Construction Law: Protecting Your Tools

Taking Preventative Measures to Insure Your Tools & Jobsite

by Kenneth S. Grossbart, Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman


(Editor’s Note: Kenneth Grossbart is recognized as one of the foremost authorities in California construction law. Over the past 30 years, he has become a respected speaker on mechanic’s liens and other construction-related issues. Grossbart can be reached at


I recently read an article that was written based upon information provided by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Although the article was based upon the information provided by the CSLB, the information applies equally to contractors located outside of California.

Essentially, the CSLB was reminding contractors to take all appropriate steps to avoid theft of their tools and equipment. Construction tools and equipment are becoming more advanced and valuable each year. The value of the tools and equipment, particularly if unprotected, become an easy target for theft by those who either want to use them themselves or sell them on the open market.

The CSLB has pointed out that toolboxes affixed to vehicles and storage containers housing equipment are an open invitation to thieves who are using bolt cutters to remove security locks. These thieves target construction vehicles and worksites after dark and through the early morning.

If you are working on a jobsite that requires you to leave your tools and equipment open, a small investment in security cameras and parking in well-lit areas can help protect vehicles and worksites and can also aid in catching thieves. With the use of surveillance footage, authorities might be able to identify suspects in their vehicles and use the tape as evidence for potential criminal conviction.

A further suggestion by the CSLB is that contractors should consider putting some type of a permanent labeling on their tools and equipment. One method includes engraving tools and equipment with a personal name, business name, or with your contractor’s license number. The engraved information can ultimately lead to the tool’s recovery or could stop thieves since they will realize that it will be difficult to either use the tool or equipment themselves or sell it to some third-party.

As a further point, all of your expensive tools and equipment should be photographed and serial numbers written down. By taking the time to inventory your tools, contractors will have a record if your tools and/or equipment are stolen, which would not only potentially make it easier to recover but also would help in filing insurance claims.

If you take the time to perform some preventative measures, it will go a long way to deterring theft and financial loss.

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