Corner is a Q&A column committed to answering reader-submitted questions regarding construction and development. Inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I am having problems with tenants using the dumpster in the back of the facility to discard large items. I don't mind them throwing away small items or boxes, but the larger items are getting expensive to remove. What can you recommend as a video-surveillance solution so I can at least find out which tenants to charge?
-- Linda in Oakland, Calif.
A lot depends on the configuration of your site, the ability to run conduit for camera wiring and how much you are looking to spend. The first method would be to mount a conventional camera. The new, smaller models would help catch people in the act without them knowing they are being monitored; but conduit and wiring to the office is necessary and sometimes not possible, depending on the facility.
If the dumpster or monitoring location is fairly close to the office (approximately 50 to 100 feet) but there is a driveway or other obstacle preventing wiring, you can go with a wireless-camera solution. The last option I recommend is a camera that can easily and quickly mount to a light fixture and transmit the video signal back to the office via the AC power lines. This solution is not very costly and can be a great way to monitor a single location like the one you are describing.
Q: My general contractor and I have a difference in opinion when it comes to landscaping and security. He feels it should be more open, and I feel it would be better to put up higher walls and trees. What do you think?
--George in Bothell, Wash.
I'm sorry, but I am going to have to side with your contractor on this one. An open site leaves less hiding places for potential thieves and makes their work of sneaking around much more difficult. Trees and other tall shrubbery provide natural areas for burglars to hide and make it harder for your manager to keep an eye what is going on around your facility. You should also consider using taller wrought-iron fencing instead of a solid perimeter wall. In addition, if you plan to have other security equipment, such as video surveillance or alarmed storage units, it will be a visual deterrent for thieves. It will also be great way to market your site's security to prospective tenants.
Tony Gardner is a licensed contractor and installation coordinator for QuikStor, an industry security and software provider since 1987. For more information, visit www.quikstor.com.